Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters Repeat as PBA League Elias Cup Champions

by Bill Vint April 19, 2015 06:54

PORTLAND, Maine – Helped greatly by a series of clutch 10th-frame strikes, the Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters won their second straight Professional Bowlers Association League Elias Cup with an impressive 5-1 decision over the Wheaties L.A. X at Bayside Bowl.

The Elias Cup finals, which aired Sunday on ESPN, concluded the PBA Tour’s first visit to the state of Maine. At the close of the competition – eight days after escaping serious injury in an automobile accident – Silver Lake anchor bowler Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., was selected as the PBA League’s Mark Roth Most Valuable Player.

Silver Lake opened the multi-event Elias Cup finals with a 223-211 victory by Chris Barnes over L.A. X’s Jason Belmonte in the singles match. Barnes survived a 4-6 split in the third frame and a missed 4 pin in the ninth with a string of five strikes in the middle of his game, followed by two strikes and a nine-count in the 10th frame to win the first point.

L.A. X evened the score at 1-1 when Stuart Williams and Patrick Allen escaped with a 212-211 win in the alternate ball doubles match against Barnes and Mika Koivuniemi. Barnes’ seven-count 4-6-7 split on his final shot proved to be the difference.

The Atom Splitters quickly righted their ship in Baker Trios when Allen, Craig Nidiffer and Tom Daugherty were nearly perfect in posting a 297-246 victory over Belmonte, Andres Gomez and Martin Larsen. A 2-8-10 split on Allen’s final ball in the 10th frame was Silver Lake’s only flaw as it took a 2-1 lead.

With three points at stake in the Baker team finale, Silver Lake again responded. After defeating L.A. X in the 2014 team finale, 225-203, the Atom Splitters rallied from an early 10-pin deficit for a 236-215 victory to retain the Elias Cup. Allen started the come-from-behind victory with a strike in the fifth frame, and capped a string of six straight strikes with the first strike in the 10th frame to ice the title.

“This is definitely the highlight of my career,” the 36-year-old Allen said. “The whole situation of being chosen by (team manager) Mark Baker and Chris (Barnes) and Mika (Koivuniemi) to put me at anchor surprised me a little, but I like that position. They instilled a lot of confidence in me this week. It did a lot of good for me personally.”

Heading into the Elias Cup finals, Allen had made clutch sudden-death roll-off shots to give Silver Lake victories in both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds despite a stiff, sore neck sustained in his one-car accident the previous Sunday near his home in South Carolina.

“I was coming around a corner, swerved to avoid hitting a dog in the road, and lost control,” he said. “I went into a ditch and hit a pole. I thought I was done for, but I got away with just some whiplash.”

His pain-in-the-neck was one issue, Allen said, but the loud, non-stop chanting and cheering by the Bayside Bowl fans didn’t bother him at all. In fact, it actually made him feel at home.

“The more you bowl on TV, the more loosened up you get,” Allen, a three-time PBA Tour title winner, said, “but the crowd here was highly unexpected. Fortunately I’m used to that because back home, I practice with my buddies after the bowling center closes, and we crank up the music, and my buddies trash-talk non-stop, so bowling here was just like after-hours practice at home.”

Allen admitted the crowd did influence his errant final shot in the Baker trios match, spoiling the team’s bid for a 300.

“The crowd got me,” he grinned. “They had been so loud, but in about my third step, they got quiet. I didn’t expect that. In that little moment, it kinda got me. My fundamentals collapsed.”

The PBA Tour will resume competition May 9-17 when FireLake Bowling Center hosts the preliminary rounds of the Oklahoma Grand Casino Hotel and Resort Summer Swing in Shawnee, Okla. The multi-event competition will include the Wolf, Badger, Bear and Oklahoma Open title events, followed by the King of the Swing special event. All finals will be held in the Grand Casino Event Center and will air on CBS Sports Network. Dates and times will be announced later.

PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP FINALS

Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, March 29 (aired April 19)

Final Standings

Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom def. Wheaties L.A. X, 5-1.

Singles Match (one point)

Chris Barnes, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, def. Jason Belmonte, L.A. X, 223-211.

Alternate Ball Doubles (one point)

L.A. X (Stuart Williams/Patrick Allen) def. Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Mika Koivuniemi/Chris Barnes), 212-211.

Baker Trios (one point)

Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Dick Allen/Craig Nidiffer/Tom Daugherty) def. L.A. X (Jason Belmonte/Andres Gomez/Martin Larsen), 297-246.

Five-Player Baker Team (three points)

Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Mika Koivuniemi/Chris Barnes/Craig Nidiffer/Tom Daugherty/Dick Allen) def. L.A. X (Stuart Williams/Andres Gomez/Patrick Allen/Martin Larsen/Jason Belmonte), 236-215.

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Defending Champion Silver Lake Atom Splitters, L.A. X Advance to PBA League Elias Cup Finals

by Bill Vint April 12, 2015 07:59

PORTLAND, Maine – The defending champion Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters and the Wheaties L.A. X survived an intense semifinal round, capped by two more sudden-death roll-offs, to advance to the third annual Professional Bowlers Association League Elias Cup Finals at Bayside Bowl. The finals will air Sunday (April 19) at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The semifinal round, which aired last Sunday on ESPN, completed a highly-competitive Baker team series at Bayside Bowl which saw all six best-of-two-game elimination matches decided by sudden-death roll-offs.

Bowling in front of a loud, enthusiastic crowd of Maine bowling fans, Silver Lake won a chance to defend its Elias Cup title by rallying to defeat the Concrete Software BROOKLYN STyLES while L.A. X came from behind to edge the HotelPlanner.com Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits.

In the first semifinal match, Silver Lake rolled four strikes out of the gate, but Brooklyn answered with a string of five strikes and clinched a 244-230 victory when Sean Rash and Parker Bohn III put together three strikes in the final two frames. Silver Lake anchor bowler Dick Allen could have given the Atom Splitters a 1-0 lead with a strike on his first shot in the 10th frame, but he left the 1-2-4-6-10 to end his team’s hopes.

In game two, both teams struggled to carry back-to-back strikes. A double by Mika Koivuniemi and Chris Barnes gave Silver Lake a temporary 12-pin lead in the seventh frame, but Craig Nidiffer’s 4-6-10 split helped Brooklyn get back in the game. The match came down to the 10th frame where Allen threw three strikes to lock up a 204-192 decision and send the match into a roll-off where his strike gave Silver Lake the win, 10-9, after Bohn left a 10 pin.

It was a match where Silver Lake manager Mark Baker front-loaded his lineup with proven stars Koivuniemi (15 career titles) and Barnes (18 titles), followed by Nidiffer (no title), Tom Daugherty (one title) and Allen (three titles) because “Mika and Chris throw the ball the straightest,” Baker said. “I thought the lane condition would break down more than it did.”

The surprising lineup put Allen in position to deal with the 10th-frame pressure, but it was situation he embraced.

“In the first game, I picked up the wrong ball,” Allen said of his five-count shot in the 10th frame. “But I got loose and picked up the right ball the next time, and that was the key.

“I knew (the roll-off) shot was good when I let it go,” he added. “I like being in that position. I want to be there. That’s what makes you a better bowler.”

In the second semifinal match, Pittsburgh started with a pair of single-pin spares followed by a string of five strikes, running away with a 234-197 win. But game two also turned into a struggle for both teams to throw back-to-back strikes. The Jack Rabbits filled every frame, but managed only two strikes. L.A. X got the lead when Sweden’s Martin Larsen, Australia’s Jason Belmonte and England’s Stuart Williams threw consecutive strikes in the middle of the game, and held on for a 202-190 decision to send the match into sudden-death.

In the roll-off, Pittsburgh’s Wes Malott (4 pin) and Belmonte (10 pin) bowled first and tied, 9-9. Pittsburgh’s Ryan Ciminelli and L.A. X’s Williams each threw strikes. On the third roll-off shot, Larsen struck and the Jack Rabbits’ Osku Palermaa left a 10 pin to send L.A. X into the Elias Cup finals.

“That’s why you practice hour after hour, and travel so much, and leave your family – for moments like this,” Larsen said. “It’s great when you do it for yourself, but it’s five times more fun when you do it for your team.”

Next Sunday’s Elias Cup title match will consist of singles, alternate-ball doubles and Baker trios matches – each worth one point – and a Baker team match that will be worth three points. If the match ends in a 3-3 tie, the title will be decided in a one-ball sudden-death roll-off.

PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP PLAYOFFS

Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, March 29 (aired April 12)

Semifinal Match One (best-of-two-game Baker team format)

Game One: Concrete Software BROOKLYN STyLES (Walter Ray Williams Jr., Jason Sterner, Tom Smallwood, Sean Rash, Parker Bohn III) def. Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Barnes, Craig Nidiffer, Tom Daugherty, Dick Allen), 244-230.

Game Two: Silver Lake def. Brooklyn, 204-192.

One-Ball Sudden-Death Roll-Off: Silver Lake (Dick Allen) def. Brooklyn (Parker Bohn III), 10-9.

Semifinal Match Two (best-of-two-game Baker team format)

Game One: HotelPlanner.com Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (Bryon Smith, Dan MacLelland, Ryan Ciminelli, Osku Palermaa, Wes Malott) def. Wheaties L.A. X (Stuart Williams, Andres Gomez, Martin Larsen, Patrick Allen, Jason Belmonte), 234-197.

Game Two: L.A. def. Pittsburgh, 202-190.

One-Ball Sudden-Death Roll-Off: L.A. (Jason Belmonte) tied Pittsuburgh (Wes Malott), 9-9; L.A. X (Stuart Williams) tied Pittsburgh (Ryan Ciminelli), 10-10; L.A. X (Martin Larsen) def. Pittsburgh (Osku Palermaa), 10-9.

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PBA Spare Shots: Tickets for Oklahoma Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Summer Swing TV Finals Now on Sale

by Bill Vint March 18, 2015 03:24

Tickets for the CBS Sports Network finals of five PBA Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Summer Swing events are now available. The finals of the Wolf, Badger, Bear, PBA Oklahoma Open, and Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort King of the Swing special event will be contested in the Grand Casino Event Center in Shawnee, Okla., on Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17.

Individual day passes can be purchased at http://www.grandboxoffice.com/event?eventid=66 for $25. Day passes are for general admission seating in the balcony overlooking the two-lane bowling installation, and are good for all telecasts happening the day of purchase. Weekend passes can be purchased at http://www.grandboxoffice.com/event?eventid=65. Tickets are $60 each, allow access to all finals conducted over the weekend, and will be good for general admission seating on the first floor bleachers next to the lanes.

The May 16 schedule includes the Wolf Open finals at 11 a.m. (CT), Bear Open at 2:30 and Badger Open at 5:15. The May 17 schedule includes the Oklahoma Open finals at noon and the King of the Swing at 3:30 p.m.

Summer Swing qualifying rounds will be held at nearby Firelake Bowling Center May 11-14. Defending champions are Sean Rash, Wolf Open; Ronnie Russell, Bear Open; Bill O’Neill, Badger Open, and Jason Belmonte, Oklahoma Open. O’Neill also won the King of Swing special event to conclude the 2014 Summer Swing.

For players and fans who are planning to travel to the Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort & Hotel for the event, rooms can now be booked at http://www.grandresortok.com/hotel/ or by calling reservations at (405) 964-7777. Grand Casino Resort is a full-service complex featuring the 262-room Grand Hotel, restaurants, golf course and many other amenities.

Bowling fans also are invited to bowl with the pros in the pro-am program on Saturday, May 9, at Firelake. To enter contact the FireLake Bowling Center at (405) 275-0404.

“BROOKYN STyLES” PBA LEAGUE VIRTUAL BOWLING BALL DEBUTS THIS WEEK

Number seven in the series of PBA League “virtual” bowling balls being introduced into Concrete Software’s PBA Bowling Challenge game on Thursday (March 19) will be the BROOKLYN STyLES. PBA League-logoed “virtual” team balls for gaming play already available to PBA Bowling Challenge players include the Dallas Strikers, GEICO New York WTT KingPins, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, Motown Muscle and L.A. X. The final remaining PBA League virtual ball, featuring the Philadelphia Hitmen logo, will be added to the PBA Bowling Challenge arsenal on March 26, just ahead of the start of PBA League Elias Cup competition March 28-29 at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

PBA League virtual balls are in play for the more than 12 million people who play PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game on a regular basis. The PBA Bowling Challenge by Concrete Software app is available on Google Play, Apple iOS, Amazon App Store and Nook.

BRUNSWICK STARS TO CONDUCT “MINI CAMPS” IN MAINE, NEW YORK, RHODE ISLAND

An all-star lineup of Brunswick pro staff players will participate in a series of four Brunswick Mini Camps in Maine, New York and Rhode Island in the weeks ahead, starting with a session at Sparetime Recreation in Hallowell, Maine, prior to start of the PBA’s “Maine Event” program in Portland.

Beginning with the Hallowell program on Thursday, March 26, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the mini camp program will include instruction programs on lane play and ball layout involving Brunswick/DV8 staff members PBA Hall of Famers Parker Bohn III, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Johnny Petraglia; former PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash; PBA Tour champions Tom Smallwood, Jason Sterner, Tom Hess and Ryan Ciminelli; two-handed veteran Brian Valenta, and Brunswick/DV8 ball rep Chuck Gardner.

Additional mini camps are scheduled for April 1 at Thunderbird Lanes in Syracuse, N.Y.; April 2 at Pat Tarsio Lanes in Newburgh, N.Y., and April 4 at East Providence Lanes in Rumford, R.I., on April 4. The basic tuition fee is $225. An additional upgrade fee includes a Brunswick/DV8 ball. To reserve your spot, contact Sean Rash (316-250-2980 or email: seanrashfan@gmail.com), or go to BrunswickBowlingCamp on Facebook.

ANGELO WINS KUWAIT OPEN; PBA STARS HEAD TO MUNICH

Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., defeated Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., 257-191, to win the $25,000 first prize in the Kuwait International Open Saturday in Kuwait City. The tournament was not a PBA International-World Bowling Tour approved event.

In the stepladder finals, Hong Kong’s Michael Mak eliminated Finland’s Mika Koivuniemi in match one, 223-201; DJ Archer of Friendswood, Texas, defeated Mak in match two, 226-223, and Jones ousted Archer in the semifinal match, 234-173, to advance to the title match. Other PBA members who finished among the top 15 modified match play finalists were Sweden’s Robert Andersson; John Szczerbinski of N. Tonawanda, N.Y.; Dom Barrett of England; Ildemaro Ruiz of Venezuela; Jason Sterner of Covington, Ga., and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.

PBA players will complete a three-event PBA International-World Bowling Tour series this week at Dream-Bowl Palace in Munich, Germany, site of the Brunswick Euro Challenge, which ends Sunday. Kent is defending champion. First prize will be $12,000 and a PBA International Tour title if the winner is a PBA member. PBA fans can follow the action in Munich on the official tournament website, http://brunswickeurochallenge.com/results-2015/

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: BORESCH WINS MILESTONE 30TH REGIONAL TITLE

Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wis., defeated Mike Mineman of St. Louis, 234-218, to win the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open in Virden, Ill., Sunday for his 30th overall regional title. Along with his second PBA50 Midwest title of the year, Boresch also took home the $1,500 first prize.

Boresch defeated amateur Ken Galitsky of Plainfield, Ind., 2-0 in the best of three-game semifinal round while Mineman edged Brad Sipes of Bloomington, Ill., 2-1, in the other semifinal round match.

● PBA Regional action continues over the March 20-22 weekend with the PBA50 Fayetteville (N.C.) Open at Lafayette Lanes; the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Open in Elmira, N.Y.; the joint PBA Trumbull County Tourism Bureau Central/East Open presented by DV8 at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio; the PBA Odessa (Texas) Southwest Open at Astro Bowl; the PBA50 Boys & Girls Club Midwest/Central Open presented by MOTIV at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, Ill., and the PBA Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open in Grants Pass, Ore.

● Wrapping up the March regional calendar over the 27-28 weekend will be the PBA50 Tony Grigat Allstate Midwest/Central Open presented by DV8 at Willowbrook Lanes in Willowbrook, Ill.

For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.

QUICK NOTES

● Reminder: Voting on the PBA’s “best trick shot ever” will close on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. Visit pba.com and click on the “Trick Shot Poll” link (http://www.pba.com/Vote/) to preview great tricks performed by Norm Duke, Chris Barnes, Osku Palermaa and the late Andy Varipapa. The results will be revealed on ESPN telecasts of PBA League competition from Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, beginning with the No. 4 video on the Sunday, March 29, coverage of PBA League quarterfinal round 1; No. 3 on the April 5 coverage of PBAL quarterfinal round 2, the two finalists will be shown on the April 12 PBAL semifinal telecast for another “best of all-time” fan vote, and the winner will be revealed during the PBA League Elias Cup finals telecast on Sunday, April 19.

● PBA fans can earn a discount on an Xtra Frame Season Ticket subscription with the purchase of a new bowling ball through a special limited-time arrangement with Bowling Infinity Group. Visit http://offthetrailer.com/ for details on how to earn a $25 discount and free shipping on the bowling ball-Xtra Frame Season Ticket package now through April 30.

● Reminder: Every month, HotelPlanner.com, the official travel partner of the PBA, is awarding a $200 lodging gift certificate to a lucky person who books a hotel room through HotelPlanner.com. Use the “Book Hotel” link on pba.com before the last day of the month, and you will be automatically entered. The $200 gift certificate will be valid for hotel room and tax only.

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Wheaties Signs on as Sponsor of PBA League, L.A. X Team

by Bill Vint March 2, 2015 09:28

CHICAGO – The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and Wheaties have reached an agreement to have the General Mills brand come on as a sponsor for both the 2015 PBA League playoffs and as presenting sponsor of team L.A. X later this month at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

The sponsorship package will include on-site signage during the PBA League Elias Cup Playoffs, as well as 30-second commercials on the four ESPN telecasts originating from the event. PBA League quarterfinal, semifinal and Elias Cup Finals shows will air on ESPN on March 29, April 5, April 12 and April 19.

“Wheaties is an iconic brand, and to have it attach its name to the PBA is very exciting,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “The PBA has a lot of momentum. Large audiences have been riveted to compelling action on the lanes."

Wheaties’ deal with the PBA comes as the Tour’s television series is enjoying a 22 percent increase in year-over-year audience ratings on ESPN.

“The PBA is a high-energy organization, and bowling has really grown in popularity, so it was a great opportunity for us,” said Jamie Lyon, associate marketing manager for Wheaties. “We have a history with working with so many iconic athletes. There’s something about bowling that’s very classic.”

Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, the PBA’s strategic marketing and sales agency, negotiated the agreement.

"The PBA is experiencing historic popularity via double digit increases in ratings on ESPN and Wheaties is eager to tap into that passion and performance,” Shamrock President Brian Corcoran said. "We are confident this initial partnership between PBA and Wheaties only scratches the surface of many shared values and championship celebrations to come.”

Wheaties will sponsor the PBA League’s L.A. X, a team founded by Los Angeles Clippers all-star Chris Paul and featuring a roster that includes two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia; England’s Stuart Williams, Sweden’s Martin Larsen, Colombia’s Andres Gomez and Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla. Andrew Cain is team manager.

The PBA League portion of the PBA’s schedule has a unique attraction to potential sponsors, Clark said, because it features teams competing rather than individuals.

“During the traditional season, a brand can sponsor a player or multiple players and gamble on that player making the ESPN finals,” he said. “During the PBA League competition, you know for a fact that your team is going to have visibility on ESPN.”

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First PBA League Trade Finalized: Walter Ray Back with BROOKLYN STyLES, Osku Returns to Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits

by Bill Vint November 6, 2014 04:50

CHICAGO – The first trade in the 2015 PBA League program has been finalized, with BROOKLYN STyLES manager Johnny Petraglia bringing PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. back to his former team in a trade with Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits’ manager Tim Mack, who got his 2013 franchise player, Finland’s two-handed star Osku Palermaa, in return.

Under PBA League rules, trades are permitted until November 30.

With Williams, the all-time leader in PBA Tour titles (47) back in the fold, Brooklyn’s roster now includes Sean Rash, Tom Smallwood, Parker Bohn III, Jason Sterner, and Williams while Pittsburgh’s roster features Wes Malott, Dan MacLelland, Ryan Ciminelli, Bryon Smith and Palermaa.

The PBA League Elias Cup competition is set for March 28-29 at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine. All rounds of PBA League competition will be televised on ESPN on four consecutive Sundays, beginning on March 29.

2015 PBA LEAGUE ROSTERS (REVISED)

BROOKLYN STyLES (manager Johnny Petraglia): Sean Rash, Tom Smallwood, Parker Bohn III, Jason Sterner, Walter Ray Williams Jr.

Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (manager Tim Mack): Wes Malott, Dan MacLelland, Ryan Ciminelli, Osku Palermaa, Bryon Smith.

L.A. X (manager Andrew Cain): Jason Belmonte, Stuart Williams, Martin Larsen, Patrick Allen, Andres Gomez.

Silver Lake Atom Splitters (manager Mark Baker): Chris Barnes, Mika Koivuniemi, Tom
Daugherty, Dick Allen, Craig Nidiffer.

Philadelphia Hitmen (manager Jason Couch): Dom Barrett, Chris Loschetter, Dave Wodka, Ryan Shafer, Rhino Page.

Barbasol Motown Muscle (manager Del Ballard Jr.): E.J. Tackett, Ronnie Russell, Josh Blanchard, John Szczerbinski, Mike DeVaney.

Dallas Strikers (player-manager Norm Duke): Bill O’Neill, Tommy Jones, Michael Haugen Jr., Norm Duke, Shawn Maldonado.

GEICO New York City WTT KingPins (manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard): Pete Weber, Mike Fagan, D.J. Archer, Scott Norton, Amleto Monacelli.

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