ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Motown Muscle anchor bowler Mike Fagan’s nine-count spare and strike in the 10th frame was just enough to salvage a 195-193 victory for hometown favorite Jerome Bettis’ team in the Professional Bowlers Association League’s Mark Roth round at Thunderbowl Lanes, preventing the New York City WTT KingPins from winning back to back titles.
The PBA League Mark Roth round, and the Mark Roth Classic title match, aired Sunday on ESPN.
In the PBA League final match, the KingPins’ Tommy Jones, Pete Weber and anchor bowler Scott Norton put together a string of three strikes to help their team take a one-pin lead after seven frames. After trading open-frame splits in the eighth frame and strikes in the ninth, the match came down to Fagan vs. Norton in the 10th frame.
Fagan’s inability to strike on his first shot gave Norton an opening. Needing a strike on his first shot for the win, Norton left a 3 pin, handing Motown 12 points in the PBA League Elias Cup race. The KingPins earned nine Elias Cup points as runners-up.
“It was good TV,” Fagan grinned of his team’s close call. “I was hoping for a little better performance, but I got what I needed when it counted. I figured I’d take the responsibility (of bowling anchor). I feel good on these lanes. I’ve got a good ball reaction, but maybe I was a little over-aggressive.
“Getting 12 (Elias Cup) points is big. We lost our first match in the Salvino round, but we’re getting a little more comfortable with the TV set and the atmosphere, so we think we can make a run for the Cup.”
After a sluggish start in the semifinal match, the KingPins’ Jones, Weber and Norton also combined for a string of three strikes to clinch a 211-162 victory over Kevin Hart’s Philadelphia Hitmen. The KingPins got help from three Hitmen open frames and they advanced to their second straight title match.
In the opening match, consecutive strikes by Philadelphia’s Mike DeVaney, Bill O’Neill and Mika Koivuniemi, combined with back-to-back opens in the ninth and 10th frames by Jesse Williams’ BROOKLYN STyLES were keys to the Hitmen’s 214-176 victory. DeVaney got the Hitmen into the stepladder finals by surviving the Clash eliminator round.
Next Sunday, ESPN will air the two-hour live finals of the United States Bowling Congress Masters from Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J., starting at 3 p.m. ET.
PBA League coverage continues on Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m. ET with the title match of the Don Carter Classic between top qualifier Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, and challenger Jason Sterner of McDonough, Ga., and the PBA League Carter round featuring the BROOKLYN STyLES, the New York City WTT KingPins, Chris Hardwick’s Silver Lake Atom Splitters and the team that advances from the Clash eliminator round.
PBA LEAGUE MARK ROTH ROUND
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.
Final Match (five-player Baker team format)
Motown Muscle (Ronnie Russell, Jesse Buss, Tom Smallwood, Mike Scroggins, Mike Fagan) def. New York City WTT KingPins (John Szczerbinski, Jack Jurek, Tommy Jones, Pete Weber, Scott Norton), 195-193.
Semifinal Match (Baker team)
New York City WTT KingPins def. Philadelphia Hitmen (Chris Loschetter, Dick Allen, Mike DeVaney, Bill O’Neill, Mika Koivuniemi), 211-162.
Match One (Baker team)
Philadelphia Hitmen def. BROOKLYN STyLES (Walter Ray Williams Jr., Jason Sterner, Ryan Shafer, Ryan Ciminelli, Sean Rash), 214-176.
Clash Eliminator (in order of players eliminated based on low one-ball total per round; last surviving player’s team advanced to stepladder finals):
Round One – Chris Loschetter, Philadelphia Hitmen, six pins.
Round Two – Bill O’Neill, Philadelphia Hitmen, eight pins.
Round Three – Nathan Bohr, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, eight pins.
Round Four – Michael Machuga, Dallas Strikers; Mika Koivuniemi, Philadelphia Hitmen; Chris Barnes, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, nine pins.
Round Five – none (all strikes).
Round Six – Osku Palermaa, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits; Parker Bohn III, L.A. X; Rhino Page, Dallas Strikers, six pins.
Round Seven – Mike DeVaney, Philadelphia Hitmen, eliminated Dom Barrett, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, 10-9.
ELIAS CUP POINTS STANDINGS (after three of five rounds)
1, New York City WTT KingPins, 32.
2, Motown Muscle, 27.
3, BROOKLYN STyLES, 25.
4, Philadelphia Hitmen, 17.
5, Dallas Strikers, 16.
6, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, 13.
7, L.A. X, 11.
8, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, 4.