PBA Spare Shots: PBA Creates “Clash of the Legends” as Part of Big Sports Day on May 2

by Bill Vint April 22, 2015 08:04

The PBA will jump into a big day in the world of sports with a “Clash of the Legends” special event in conjunction with the PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open at Farmingdale Lanes in Farmingdale, N.Y. A special competition involving PBA Hall of Famers Parker Bohn III, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete Weber and Amleto Monacelli will be part of a unique contest that invites sports fans to pick the winners of the Kentucky Derby, Clash of Legends and the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao championship boxing match.

The Clash of Legends, presented by BVL and emceed by tournament namesake Johnny Petraglia, will air live on Xtra Frame in the window between the Kentucky Derby (6:24 p.m. ET) and the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight (10 p.m. ET). Beginning 6:45 p.m. – prior to the start of the Johnny Petraglia BVL Open pro-am – the Clash will involve each player throwing one ball with the lowest count eliminated in each round. In case of ties, the tied players will have a head-to-head roll-off to determine who is eliminated in that round. The remaining players will bowl the next round on the other lane, repeating the format until one man remains to claim the winner-take-all cash prize.

The fan contest associated with the Clash of Legends will invite PBA fans to pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Clash of PBA Legends and Mayweather-Pacquiao fight on PBA’s Facebook page. Picks must be posted in the following format between noon and 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 2 (Derby: horse’s name. Clash: player’s name: Fight: winning boxer’s name).

Entrants must get all three correct in order to win. If multiple people pick all three winners, up to 10 PBA Fan Packs full of prizes will be awarded.

NEW THREE-DAY PASS HELPS FANS FOLLOW PBA50 TOUR ON XTRA FRAME

The PBA’s new $3.99, three-day pass to watch complete PBA50 Tour events is allowing a growing group of PBA50 fans an easy, inexpensive way to follow the “senior tour” from start to finish…and there are two more PBA50 events coming soon: the Miller High Life Classic presented by Columbia 300 from George Pappas’ Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C., Monday, April 27-Wednesday, April 29, followed by the Johnny Petraglia BVL Open presented by Brunswick at Farmingdale Lanes in Farmingdale, N.Y., Sunday, May 3-Tuesday, May 5.

Fans are reminded the three-day pass begins at the moment of registration, so plan accordingly. To subscribe, click on the Xtra Frame link on pba.com. One-month ($7.99) and full year XF Season Ticket ($64.99) subscriptions also are available.

VARIPAPA NIPS BARNES FOR “GREATEST TRICK SHOT”

PBA fans voting for the “greatest bowling trick shot ever” have awarded the honor to the late Andy Varipapa for his three-ball spare conversion, edging Chris Barnes’ two-lane “flying eagle” spare by a mere two percentage points. The winner was announced during Sunday’s ESPN telecast of the PBA League Elias Cup finals. Varipapa received 51 percent of the fan votes, compared to Barnes’ 49 percent.

Varipapa, a PBA charter member who died in 1984 at the age of 93, was a legendary showman and trick shot artist who also performed one of the most memorable feats in professional bowling – winning back-to-back titles in the grueling 100-game 1947 and 1948 BPAA All Star tournaments at the ages of 56 and 57.

MAINE SPORTS COMMISSION EAGER FOR PBA TO RETURN IN 2016

The three-year-old Maine Sports Commission, created to attract major sports events to the state, is eagerly awaiting the PBA’s return in 2016 after a successful first visit in 2015…and the PBA is already making plans for a return trip in 2016, PBA Commissioner Tom Clark has confirmed.

Shamrock Sports and Entertainment President Brian Corcoran, a member of the Maine Sports Commission board of directors, was a key player in securing the financial commitment needed to produce the inaugural “Maine Event” at Bayside Bowl in Portland. Based upon a sold-out event supported by hundreds of thousands of exposures for the Maine business community through the PBA’s media coverage and ESPN telecasts, Corcoran believes Maine can do an even better job in generating new sponsorship support for 2016.

USA TODAY FEATURES JASON BELMONTE’S TWO-HANDED TRICKERY

USAToday.com has produced a feature story on Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, showcasing his skills as a bowling trick shot artist in an online video. To read the feature story and watch Belmonte’s trick-shot skills as a two-handed player, click here: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/04/watch-5-mind-blowing-trick-shots-from-the-worlds-best-bowler.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: METZNER WINS FIRST PBA50 REGIONAL TITLE IN SARASOTA

In a best-of-three-game final between Terry Metzner of Kentwood, Mich., and Ron Mohr of Las Vegas, Metzner defeated Mohr, 199-232, 211-191, 203-199, to win his first PBA Regional title in the PBA50 Sarasota South Open at Sarasota (Fla.) Lanes on Friday, April 17.

Metzner earned $2,000 while Mohr earned $1,000 as the runner-up. The mid-week PBA50 regional event featured a number of PBA50 Tour stars who were traveling between the season-opening PBA50 Pasco County Florida Open and the tour’s second stop of the season at The Villages, Fla.

In the best-of-three semifinal round, Metzner swept Bill Peters of Dayton Ohio, 206-183, 222-198, while Mohr defeated Joe Scarborough of Charlotte, N.C., 207-172, 219-168.

J.R. Raymond of Bay City, Mich. defeated T.J. Schmidt of Mishawaka, Ind., 219-214, to win the PBA Country Club Lanes Central/Midwest Open at Country Club Lanes in Elkhart, Ind., Sunday.

The title was Raymond’s second PBA Regional title. He also earned $2,500. He eliminated Brad Miller of St. Charles, Mo., 257-203, and Schmidt defeated Jeff Zaffino of Warren, Pa., 236-224, to set up the championship match.

Paul Bajorski of West Babylon, N.Y., defeated John Furey of Freehold, N.J., 224-199, to win his first PBA Regional title in the Bowlers Discount Pro Shop Eastern Open presented by Hammer at Brunswick Zone Normandy in Ellicott City, Md., Sunday.

Bajorski, in his second year of regional competition, earned $2,500. Furey, a former East Region Player of the Year, lost his ball reaction late in the championship match, finishing with two open frames. Although Bajorski won the championship match while sitting on the bench, he threw three clutch strikes in the final frame of his semi-final match to advance over Eric Cornog of Cherry Hill, N.J. 200-190.

Dean Richards of Tacoma, Wash. and amateur partner Daniel Jackson Jr. of Portland, Ore. defeated Hugh Miller of Mercer Island, Wash. and non-member Bob Davidson of Mountlake Terrace, Wash., 512-396, to win the PBA Northwest Region Speedometer Member/Non-Member Doubles at Bowlero Lanes in Lakewood, Wash., Sunday.

Richards earned his fifth regional title but Jackson does not receive credit for a title as he is a non-member. They split a $3,000 first prize.

● Another mid-week PBA50 event is the PBA50 Tarheel Lanes South Open April 23-25 in Hendersonville, N.C. Players will then head to Hawaii for the annual tripleheader beginning April 26-27 with the Kona West/Northwest Open at KBXtreme Lanes in Kailua-Kona followed by the Hawaii West/Northwest Open presented by Storm at Scofield Air Base on April 29, and the Hickam AFB West/Northwest Open May 1-3.

● Leading off the month of May over the May 1-3 weekend will be the Junction City (Kan.) Bowl Southwest/Midwest Open presented by Radical, and the Pro Bowl West Tri-Region Member/Non-Member Doubles presented by the Proprietor’s Cup in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

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

Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., a two-time PBA Regional title winner and the only woman to appear in two PBA Tour national television finals, has been recognized as the 2015 Am-Pol Eagle Citizen of the Year for sports. The annual Am-Pol awards recognize outstanding Polish American citizens. Among her many accomplishments, Johnson also will be inducted into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in late April.

● The third annual Bill O’Neill Junior Scholarship Tournament is set for Sunday, May 3, at 12:30 p.m. ET at AMF Bristol Pike Lanes in in Croydon, Pa. Bowlers will compete in U20 and U15 age divisions, with girls receiving 7 handicap pins per game (if fewer than 32 girls enter). All players will bowl six qualifying games followed by three games of match play and a top four stepladder final in each division. For more information, or to sign up, click here: https://www.smore.com/1f2da. For the first two years, the O’Neill youth event has awarded more than $11,000 in scholarship money.

● PBA fans can help life-long bowling enthusiast and veteran CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational host Chris Paul win the National Basketball Association’s Community Assist Award. Paul, the NBA all-star point guard with the Los Angeles Clippers, and one of the original PBA League owners (L.A. X) is well-known for his charitable and youth development programs, supported in part by the CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational fund-raiser. If you’d like to help Paul win the award, cast your vote on Twitter: vote for @CP3 by tweeting w/ #NBACommunityAssist #ChrisPaul.

● Don’t forget: During the month of April, MOTIV is awarding another new ball to a new Xtra Frame subscriber. To enter, all you have to do is sign up for a new Xtra Frame subscription, either three-day ($3.99), monthly ($7.99) or 12-month XF Season Ticket ($64.99). The ball-a-month sweepstakes will continue throughout 2015.

● 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.

● Last call: You can still 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.

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Jason Belmonte, Rhino Page Take Early Leads in Key 2015 PBA Tour Statistical Categories

by Bill Vint April 21, 2015 06:31

CHICAGO – At the conclusion of the third annual Professional Bowlers Association League Elias Cup team competition and heading into the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort Summer Swing, two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte held the lead in 2015 PBA earnings while Rhino Page of Dade City, Fla., jumped into the lead in scoring averages.

Thanks in great part to his victories in the United States Bowling Congress Masters and 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, Belmonte had banked $152,161 in PBA Tour earnings for a comfortable lead over DHC Japan Invitational winner Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, who has earned $106,710 after 10 of 30 PBA Tour-title events on the 2015 schedule: http://www.pba.com/SeasonStats/TotalWinnings/81

Belmonte also ranks third in averages, a category led by Page, the Tournament of Champions runner-up who is scoring at a 234.59 pace for 105 games. PBA Players Championship winner Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., is second with a 233.50 average for 102 games (average leaders are based on a minimum of 70 games bowled): http://www.pba.com/SeasonStats/TotalAverage/81

Belmonte and Josh Blanchard of Mesa, Ariz., are the only two-title winners thus far in 2015. Blanchard won the Brunswick Euro Challenge in Munich, Germany, followed by the PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout.

Official PBA Tour statistics include earnings and titles only for PBA International Tour-World Bowling Tour events.

PBA Tour competition resumes with the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort Summer Swing at FireLake Bowling Center and the Grand Casino Event Center May 9-17. All preliminary rounds will be video-streamed live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel. The finals of the Wolf, Badger, Bear and Oklahoma Open events, plus the King of the Swing special event, will be televised by CBS Sports Network on dates to be announced.

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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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PBA Spare Shots: PBA Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia Receives BBIA Industry Service Award

by Bill Vint April 16, 2015 06:11

The Billiard and Bowling Institute of America presented PBA Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia with its Industry Service Award Tuesday night at the organization’s annual meeting in Hilton Head, S.C.

Petraglia, the only player ever to win PBA national titles in six different decades, is currently competing on the PBA50 Tour – 50 years after making his debut in 1965. The 67-year-old lefthander from Jackson, N.J., has won 14 PBA Tour and eight PBA50 Tour titles; is one of six PBA Triple Crown winners; ranks 31st on the all-time PBA earnings list with $1,249,250, and his a member of the PBA (1982) and USBC (2003) Halls of Fame. He also was the recipient of the 2010 BPAA Dick Weber Bowling Ambassador Award.

In addition to his sterling record as a competitor, Petraglia has been active for decades off the lanes in BVL and other charitable programs in support of United States military veterans. Petraglia served a tour of duty with the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War.

OSKU PALERMAA PROVES “SPEED THRILLS”

Whether Finland’s Osku Palermaa can throw a bowling ball faster than anyone in history is up for debate – and probably something no one could ever prove – but the reality is, when the high-rev two-handed player reverts to using only his right hand to shoot at single pin spares, it has become a thrill to watch.

During the recent Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, where Palermaa left his fair share of 10 pins, fans began to add a “nneeeeeooooowwww…” sound effect every time the powerful Finn unleashed a spare attempt, imitating the sound of the high-speed ball buzzing down the lane.

During the PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout in Portland, Bayside Bowl left the speed recording feature on its automatic scoring system during the best-of-three-game elimination matches. During Palermaa’s match with eventual champion Josh Blanchard, Palermaa’s two-handed strike shots were measuring in the 20-21 miles per hour range. But on four consecutive 10 pin spare attempts, his ball speed was measured at 28.51, 28.01, 28.42 and 28.97 miles per hour – all astonishing ball speeds to throw a 15-pound bowling ball.

While speed has no bearing on spare-shooting accuracy, it seems to help when trying to convert “impossible” splits by bouncing pins out of the pit area. After successfully converting a 7-10 split during the PBA World Series of Bowling V in 2014 by bouncing the 10 pin out of the pit, into the 7 pin, Palermaa said it wasn’t an uncommon feat for him. “I’ve converted the 7-10 more times than I’ve bowled 300 games,” he said.

Watching the six-foot, 200-pound 31-year-old throw a bowling ball at those remarkable speeds makes one wonder if Palermaa has ever been clocked throwing a baseball.

“I’ve never played baseball; it isn’t a sport we play in Finland,” Palermaa said, “but I did try it one time at an ESPN sports bar. I threw the ball three times.”

His baseball pitching speeds, he said, were recorded 92, 93 and 96 miles per hour. “But I don’t know if those were accurate speeds or not.”

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: SEAN LAVERY-SPAHR WINS FIRELAKE SOUTHWEST OPEN

Sean Lavery-Spahr of Pasadena, Texas, defeated defending champion Dino Castillo of Carrollton, Texas, 195-188, to win the PBA FireLake Grand Casino Resort Southwest Open presented by Hammer at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., Sunday.

After qualifying for match play in ninth place, Lavery-Spahr won his best two-of-three-game Round of 16 match over PBA50 titlist Mike Edwards from Tulsa, Okla., 2-0; followed with a 2-0 victory over Oklahoma City’s Eric Wigger in the Round of 8; posted a 2-1 win over qualifying leader Nathan Bohr of Austin, Texas, in the quarterfinal round, and edged amateur Clint Dacy of Fort Worth, Texas, 200-195, in the semifinal round.

Castillo, who qualified seventh, edged Colombia’s Clara Guerrero in the Round of 12, 2-1; eliminated Roger Petrin of Wichita, Kan., in the Round of 8, 2-1; and disposed of former Southwest Region Player of the Year Joe Findling of Greenville, Texas, 279-237, in the semifinal round.

The pro-am portion of the event on Friday included a fundraiser for the Shawnee area Big Brother/Big Sister chapter. FireLake General Manager Chris Skillings announced more than $30,000 was raised for that cause.

Amateur Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, Calif., posted a 9-3 match play record and a 20-game total of 5,028 pins Sunday to win the PBA Earl Anthony West/Northwest Memorial at Earl Anthony’s Dublin Bowl Sunday while Marty Deh of San Jose, Calif., won the PBA50 portion of the doubleheader weekend.

Low, who turns 18 on April 27 (coincidentally the late Earl Anthony’s birthday), won his second PBA West Region event, but as an amateur, he does not receive credit for a title and his $2,500 first prize goes to his SMART scholarship account. The two-handed, left-handed player defeated Josh Blanchard of Phoenix, Ariz., by 166 pins for the win. Blanchard had an 8-4 match play record and 4,862 pins including match play bonus pins.

Deh went 10-2 and knocked down 4,768 total pins for his 20 games to top Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Ore., for his fifth West PBA50 Regional title and $1,500. Warren had 4,686 pins.

Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla. defeated Noel Vega of Kew Gardens, N.Y., 236-147, to win his 25th PBA Regional title and a $2,500 first prize in the PBA Rockaway Eastern Open presented by Storm at Rockaway Lanes in Rockaway, N.J., Sunday.

Allen qualified second for match play and posted an 8-4 match play record to retain second place for the stepladder finals. Vega qualified third and moved into the lead by rolling a 300 game in game five on Sunday. He posted a 11-1 match play record to earn the top position for the stepladder finals, and matched his best career finish, achieved three years ago, by finishing second. He earned $1,300.

Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C., defeated three-time PBA Tour titlist Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., 259-207, 234-226, in a best-of-three-game championship match to win the inaugural PBA Bluffton South Open title at Station 300 Lanes in Bluffton, S.C., Sunday.

In the semifinal round, Troup defeated Lee Vanderhoef of Raleigh, N.C., 238-215, 275-269, while Allen rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat B.J. Moore of Apex, N.C., 202-205, 258-211, 279-229, in the semifinal round.

Jesse Buss of Belvidere, Ill., defeated Dave Wodka of Beaver Creek, Ohio, 225-222, to win the PBA Fun Time Centers Central/Midwest Classic at Heritage Lanes in Kokomo, Ind., on April 12. Along with his fourth regional title, Buss earned $2,000.

Buss topped amateur Andrew Anderson of Holly, Mich. 2-0, and Wodka blanked Anthony LaCaze of Melrose Park, Ill., 2-0, in the best-of-three-game semifinal round to set up the championship match.

On the April 15-17 PBA Regional calendar is the PBA50 Sarasota South Open at Sarasota Lanes in Sarasota, Fla. The April 17-19 weekend includes the Bowlers Discount Eastern Open presented by Hammer at Brunswick Zone Normandy in Elliott City, Md.; back-to-back one-day reduced entry fee Country Club Lanes Central/Midwest Opens in Elkhart, Ind., and the Tacoma Speedometer Member/Non-Member Doubles, a reduced entry fee event presented by Pawnbrokers Northwest, at Bowlero Lanes in Lakewood, Wash.

● Another mid-week PBA50 event is the PBA50 Tarheel Lanes South Open April 23-25 in Hendersonville, N.C. Players will then head to Hawaii for the annual tripleheader beginning April 26-27 with the Kona West/Northwest Open at KBXtreme Lanes in Kailua-Kona followed by the Hawaii West/Northwest Open presented by Storm at Scofield Air Base on April 29, and the Hickam AFB West/Northwest Open May 1-3.

● Also leading off the month of May over the May 1-3 weekend will be the Junction City (Kan.) Bowl Southwest/Midwest Open presented by Radical, and the Pro Bowl West Tri-Region Member/Non-Member Doubles presented by the Proprietor’s Cup in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

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

● On the basis of winning his first two PBA Tour titles in the Brunswick Euro Challenge and, nine days later, the PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout, Josh Blanchard of Gilbert, Ariz., has been selected as the International Bowling Media Association’s Kegel Bowler of the Month for March.

● Don’t forget: During the April MOTIV sweepstakes is awarding another new ball to a new Xtra Frame subscriber. To enter, all you have to do is sign up for a new Xtra Frame subscription, either three-day ($3.99), monthly ($7.99) or 12-month XF Season Ticket ($64.99). The ball-a-month promotion will continue every month through 2015.

● 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.

● Last call: You can still 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.

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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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