ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Sean Rash threw two strikes in the 10th frame to clinch a 225-215 victory for his BROOKLYN STyLES team over the New York City WTT KingPins in the debut of PBA League team bowling on ESPN Sunday at Thunderbowl Lanes.
The STyLES, owned by Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams, held a two-pin lead heading into the 10th frame. After KingPins’ anchor bowler Pete Weber struck and spared in his half of the 10th frame, Rash answered with two strikes to lock up the win.
“It’s a great feeling winning by yourself, but winning as a team never gets old,” said Rash, who served as franchise player for his team and drafted an all-star lineup that included PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr., veteran Tour champion Ryan Shafer, and promising young players Ryan Ciminelli and Jason Sterner.
“Every single teammate gave me positive feedback, said they had all the confidence in the world,” Rash said. “Ciminelli told me to throw a good shot; I told him I was going to throw the same shot I threw at him to win the Tournament of Champions last year.
“All five of our guys are great players. All of us can throw strikes when we need to,” Rash added. “It shows my picks were pretty good. I picked up a team I knew would never give up, a team that would be competitively ready and guys who can get along. In team sports, everyone has to jell and that’s what we had.”
Sunday’s win gave the STyLES 18 points in the race for the top five positions for the end-of-season PBA League Elias Cup finals. Owner Billie Jean King’s KingPins earned 12 points as runners-up.
Sunday’s PBA League round included the top five of eight five-player teams that had qualified over a span of four days and 32 team games on four different lane conditions as part of the PBA Detroit Winter Swing at Thunderbowl Lanes.
In the semifinal match, the KingPins and Jerome Bettis’ Motown Muscle threw matching strikes and spares through five frames before the KingPins took the lead behind strikes by Tommy Jones and Jack Jurek. Open frames by Tom Smallwood and Mike Fagan in the eighth and ninth frames put Motown in a hole it couldn’t escape. The KingPins advanced to the title contest, 226-191
In the second match, Motown anchor bowler Mike Scroggins threw three strikes in the 10th frame to extend his team’s string to five in a row, erasing a 14-pin deficit and forcing Strikers’ anchor Rhino Page to strike on his first shot in the 10th for a chance to win. Page, however, left the 4-6-7-9 split and the Muscle advanced with a 214-194 win.
In the opening match, the Strikers roared out of the gate with six consecutive strikes while the Silver Lake Atom Splitters, owned by comedian Chris Hardwick, didn’t have a strike until Josh Blanchard threw one in the eighth frame. Terrell Owens’ Dallas-based team easily moved on with a near-perfect 278-171 victory.
The Detroit Winter swing included five rounds of PBA League competition, with points awarded after each round. The top four teams after five rounds will advance to the Elias Cup finals, named in honor of PBA founder Eddie Elias, which will be conducted March 31 at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis as part of PBA Tournament of Champions week.
PBA League preliminary rounds continue on ESPN next Sunday with coverage of the Chris Paul PBA All-Stars at 4 p.m. ET.
PBA LEAGUE THUNDERBOWL ROUND FINALS
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich., Jan. 27
Championship (Baker team format)
BROOKLYN STyLES (Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ryan Shafer, Ryan Ciminelli, Jason Sterner, Sean Rash) def. New York City WTT KingPins (Tommy Jones, Jack Jurek, John Szczerbinski, Scott Norton, Pete Weber), 225-215.
New York City WTT KingPins def. Motown Muscle (Ronnie Russell, Jesse Buss, Tom Smallwood, Mike Fagan, Mike Scroggins), 226-191.
Motown Muscle def. Dallas Strikers (Bryon Smith, Amleto Monacelli, Mike Machuga, Norm Duke, Rhino Page), 214-194.
Dallas Strikers def. Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Chris Barnes, Stuart Williams, Nathan Bohr, Josh Blanchard, Dom Barrett), 278-171.
PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP POINTS STANDINGS (after one of five rounds)
1, BROOKLYN STyLES (owner Jesse Williams), 18 points.
2, New York City WTT KingPins (owner Billie Jean King), 12.
3, Motown Muscle (owner Jerome Bettis), 9.
4, Dallas Strikers (owner Terrell Owens), 8.
5, Silver Lake Atom Splitters (owner Chris Hardwick), 6.
6, L.A. X (owner Chris Paul), 5.
7, Philadelphia Hitmen (owner Kevin Hart), 3.
8, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (owner LaMarr Woodley), 2.