Philadelphia Hitmen, Dallas Strikers Win As L.L.Bean PBA League Competition Gets Underway in Maine

by Bill Vint April 23, 2017 12:13

PORTLAND, Maine – The underdog Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen and the defending champion Shipyard Dallas Strikers got the fifth edition of the L.L.Bean PBA League Elias Cup competition off to a roaring start with sudden-death victories in front of a sold-out crowd at Bayside Bowl.

The first two best-of-two-game quarterfinal rounds matches aired Sunday on ESPN.

The Philadelphia Hitmen, after finishing last in the eight-game league a year earlier and qualifying eighth in the seeding competition two days earlier at Bayside Bowl, were on the brink of another disappointment in Portland when the top-seeded GEICO NYC WTT KingPins won the opening Baker format game, 248-238, thanks to a closing string of six strikes including three in the 10th frame by anchor bowler Marshall Kent.

The Hitmen forced the one-ball sudden-death roll-off by staging their own five-strike rally in the second game, winning a 227-223 battle when anchor bowler Tom Smallwood struck on his first shot in the 10th frame.

In the roll-off, Philadelphia’s Dom Barrett matched KingPins’ leader Pete Weber’s strike. On the second try, New York City’s John Szczerbinski left a 10 pin that a rebounding “messenger” pin failed to topple. Tom Smallwood ended the drama when his “messenger” connected, tipping over the 10 pin for a strike and the victory.

“It’s been a rough couple of years for us,” Philadelphia manager Jason Couch said. “We’ve been on the losing end despite bowling the two highest scores other than the people we bowled against. I told our guys when we got here, we haven’t had the greatest luck but when they get on the approach, I wanted them to be committed and just go do it. That was my speech of the day.

“Tom (Smallwood) bowled phenomenal, but our whole team bowled well. Tom just looked comfortable on the lanes, so I moved him to anchor,” Couch added. “I don’t know who we bowl next and I don’t care because my guys are really committed and I feel good about our chances.”

Smallwood embraced the opportunity to throw the sudden-death shot.

“I had a great ball reaction,” he said. “I could hit the pocket basically from everywhere. In the end, my messenger delivered, John’s didn’t.”

Dallas jumped in front in the second quarterfinal match, tripping the Lee Auto Malls L.A. X team, 223-215, when L.A. X anchor Jason Belmonte left a 2 pin on his second shot in the 10th frame after striking on his first shot. L.A. X was almost perfect in the second game with Martin Larsen, Jakob Butturff, Osku Palermaa, Stuart Williams and Belmonte throwing 11 strikes, just missing 300 when the Australian two-hander left a 10 pin on his final shot.

In their sudden-death duel, the Strikers insisted reluctant player-manager Norm Duke throw their first shot, and the PBA Hall of Famer struck. Belmonte then stunned the Portland crowd when he left a 4 pin.

Dallas_Duke.Norm_2017PBA_1(8)“That was exciting, nerve-wracking, what sports is all about,” Duke said, “especially when you’ve got the team behind you. They know if you falter, they falter. (PBA players) don’t get a lot of that and when we do, it’s thrilling. We’re used to being individuals.

“I’m sure golfers would understand, but Jack Nicklaus would tell you the Ryder Cup is a different feeling.

This (PBA League) is building,” Duke continued. “Don’t think for a minute it doesn’t mean anything to these guys. If it didn’t mean anything, you wouldn’t see the level of fear or the level of confidence in two players standing right next to each other.”

Duke said he didn’t want to be the guy throwing the sudden-death shot, “but my team came to me and said it was either Rhino (Page, a left-hander) or me because we had the best chance of throwing a strike. They thought my ball was going through the pins better and they were right. They put it all on me. I was scared of it, to be honest, but we all know that’s why we’re here and every one of us would have thrown that shot.”

Duke also said winning the Elias Cup in 2016 “was one of the highlights of my entire career. It wasn’t because I was player-manager; it was because there wasn’t a match where we weren’t down 40 pins and had to come back, just like today. And then we bowled that 300 (en route to winning the Elias Cup). That’s why it meant so much. Now we’re in the top four, and I like our chances.”

The final two quarterfinal round matches, airing next Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT, will send the MaineQuarterly.com Brooklyn Styles against the Live + Work in Maine Silver Lake Atom Splitters in the first match, and the Barbasol Motown Muscle against the hometown-favorite L.L.Bean Portland Lumberjacks in the fourth quarterfinal round contest.

The ESPN telecast will be simultaneously streamed on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

L.L.BEAN PBA LEAGUE

Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine (aired Sunday on ESPN)

Quarterfinal Round Results (best-of-two-game Baker format)

Match One: Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen (Ronnie Russell, Dave Wodka, Chris Loschetter, Dom Barrett, Tom Smallwood) def. GEICO NYC WTT KingPins (Danielle McEwan, Sam Cooley, John Szczerbinski, Pete Weber, Marshall Kent), 238-248, 227-223, 10-10, 10-9 in one-ball sudden-death roll-off.

Match Two: Shipyard Dallas Strikers (Bill O’Neill, Norm Duke, B.J. Moore III, Rhino Page, Tommy Jones) def. Lee Auto Malls L.A. X (Martin Larsen, Jakob Butturff, Osku Palermaa, Stuart Williams, Jason Belmonte), 223-215, 217-299, 10-9 in one-ball sudden-death roll-off.

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PBA Spare Shots: Auto Accident Doesn’t Deter Maine Bowler from Competing in Roth/Holman Doubles

by Bill Vint April 20, 2017 13:03

Another illustration of just how passionate the Maine bowling community is for PBA’s annual stop in Portland was the plight of Sarah Pelletier of Lewiston, who escaped serious injury when her car was totaled in an accident the day before the MaineQuarterly.com Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles event got underway at Bayside Bowl.

Pelletier, who was entered in the tournament with partner Joe Ramsdell, wasn’t about to let her bruised sliding leg and balance arm keep her out of the tournament. The three local teams failed to make the cashers’ cut, but they loved the experience.

You can get the details from an article in the Portland Press Herald by reporter Taylor Vortherms:

http://www.pressherald.com/2017/04/11/maine-bowlers-and-fans-are-having-a-ball-at-portland-tournament/

SPEAKING OF GREAT FANS, MARK ROTH T-SHIRTS DISPLAY TRIBUTE TO MISSING STAR

Portland’s passionate PBA fans seldom miss a chance to express themselves, so when it became known that PBA legend Mark Roth would be unable to attend the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship due to health issues, the fans got decked out in Mark Roth signature t-shirts and surrounded Holman to send a “best wishes” message to Roth prior to the live ESPN finals on April 16.

The Mark Roth t-shirts are available to the public through “The Store” on pba.com. Use this link to access the PBA Store: http://pba.firelakedesigns.com/

THIS WEEK: “PICK THE COLUMBIA 300 BALL” FOR PBA BOWLING CHALLENGE GAME

Concrete Software’s “pick the ball” survey for PBA Bowling Challenge mobile game continues this week with players invited to select a new Columbia 300 ball from among three options provided weekly for each PBA-participating brand.

Based on fan voting which begins Thursday (click here: http://bit.ly/C300_17 to cast your vote), the “winning” Columbia 300 ball will be available for play on May 5.

A code to purchase the ball for 50% off (the code will be available on PBA’s and the specific companies’ social media pages) will be posted. Each company also will have a flashback weekend where all its previous balls will be available for that weekend only.

XTRA FRAME CONTINUES PBA50 COVERAGE; VILLAGES BROADCAST TO BE DELAYED

Xtra Frame’s coverage of the PBA50 Tour continues next week at the UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl in The Villages presented by Radical, but due to internet restrictions at The Villages, the tournament will be streaming from the event on a one-day delayed basis. Sun Bowl’s XF coverage will start on Monday and will conclude with coverage of the finals on Wednesday, April 26.

Rather than the normal “Live Now” link, fans will be directed to a link to the Xtra Frame archive that will house the round they are looking for.

Xtra Frame will resume its normal live coverage of PBA50 Tour action when the players head north to Mooresville, N.C., for the Race City Open presented by Columbia 300 Monday, May 1 through Wednesday, May 3.

Xtra Frame also begins its coverage of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Friday, April 28-Saturday, April 29, when the QubicaAMF PWBA Sonoma County Open kicks off the women’s tour’s 2017 season in Rohnert Park, Calif.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: McMAHAN WINS SECOND KINGSPORT PBA50 TITLE

Greg McMahan of Dandridge, Tenn., defeated Darryl Bower of Middletown, Pa., 227-164, to take the first prize in the 4th Annual PBA60 Blue Ridge Properties/Kingsport C.V.B. South Open presented by Storm at Warpath Lanes in Kingsport, Tenn., on April 12.

McMahan, who also won this event in 2015, earned the top spot in the stepladder finals with an 8-2 match play record and an 18-game total of 4,343 pins. He earned $1,700. Bower qualified second, 88 pins behind McMahan, and earned $1,000.

In the first stepladder match PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, N.C. defeated Ted Staikoff of Black Hawk, S.D., 237-194. Bower then disposed of Baker, 237-227, in the semifinal match.

● Non-member Pat McGainey Jr. of Baltimore defeated PBA Hall of Famer Danny Wiseman, also of Baltimore, 258-214, to win the PBA Bowlers Discount Pro Shop Eastern Open presented by Hammer at Brunswick Zone Normandy Sunday. 

McGainey, who finished fifth in this event in 2015, faced elimination in the round of 16 against Andrew Lazarchick of Brick, N.J., but rallied from a 2-1 deficit and went undefeated the rest of the way to claim the $2,500 top prize. He does not receive credit for a PBA title, however, because he is a non-member.  Wiseman, coming off wrist surgery in 2015, earned $1,300 for his runner-up finish.

In the semifinal matches, McGainey bested Kevin Donovan of Painted Post, N.Y., 200-173, while Wiseman ousted qualifying leader Greg Ostrander of Freehold, N.J., 268-238.

George Duke from Vidor, Texas, won six of his first seven matches and coasted to victory in the PBA Copperfield Bowl Southwest Challenge, presented by Global 900, in Houston, Texas, Sunday.

Duke, who finished fifth in last year’s Copperfield event, and also has a second place finish in PBA competition, earned a $2,200 winner’s check.

Duke, who led the 13-game qualifying portion of the event, started the modified round robin match play finals by losing his first match, then won his next six matches to build a 156-pin lead over Marshall Morrison from Wills Point, Texas. Morrison prevailed in position round over Duke, 201-161, but Duke had enough of a margin to win while Morrison dropped to third as Houston’s Jay Nephew leapfrogged from fourth to second with a 236-212 over amateur Tyler Wright of Gonzales, La.

● The April 21-23 PBA Regional schedule features the Debbie & Leo Nunan Memorial Central Open presented by Track at AMF Stardust Lanes in Grove City, Ohio, and the Jac’s Lanes Valdosta South Open in Valdosta, Ga. April 23 also kicks of the PBA West Region’s annual tripleheader in Hawaii, including the Hawaii West/Northwest Open presented by Ebonite at Schofield AFB (April 23), the Fort Shafter West/Northwest Hawaii Open in Honolulu (April 26) and the Hickam AFB West/Northwest Open presented by Ebonite (April 28-30).

● April’s PBA Regional competition concludes with the PBA50 Cherokee Lanes South Open presented by Roto Grip in Canton, Ga., April 27-29, and the Al Jones Memorial presented by Storm at Rockaway Lanes in Rockaway, N.J., April 28-30.

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

QUICK NOTES:

Andres Gomez and wife Mirley welcomed son Christopher on April 14. Christopher weighed in at 8.14 pounds and measured 20 inches. He joins big sister Isabella.

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Sunday on ESPN: Maine’s Energetic Fans Welcome Opening Round of L.L.Bean PBA League Competition

by Bill Vint April 20, 2017 10:38

PORTLAND, Maine – The most energetic fans in bowling will provide the background as L.L.Bean PBA League competition returns to ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern with a pair of quarterfinal matches involving the inaugural Elias Cup champion GEICO New York City WTT KingPins facing the Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen and the Lee Auto Malls L.A.X challenging the defending champion Shipyard Dallas Strikers.

The PBA League returns to an expanded Bayside Bowl in Portland for third third consecutive year, this time under the umbrella sponsorship of one of Maine’s most famous brands, L.L.Bean.

In Sunday’s opening match, the top-seeded GEICO New York City WTT KingPins, led by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber and his supporting cast of Marshall Kent, John Szczerbinski, Danielle McEwan and Sam Cooley will meet the No. 8-seeded Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen (Dom Barrett; Tom Smallwood; Chris Loschetter, Ronnie Russell, Dave Wodka) in a best-of-two-game Baker format contest.

In PBA League play, the best-of-two-game Baker matches are decided by a dramatic one-ball sudden-death roll-off if the teams split their two games.

The second quarterfinal match will feature the No. 4-seeded defending champion Dallas Strikers, led by player-manager Norm Duke and featuring 2016 Mark Roth MVP Tommy Jones, Bill O’Neill, Rhino Page and B.J. Moore. The Strikers will need to eliminate the No. 5 L.A. X squad led by Australia’s Jason Belmonte, Stuart Williams, Martin Larsen, Osku Palermaa and newcomer Jakob Butturff.

The winning teams will advance to the semifinal round, where they will meet each other in an ESPN-televised match that will air on Sunday, May 7, at 1 p.m. EDT. The Elias Cup finals will air on Sunday, May 14, at 1 p.m. All ESPN telecasts also will be streamed simultaneously on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

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Troup/Svensson Win Continues Positive Viewership Gains for PBA on ESPN During 2016-17 Season

by Bill Vint April 19, 2017 13:33

CHICAGO – Kyle Troup and Jesper Svensson’s electrifying win Sunday in the MaineQuarterly.com Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, continued the positive viewership momentum trends of the 2016-17 Professional Bowlers Association on ESPN series.

The live finals average viewership was up 18 percent over last year’s Roth/Holman Doubles. Viewership through 13 PBA on ESPN shows is averaging 642,969 viewers, up 13 percent year-over-year. ESPN’s SportsCenter included highlights from the finals on Sunday night and Troup appeared live via satellite on Tuesday morning’s SportsCenter to talk about the win and his career following in the footsteps of his father Guppy Troup.

L.L.Bean PBA League coverage begins this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. The first set of Elias Cup quarterfinal matches, also from rowdy Bayside Bowl, continues on three more successive Sundays, all at 1 p.m. ET.

ESPN Senior Vice President of Programming Scott Guglielmino said the upcoming schedule will be a treat for fans. "Our remaining slate promises to be exciting, with the action and drama from the PBA League wrapping up the season,” Guglielmino said.

Guglielmino noted the PBA’s strong February featured six PBA shows including three major championships. The PBA on ESPN averaged an audience of  713,000 viewers, reaching more than 13 million total viewers during the month. During the PBA’s “Big February” run from 2015-17, there have been 15 ESPN telecasts averaging more than 767,000 viewers per show.

Sunday’s PBA League quarterfinals matches will begin with the top-seeded GEICO New York City WTT KingPins (Pete Weber, Marshall Kent, John Szczerbinski, Danielle McEwan, Sam Cooley) vs. the No. 8 Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen (Dom Barrett; Tom Smallwood; Chris Loschetter, Ronnie Russell, Dave Wodka). The second quarterfinal match will feature the No. 4 defending Elias Cup champion Shipyard Dallas Strikers (player-manager Norm Duke, Tommy Jones, Bill O’Neill, Rhino Page, B.J. Moore) meeting the No. 5 Lee Auto Malls L.A. X (Jason Belmonte, Stuart Williams, Martin Larsen, Osku Palermaa, Jakob Butturff).

Teams were seeded into the Elias Cup elimination rounds during an eight-game qualifying event held earlier in the week at Bayside Bowl. Kyle Troup and the hometown favorite L.L.Bean Portland Lumberjacks, the no. 3 seed, will headline the April 30 telecast, bowling against the no. 6 Barbasol Motown Muscle. The final quarterfinal round match will pit No. 2 Live + Work in Maine Silver Lake Atom Splitters taking on no. 7 MaineQuarterly.com Brooklyn Styles.

All quarterfinal and semifinal round matches are best-of-two-game Baker format contests, with a one-ball sudden-death roll-off deciding any match that ends in a tie.

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GEICO NYC WTT KingPins Earn No. 1 Seed for Saturday’s L.L. Bean PBA League Quarterfinals

by Bill Vint April 13, 2017 11:48

PORTLAND, Maine – The GEICO New York City WTT KingPins, winners of the inaugural PBA League Elias Cup championship in 2013, earned the No. 1 seed for this weekend’s L.L. Bean PBA League finals at Bayside Bowl, averaging 240.63 to pace the eight teams of Professional Bowlers Association stars who bowled for seeding positions during an eight-game qualifying round at Bayside Bowl Thursday.

The KingPins, led by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber and including returning team members Marshall Kent and John Szczerbinski along with newcomers Danielle McEwan and Sam Cooley, led the qualifying round by 35 pins over the Live + Work in Maine Silver Lake Atom Splitters, the only team that has won the Elias Cup twice.

The KingPins, as the No. 1 team, will meet the No. 8 Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen in their opening match of the single-elimination bracket competition that begins Saturday. PBA League competition will involve best-of-two-game Baker format matches in which team play requires each of the five players to bowl two frames to complete a game. In the best-of-two-game competition, if a match ends in a tie, one player from each team will throw one shot in a sudden-death roll-off until the outcome is decided.

“I don’t think qualifying first means much other than it was a good opportunity to see how we meshed with our new players (McEwan and Cooley),” KingPins manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard said. “Danielle is really solid in the leadoff position and Sam just fit right in. So we’re ready to kick butt and take names.”

The quarterfinal rounds will be contested at noon and 3 p.m. ET Saturday. Saturday’s winners advance to the semifinal round matches at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, followed by the Elias Cup championship match at 7 p.m. The final match will involve singles, doubles and trios matches worth one point each, and a five-player team contest worth three points. If the match is tied, it will be settled by a one-ball sudden-death roll-off. All PBA League matches will be recorded for delayed telecast on ESPN, but also will be live-streamed on ESPN3/WatchESPN as they happen.

Sunday’s PBA League matches will follow the MaineQuarterly.com Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship finals that will air live on ESPN at 1 p.m.

Past PBA League Elias Cup winners include the GEICO NYC WTT KingPins in 2013, the Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters in 2014 and 2015, and the GoBowling.com Dallas Strikers in 2016. Past Mark Roth Most Valuable Player Award winners were Chris Barnes (2014), Dick Allen (2015) and Tommy Jones (2016). The award wasn’t presented in 2013.

MAINEQUARTERLY.COM MARK ROTH/MARSHALL HOLMAN PBA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP AND L.L. BEAN PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP SCHEDULE
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, April 13

L.L. Bean PBA League Qualifying Results (after 8 games; finishing position determines the team’s seeding for the PBA League finals):
1, GEICO NYC WTT KingPins (manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard; Pete Weber, Marshall Kent, John Szczerbinski, Danielle McEwan, Sam Cooley), 1,925.
2, Live + Work in Maine Silver Lake Atom Splitters (manager Mark Baker; Chris Barnes, Tom Daugherty, Jesper Svensson, Shawn Maldonado, DJ Archer), 1,890.
3, L.L. Bean Portland Lumberjacks (manager Tim Mack; Wes Malott, Ryan Ciminelli, Liz Johnson, Kyle Troup, Bryon Smith), 1,877.
4, Shipyard Dallas Strikers (player-manager Norm Duke; Norm Duke, Tommy Jones, Bill O’Neill, Rhino Page, BJ Moore), 1,872.
5, Lee Auto Malls L.A. X (manager Andrew Cain; Jason Belmonte, Stuart Williams, Martin Larsen, Osku Palermaa, Jakob Butturff), 1,837.
6, Barbasol Motown Muscle (manager Del Ballard Jr.; EJ Tackett, Anthony Simonsen, Josh Blanchard, Francois Lavoie, Dick Allen), 1,814.
7, MaineQuarterly.com Brooklyn Styles (manager Johnny Petraglia; Sean Rash, Parker Bohn III, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Jason Sterner, Jon Van Hees), 1,808.
8, Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen (manager Jason Couch; Dom Barrett; Tom Smallwood; Chris Loschetter, Ronnie Russell, Dave Wodka), 1,781.

SATURDAY, APRIL 15 (ESPN PBA League Quarterfinals)
9 a.m. – L.L. Bean/Shipyard Brewing Tailgate Party
Noon – L.L. Bean PBA League Quarterfinals (live on ESPN3/WatchESPN;; ESPN telecast Sunday, April 23 at 1 p.m. ET)
    Match One: GEICO NYC WTT KingPins vs. Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen.
    Match Two: Lee Auto Malls L.A. X vs. Shipyard Dallas Strikers.
3:30 p.m. – L.L. Bean PBA League Quarterfinals (live on ESPN3/WatchESPN; ESPN telecast Sunday, April 30 at 1 p.m. ET)
    Match Three: Live + Work in Maine Silver Lake Atom Splitters vs. MaineQuarterly.com Brooklyn Styles.
Match Four: Barbasol Motown Muscle vs. L.L. Bean Portland Lumberjacks.
                                                                                                          
SUNDAY, APRIL 16 (ESPN Doubles Finals, PBA League Semifinals and Finals)
1 p.m. – MaineQuarterly.com Roth/Holman Doubles stepladder finals, live on ESPN
    Match One: Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C./Zeke Bayt, Westerville, Ohio, vs. DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas/Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas.
    Match Two: Match One winner vs. Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa./Jason Belmonte, Australia.
    Semifinal Match: Match Two winner vs. EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind./Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash.
Championship: Semifinal Match winner vs. Jesper Svensson, Sweden/Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C.

4:30 p.m. – L.L. Bean PBA League Semifinals (live on ESPN3/WatchESPN; ESPN telecast Sunday, May 7 at 1 p.m. ET)
    Semifinal Match One: Winner Match One vs. Winner Match Two.
    Semifinal Match Two: Winner Match Three vs. Winner Match Four.
7 p.m. – L.L. Bean PBA League Elias Cup finals (live on ESPN3/WatchESPN; ESPN telecast Sunday, May 14 at 1 p.m. ET)

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