Silver Lake Atom Splitters Sweep Philly Hitmen, Advance to PBA League Elias Cup Finals Vs. L.A. X

by Bill Vint April 6, 2014 06:55

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Chris Barnes and his Silver Lake Atom Splitters teammates swept the Philadelphia Hitmen in the final Professional Bowlers Association League semifinal match to earn a berth in the 2014 Elias Cup finals against Jason Belmonte and his L.A. X team.

The final semifinal round match at Thunderbowl Lanes aired Sunday on ESPN. The all-Los Angeles area battle for the Elias Cup will air on ESPN on Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m. ET.

After finishing in sixth place among eight teams in the 2013 introductory PBA League season, the Atom Splitters, presented by Spiceworks and owned by Internet podcast innovator and television host Chris Hardwick, bolstered their 2014 lineup with the addition of former PBA Players of the Year Tommy Jones and Wes Malott, and won 11 of a possible 12 points in matches against the Dallas Strikers and the Hitmen, presented by High 5 Gear, to advance to the Elias Cup finals at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J.

“Our team keeps getting better as we go,” Barnes said. “We’ll switch venues for the Elias Cup, which will have an impact. Carolier hooks a lot less than Thunderbowl does. As far as L.A. X’s fearless leader (Australian two-handed star Belmonte) is concerned, that’s not much of a deal, but I don’t know about the rest of their team. They have a lot of good shot-makers, but so do we. I think we’re down to the two strongest teams.”

Belmonte agreed.

“The Atom Splitters are a stacked team,” the L.A. X team leader said. “I feel our performance speaks for itself. If there’s a team that’s going to give (Silver Lake) a run for their money, it’s us.”

L.A. X, presented by GoBowling.com, eliminated the BROOKLYN STyLES and the defending Elias Cup champion New York City WTT KingPins in earning its berth in the Elias Cup finale.

Barnes gave Silver Lake a 1-0 lead by winning the singles match against Philadelphia franchise player Bill O’Neill. Barnes survived a 3-4-6-7-10 split in the sixth frame after throwing five strikes to start the game. After he failed to convert the split, he threw another string of four strikes for a 248-236 win.

In alternate ball doubles, Philadelphia’s Josh Blanchard and Ryan Ciminelli threw back-to-back strikes in the ninth and 10th frames to overcome the Atom Splitters’ one-pin lead, but Barnes and partner Bryon Smith answered with three strikes in their 10th frame to pull out a 228-226 win for a 2-0 lead.

Silver Lake’s Tommy Jones, Dom Barrett and Wes Malott started the Baker trios contest with six strikes, building a 53-pin lead, and held on for a 233-216 win over Ciminelli, O’Neill and Dan MacLelland for a 3-0 lead.

The Atom Splitters completed the sweep with a convincing 247-224 victory in the Baker team finale. Smith, Barnes, Barrett, Malott and Jones struck on eight of their first nine shots and Silver Lake never gave the Hitmen a chance.

“We’re five players deep,” Barnes said. “We didn’t bowl very well in our first match (against Dallas), but we survived that. We figured that was as bad as it could get, so we threw everyone back out there and it worked out. We just don’t like to lose. Ever.”

PROFESSIONAL BOWLERS ASSOCIATION LEAGUE SEMIFINAL MATCH TWO
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.

Final Standings
Silver Lake Atom Splitters presented by Spiceworks def. Philadelphia Hitmen presented by High 5 Gear, 6-0.

Singles Match (one point)
Chris Barnes, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, def. Bill O’Neill, Philadelphia Hitmen, 248-236.

Alternate Ball Doubles (one point)
Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Chris Barnes/Bryon Smith) def. Philadelphia Hitmen (Ryan Ciminelli/Josh Blanchard), 228-226.

Baker Trios (one point)
Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Tommy Jones/Dom Barrett/Wes Malott) def. Philadelphia Hitmen (Ryan Ciminelli/Bill O’Neill/Dan MacLelland), 233-216.

Five-Man Baker Team (three points)
Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Bryon Smith/Chris Barnes/Dom Barrett/Wes Malott/Tommy Jones) def. Philadelphia Hitmen (Dan MacLelland/Mike DeVaney/Josh Blanchard/Bill O’Neill/Ryan Ciminelli), 247-224.

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L.A. X Defeats Defending Champion New York City WTT KingPins, Advances to PBA League Elias Cup Finals

by Bill Vint March 30, 2014 10:29

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – A clutch ninth-frame spare by reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Jason Belmonte followed by three equally clutch 10th frame strikes in the Baker team finale by Parker Bohn III gave L.A. X a 5-1 victory over the defending PBA League champion New York City WTT KingPins and a berth in the 2014 Elias Cup finals.

The first PBA League semifinal round match at Thunderbowl Lanes aired Sunday on ESPN. The second semifinal match will pit actor/comedian Kevin Hart’s Philadelphia Hitmen, led by captain Bill O’Neill, against the Silver Lake Atom Splitters, owned by “Nerdist” creator Chris Hardwick and led by captain Chris Barnes, on ESPN on Sunday, April 6, at 1 p.m. ET. The Elias Cup finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m. ET.

The Baker team game, worth a decisive three points in the PBA League elimination competition, was a three-pin contest when Belmonte left the 3-4-7-10 split in the ninth frame, and converted the difficult spare. The spare forced New York City captain Pete Weber to double in the 10th frame to take the lead, but Weber left a 4 pin on his first ball, giving L.A. X. a chance. Bohn, needing a mark and good count, struck out for a 218-204 win to send Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul’s team to the Elias Cup finals.

The win was redemption for the Los Angeles-based team that missed a trip to the 2013 finals by two points. It probably wouldn’t have happened if Belmonte hadn’t converted the split he left in the ninth frame.

“I wasn’t too confident; that was an interesting looking spare,” the Australian two-handed player said. “I didn’t know whether to hook it or throw my spare ball, but I threw my spare ball straight at it and it paid off.

“We get one shot on each lane in team event and I went through the nose on that lane in practice, so when we came back to that lane, I made a five-board move left and threw it really good,” he said of the shot that resulted in the split. “I thought it was a strike off my hand, but then I saw it hook and there were grandma’s teeth staring at me.”

L.A. X is now ready for whichever opposing team advances to the Elias Cup finals.

“We wanted to improve on our position from last year. Our goal was to play in the finals,” Belmonte said. “We accomplished that today. I’m stoked. We gelled as a team. We lifted each other. We made spares when we had to. We struck out when we had to. It wasn’t just one guy. We have a great team.”

In the singles game between team captains to start the match, Belmonte claimed the first point for L.A. X with a 234-208 victory over Weber. The decisive shot was Weber’s pocket 7-10 split in the ninth frame.

L.A. X added its second point on a near-perfect performance by Mika Koivuniemi and Bohn in a 299-216 romp in alternate-ball doubles. The perfect game was spoiled when Bohn left a 10 pin on the team’s 12th shot.

The KingPins, owned by women’s sports icon Billie Jean King and presented by GEICO, averted a sweep with a 249-235 come-from-behind win in the Baker trios game. L.A. X, presented by GoBowling.com, was cruising behind Belmonte, Andres Gomez and PBA Rookie of the Year E.J. Tackett until Tackett failed to convert the 10 pin in the ninth frame. New York City’s Stuart Williams struck in the ninth and anchor Scott Norton threw three strikes in the 10th to claim the trios point.

PROFESSIONAL BOWLERS ASSOCIATION LEAGUE SEMIFINAL MATCH ONE
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.

Final Standings
L.A. X presented by GoBowling.com def. New York City WTT KingPins presented by GEICO, 5-1.

Singles Match (one point)
Jason Belmonte, L.A. X, def. Pete Weber, New York City WTT KingPins, 234-208.

Alternate Ball Doubles (one point)
L.A. X (Mika Koivuniemi/Parker Bohn III) def. New York City WTT KingPins (John Szczerbinski/Pete Weber/sub Stuart Williams), 299-216.

Baker Trios (one point)
New York City WTT KingPins (Scott Norton/Jake Peters/Stuart Williams) def. L.A. X (Jason Belmonte/Andres Gomez/E.J. Tackett), 249-235.

Five-Man Baker Team (three points)
L.A. X (Mika Koivuniemi/E.J. Tackett/Andres Gomez/Jason Belmonte/Parker Bohn III) def. New York City WTT KingPins (Stuart Williams/Jake Peters/John Szczerbinski/Scott Norton/Pete Weber), 218-204.

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PBA Spare Shots: Norm Duke Turns 50, Makes PBA50 Debut in Pasco County Open April 12-15

by Bill Vint March 26, 2014 04:19

The PBA50 Tour will make its 2014 debut April 12-15 when Lane Glo Bowl hosts the Pasco County Open in New Port Richey, Fla. Among the field of 100-or-so players will be another PBA Hall of Famer making his PBA50 debut.

Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., turned 50 on Tuesday. Duke, who still holds the PBA record as the youngest player ever to win a PBA Tour title, will join the ranks of 50-and-older players 31 years after that memorable event. Duke was 18 years and 345 days old when he defeated Tom Milton of St. Petersburg, Fla., 238-204, to win the 1983 Cleveland Open.

Duke, who is tied for third place on the all-time PBA Tour titles list with fellow PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber – last year’s PBA50 Rookie of the Year – is eligible for PBA50 competition in 2014 along with 33-time PBA Tour winner and hall of famer Parker Bohn III (who turned 50 last July, at the close of the 2013 season), along with PBA Tour titlists Dave Arnold (New Year’s Day), twin brothers Mike and Mark Scroggins (March 12) and Rick Steelsmith (June 1).

Duke wasn’t sure if he wanted to bowl on the so-called senior tour or not, but as his 50th birthday grew closer, he examined his options more closely and decided he should participate.

“I polled some of my close friends and they all told me I’d be missing the boat if I didn’t bowl,” he said. “Not only will my fans want to see me compete, but maybe I can do some good for the senior tour. Look at what Pete (Weber) has done, and Walter Ray (Williams Jr.) and Mark Roth and Earl Anthony before them. It began to make sense, and Storm – my ball sponsor – also wanted me to be there.

“That’s what I needed to hear,” he continued. “If my sponsors think it’s important, it’s important to me. My career goal, from the very beginning, was to bowl against the very best in the world and beat them, but when you look at it from the viewpoint of what your sponsors want, it’s a whole different landscape.”

But Duke said he isn’t going to approach the PBA50 Tour as a leisurely hobby.

“I’m going to be prepared. I’m not going to approach this like it’s retirement,” he said. “It’s something I’ll take very seriously. I’m not going just to play; I’m going to compete.

“I thought about Pete and Walter Ray and Amleto (Monacelli) – guys who were the heroes while we were all bowling on the PBA Tour – I don’t remember bowling in events when those guys weren’t my competition. So I want to go out there on the PBA50 Tour and equal or exceed what they’ve already done. It’s like starting my quest all over.”

Duke said his current plan is to bowl the first three PBA50 Tour events in Florida and North Carolina, plus the PBA Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters in Las Vegas in June. At that point he’ll re-assess his plans for the duration of the PBA50 Tour’s 12-event 2014 schedule.

XTRA FRAME GEARS UP FOR PBA50 TOUR COVERAGE

The PBA50 Pasco County Open from Lane Glo Bowl in New Port Richey, Fla., will be the first of several PBA50 Tour events covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. Start-to-finish coverage of the Pasco County event (won last year by Bob Learn Jr.) begins with qualifying rounds on Sunday, April 13, and continues through the match play eliminations on Tuesday, April 15.

To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link. Monthly subscriptions are $7.99; a full year of Xtra Frame coverage, which includes access to a huge archive of past telecasts, interviews and instructional materials, is available for $64.99.

ROOM RATES AVAILABLE FOR SUMMER SWING AT OKLAHOMA’S GRAND CASINO RESORT

PBA members, amateur bowlers and fans who are planning to attend the Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing in Shawnee, Okla., are urged to use a special online link to obtain the special $99-per-night room rate. To reserve your room at the special PBA rate, visit http://usgcr.webhotel.microsdc.us/ and enter 140516SUMM in the Group Code Box. Or you can call the Grand directly at 405-964-7777 and mention the PBA Summer Swing to obtain the preferred rate.

PBA REGIONAL ROUNDUP: AULT NEARLY PERFECT IN PORTLAND WIN

Thomas Ault Jr. of Portland, Ore., was nearly perfect in defeating top qualifier Wayne Garber of Modesto, Calif., 298-187, to win the PBA Northwest/West DV8 Open at Caveman Bowl in Grants Pass, Ore., on Sunday, March 23.

The win for Ault, who left a pocket 7-10 on his final shot in the title match, was his fifth in PBA Regional competition and included a $2,000 first prize.

Kevin Vostry of Plainfield, Ill., defeated Darryl Traber of Waterford, Wis., 214-170, to win the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by MOTIV at Showtime Lanes in Virden, Ill., Sunday for a $1,500 first prize and his first PBA Regional title.

Gary Morgan of Atlanta, Ga., defeated Bill Keenan of Orlando, Fla., 230-225, 185-235, 258-155, in the best-of-three-game title match to win $1,600 and his 14th PBA Regional title in the PBA50 Fayetteville Southern Open at LaFayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday.

Andy Patterson of Tyler, Texas, defeated Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, 236-202, to win $2,500 and his fifth PBA Regional title Sunday in the inaugural PBA San Angelo Southwest Open, presented by Ebonite, at Stadium Lanes in San Angelo, Texas.

David Kneas of Annapolis, Md., doubled in the 10th frame to defeat Jeff Zaffino of Warren, Pa., 201-186, to win the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Eastern Open at Rossi Lanes in Elmira, N.Y., Sunday. Kneas earned $2,200 along with his eighth career PBA Regional title.

● Closing out the March schedule will be the PBA50 Boys and Girls Club Midwest/Central Open presented by Columbia 300 at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, Ill., and the Bowlers Discount Eastern Open at Brunswick Zone Normandy in Ellicott City, Md.

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: The starting time for Sunday’s ESPN telecast of the PBA League semifinal showdown between L.A. X and the New York City WTT Kingpins has been changed to 5 p.m. ET.

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U.S. Collegiate Star Marshall Kent Wins Brunswick Euro Challenge in Munich

by Bill Vint March 23, 2014 05:43

MUNICH, Germany – Amateur Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., a member of Team USA and a collegiate all-American with the Robert Morris University-Illinois team, won the 11th annual Brunswick Euro Challenge at Dream-Bowl Palace Sunday, striking on 10 of his first 11 shots in a near-perfect 277-258 victory over Sweden’s Daniel Fransson.

Kent, who reached the television finals in the 2013 U.S. Open and the PBA Scorpion Championship during the PBA World Series of Bowling V, where he bowled on a special invitation, earned 11,111 Euros (US$15,300), but doesn’t earn a PBA title because he is an amateur.

The Brunswick Euro Challenge is a World Bowling Tour, PBA International Tour and European Bowling Tour event.

Fransson eliminated the PBA Tour’s last hope for the Brunswick Euro Challenge title when he defeated Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, 255-226, in the semifinal match.

The tournament drew a field of 343 players from 33 countries, including a strong contingent of PBA Tour players. Twenty-one PBA members advanced to Sunday’s 64-player final rounds.

The PBA Tour will resume competition in the U.S. May 18-25 with the Oklahoma’s Grand Hotel Resort Summer Swing in Shawnee, Okla.

WTBA/PBA INTERNATIONAL BRUNSWICK EURO CHALLENGE
Dream-Bowl Palace, Munich, German, Sunday

Final Standings:
1, a-Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., $15,300.
2, Daniel Fransson, Sweden, $12,400.
3, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, $9,600.

Stepladder Results:
Semifinal Match: Fransson def. Loschetter, 255-226.
Championship: Kent def. Fransson, 277-258.

Other PBA Cashers:
4, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, $4,100.
5, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, $4,100.
10, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., $2,050.
11, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., $2,050.
16, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., $2,050.
17, Paul Moor, England, $2,050.
18, Tim Mack, Indianapolis, $2,050.
20, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, $2,050.
28, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., $2,050.
30, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., $1,375.
31, Stuart Williams, England, $1,375.
34, Martin Larsen, Sweden, $1,375.
36, Osku Palermaa, Finland, $1,375.
37, Jake Peters, Las Vegas, $1,375.
42, Mik Stampe, Denmark, $1,375.
43, Dom Barrett, England, $1,375.
49, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland-Hartland, Mich., $1,375.
51, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, $1,375.
53, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., $1,375.
59, Kimmo Lehtonen, Finland, $1,375.
  a-denotes amateur

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Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort to Host PBA Summer Swing in May

by Bill Vint March 21, 2014 05:07

SEATTLE – The Professional Bowlers Association’s 2014 Summer Swing, a multi-tournament event that will be televised by CBS Sports Network, will be hosted by Grand Casino Resort and FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., May 18-25, PBA Commissioner Tom Clark announced today.

The Summer Swing will include four PBA Tour title events – the Wolf, Bear and Badger Opens and the PBA Oklahoma Open – and the Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort Summer King of the Swing special event involving four winners plus a “wild card” player. All five television finals will air on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday nights in June and July. Tournament qualifying and match play rounds will be held at FireLake Bowling Center and the stepladder finals will be conducted on specially-constructed lanes in the Grand Casino Resort Events Center.

“The PBA is really excited about returning to Oklahoma and giving the great bowling fans in that area an opportunity to watch a new generation of PBA stars compete in a challenging series of events in the awesome settings of FireLake Bowling Center and the Grand Casino Resort’s Events Center,” Clark said. “It’s been nearly a decade since the PBA Tour had an event in Oklahoma, so we were extremely happy that Grand Casino Resort and FireLake have invited us back.

“It’s going to be a fabulous event,” Clark added. “We’re going to bowl for four PBA Tour titles, conduct a King of the Swing special event, and provide PBA fans around the world with more than 50 hours of live coverage on Xtra Frame in addition to 10 hours of nationally-televised coverage on CBS Sports Network.”

The Summer Swing concept, introduced in 2013 in Milwaukee, produced a pair of first-time PBA Tour titlists (Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, in the Wolf Open and Jake Peters of Decatur, Ill., in the Badger Open) plus victories for Australia’s Jason Belmonte (Bear Open), Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas (Milwaukee Open) and “wild card” Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla. (Summer King of the Swing).

The tournaments will be the first PBA Tour events held in Oklahoma since the 2005 Tulsa Championship at The Lanes at Coffee Creek, won by Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C. The eight-day program also will include a PBA Southwest Region tournament over Memorial Day weekend.

The Summer Swing will be limited to a field of 120 players. Entry fee is $750 for PBA members or $850 for non-members. Entry fees cover all events; entries are not available for individual tournaments. The Southwest Regional event also will be capped at 120 players. Entry fee will be $220 ($285 for non-members).

All qualifying and preliminary match play rounds of the summer swing events will be covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.

Grand Casino Resort is a full-service complex featuring a 262-room Grand Hotel that opened in 2013, restaurants, a golf course and other amenities.

Air dates and times for the PBA Oklahoma Summer Swing will be announced at a later date.

CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158.  For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.

OKLAHOMA’S GRAND CASINO RESORT PBA SUMMER SWING SCHEDULE
FireLake Bowling Center and Grand Casino Resort, Shawnee, Okla., May 18-25

FireLake Bowling Center schedule (all times are Central)
Saturday, May 17
2-5 p.m. – Pro-Am squads

Sunday, May 18
Noon – A Squad practice session
3:30 p.m. – B Squad practice session

Monday, May 19, PBA Wolf Open
8 a.m. – A Squad, 6 qualifying games
2 p.m. – B Squad, 6 qualifying games
  Top 18 advance to second qualifying round
7:30 p.m. – Top 18, 6 qualifying games
  Top 5 after 12 games advance to stepladder finals

Tuesday, May 20, PBA Bear Open
8 a.m. – B Squad, 6 qualifying games
2 p.m. – A Squad, 6 qualifying games
  Top 18 advance to second qualifying round
7:30 p.m. – Top 18, 6 qualifying games
  Top 5 after 12 games advance to stepladder finals

Wednesday, May 21, PBA Badger Open
8 a.m. – A Squad, 6 qualifying games
2 p.m. – B Squad, 6 qualifying games
  Top 18 after 6 games advance to second qualifying round; top 18 after 18 games (combined 6-game first-round Wolf, Bear and Badger totals) advance to Oklahoma Open match play
7:30 p.m. – Top 18, 6 qualifying games
  Top 5 after 12 games advance to stepladder finals

Thursday, May 22, PBA Oklahoma Open Round Robin Match Play
10 a.m. – Top 18, 6 games match play, Wolf pattern
2 p.m. – Top 18, 6 games match play, Bear pattern
6:30 p.m. – Top 18, 6 games match play, Badger pattern
  Top 5 advance to stepladder finals

Friday, May 23
4 p.m. – PBA Southwest Region practice session

Saturday, May 24
8 a.m. – PBA Southwest Region A Squad, 8 qualifying games
2 p.m. - PBA Southwest Region B Squad, 8 qualifying games
  Top 16 after 8 games advance to single-elimination match play

Sunday, May 25
10 a.m. – Round of 16 best-of-five-game match play; losers eliminated
Noon – Round of 8 best-of-three-game match play; losers eliminated
1:30 p.m. – Semifinal Round, one game matches; losers eliminated
2 p.m. – Championship match, one game

OKLAHOMA’S GRAND CASINO RESORT PBA SUMMER SWING
CBS SPORTS NETWORK STEPLADDER FINALS SCHEDULE (all times are Central)

Saturday, May 24
11 a.m. – PBA Wolf Open five-player stepladder finals
2:30 p.m. – PBA Bear Open five-player stepladder finals
6 p.m. – PBA Badger Open five-player stepladder finals

Sunday, May 25
Noon – PBA Oklahoma Open five-player stepladder finals
3:30 p.m. – Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort Summer King of the Swing five-player stepladder finals (four title winners plus “wild card” player - highest in combined points for four events without a title)

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