【PBA】 PBA League Series

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

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.










 【PBA】 PBA League Series

Philadelphia Hitmen Sweep Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, Roll into PBA League Semifinal Round

Bill O’Neill and his Philadelphia Hitmen recorded the first sweep in the 2014 Professional Bowlers Association League Elias Cup eliminations, knocking the Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits out of the tournament at Thunderbowl Lanes and atoning for a disappointing finish to their 2013 campaign.

A 235-225 victory in the five-man Baker team finale completed Philadelphia’s 6-0 sweep of the singles, alternate ball doubles, Baker trios and Baker team competition and landed the Hitmen, owned by actor/comedian Kevin Hart, a berth in the semifinal round against the Silver Lake Atom Splitters. The battle of Pennsylvania, the fourth and final single-elimination quarterfinal round match in the eight-team PBA League competition, aired Sunday on ESPN.

It was a redeeming performance for the Hitmen, presented by High 5 Gear, who were in position to make the Elias Cup finals in 2013 only to fade in the final qualifying round to finish sixth.

“It bothered me a lot that we did as bad as we did last year,” O’Neill said. “We had a bad last day. If we had avoided that, we would have been fine. But we’re back this year with a couple of different guys and it’s turned out well because they’ve done nothing but strike so far. We didn’t lose a game, so that’s about as good as it gets.

“Now we have the supposed ‘dream team’ next, so hopefully we’ll be able to beat their butts,” O’Neill added, referring to a Silver Lake team loaded with past PBA Players of the Year Chris Barnes, Tommy Jones and Wes Malott as well as 2013 POY contender Dom Barrett and 2003 USBC Masters champion Bryon Smith.

O’Neill started the sweep of the Jack Rabbits, presented by HotelPlanner.com, with a 215-212 win in the singles match against Jack Rabbits’ team captain Osku Palermaa, taking advantage of a pair of splits and open frames by the Finnish two-handed player in the second and third frames. Palermaa recovered from his mistakes with a string of five strikes. Needing two strikes in the 10th frame to complete his rally, he left a 10 pin on his first shot.

Dan MacLelland and Ryan Ciminelli kept the Philadelphia momentum rolling in the alternate ball doubles match, striking on eight of their first nine shots en route to a 257-239 win over Pittsburgh’s Ronnie Russell and Eugene McCune.

The Jack Rabbits, owned by newly-signed Oakland Raiders all-pro linebacker LaMarr Woodley, never wilted, however. In the Baker trio match, Philadelphia’s O’Neill, Josh Blanchard and Mike DeVaney again set a torrid pace, striking on eight of their first nine shots, but led by only one pin heading into ninth frame. O’Neill’s spare in the 10th gave Palermaa a chance to win for Pittsburgh with two strikes in his final frame, but he left the 4-9 split to end the threat and Philadelphia won, 256-251.

The Hitmen, who are managed by PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch, completed the sweep with a dominating team effort. Open frames in the fifth and eighth frames hindered the Jack Rabbits, but they used a barrage of strikes to remain in contention until O’Neill’s 10th-frame spare locked up the win.

“They never gave us any breathing room,” Pittsburgh team manager Tim Mack said. “It was a matter of one shot here and there that made the difference. We were in every match until the 10th frame, but it wasn’t our day.”

The PBA League now moves into the semifinal round where the defending champion New York City WTT KingPins, owned by women’s sports legend Billie Jean King and led by team captain Pete Weber, will meet L.A. X, owned by Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul and led by captain Jason Belmonte, on ESPN on Sunday, March 30, at 5 p.m. The Hitmen will bowl the Silver Lake Atom Splitters, owned by “Nerdist” creator Chris Hardwick and led by Barnes, on ESPN on Sunday, April 6, at 1 p.m. ET.

The two semifinal round winners will battle for the Elias Cup on ESPN on Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m. ET.


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

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.




Denmark’s Thomas Larsen Wins Second PBA Tour Title in Kuwait International Open

Denmark’s Thomas Larsen defeated England’s Dom Barrett, 208-205, to win his second PBA Tour title in the 11th Kuwait International Open Friday at Cozmo Bowling Center.

Larsen, the top qualifier after Friday’s modified match play round, claimed the title and $25,000 first prize after Barrett split and opened in the ninth frame. Larsen’s previous PBA title came in the Abu Dhabi WBT in December in the United Arab Emirates.

Barrett, a three-time PBA Tour titlist including the 2013 PBA World Championship, advanced to the championship match by defeating fellow Englishman Stuart Williams, 243-202, in the semifinal match. Williams started the five-man stepladder finals by eliminating defending Kuwait Open champion Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 256-200, and Jason Belmonte of Australia, 178-148.

In a special women’s stepladder final for the top three women who bowled in the tournament, former PBA member Shannon O’Keefe of Arlington, Texas – one of nine women who have won PBA Regional titles – defeated PBA member Sandra Andersson of Sweden, 242-196, for the $2,850 first prize.

The Kuwait Open was the third in a series of four WTBA-PBA International Tour events as part of the World Bowling Tour points competition. Next on the schedule is the 10th Brunswick Euro Challenge at Dream Bowl Palace in Munich, Germany, March 15-23. Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., is defending champion.




UAE’s Al Hassan Defeats Szczerbinski to Claim 12th Kingdom of Bahrain International Open Title

Top qualifier Shaker Al Hassan of the United Arab Emirates defeated John Szczerbinski of N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 231-229, Friday to win the $25,000 first prize in the 12th Kingdom of Bahrain International Open at Ozone Entertainment Center, denying Szczerbinski his first PBA Tour title.

Szczerbinski, after eliminating fellow American PBA member Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, 197-166, in the semifinal match, needed to beat Al Hassan twice in order to win the title, but came up two pins short in the first game. The win was Al Hassan’s first in WTBA World Bowling Tour competition, but he does not receive credit for a PBA International Tour title because he isn’t a PBA member.

The third event in a four-tournament WTBA-PBA International Tour series, the 11th Kuwait International Open, begins Monday and concludes on Friday, March 14, at Cozmo Bowling Center in Salmiya City, Kuwait. The four-event series concludes with the 10th Brunswick Euro Challenge from Dream Bowl Palace in Munich, Germany, March 15-23.











 【PBA】 PBA League Series

Silver Lake Atom Splitters Dominate Dallas Strikers, Advance to PBA League Semifinal Round

Chris Barnes and his Silver Lake Atom Splitters dominated Norm Duke and the Dallas Strikers to advance to the semifinal round of the Professional Bowlers Association League Elias Cup competition at Thunderbowl Lanes.

Behind a 205-185 victory in the five-man Baker team finale, Silver Lake, presented by Spiceworks, defeated Dallas, presented by the United States Bowling Congress, in a near-sweep, 5-1.

The third in a series of four single-elimination first-round matches in the eight-team PBA League competition aired Sunday on ESPN. One point was awarded to the winner in singles, doubles and trios matches, and three points were awarded to the Baker team winner.

In the singles match, Duke – the only PBA League competitor serving the dual role of team manager and team captain – pulled himself out of his match against Barnes after recording four single-pin spares and one strike in five frames while Barnes started with six strikes for a 52-pin lead. Duke replaced himself with left-hander Rhino Page to give Page more practice on the PBA League lane condition, but it didn’t matter. Barnes ran his string of strikes to nine before losing his bid for a perfect game. He left the 4-6-7 split in the 10th frame, but still won the singles point comfortably, 265-208.

Neither team could generate any momentum in alternate ball doubles. Silver Lake’s Barnes and Bryon Smith took a one-pin lead into the 10th frame where Duke struck and then converted Mike Machuga’s 3-6-9-10 leave. Smith needed a strike to clinch the win for Silver Lake, but left a 10 pin. Barnes converted the spare, but again needing a strike for a one-pin victory, Smith knocked down eight pins to hand Dallas the doubles point, 195-194.

The Atom Splitters, owned by “Nerdist” creator Chris Hardwick, won the Baker trios point, 213-184. Consecutive strikes by Dom Barrett, Wes Malott and Tommy Jones staked Silver Lake to a 31-pin lead after four frames. The Strikers, owned by NFL all-star receiver Terrell Owens, never mounted a threat, recording only three strikes through nine frames.

Dallas continued to struggle in the Baker team finale, failing to record back-to-back strikes until the seventh and eighth frames, but the Strikers still had a chance after Jones left the 2-8-10 split in the 10th frame. Page, anchoring for Dallas, needed three strikes to pull out a one-pin victory, but left a solid 7 pin on his first ball in the final frame.

“We weren’t very happy with how things ended last year,” Barnes said, referring to Silver Lake’s sixth-place finish in the PBAL’s inaugural season. “We didn’t bowl very well. When Mark (Baker) came in (as team manager), we talked about the new rules and made some key additions (former PBA Players of the Year Malott and Jones).

“It’s nothing against the guys we had before,” Barnes continued, “but we went from two really good players to a contending player of the year (Barrett) and two previous players of the year. We like our chances moving forward.”

The final quarterfinal round elimination match will pit actor/comedian Kevin Hart’s Philadelphia Hitmen presented by High 5 Gear, led by team captain Bill O’Neill, against Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro linebacker LaMarr Woodley’s Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits presented by HotelPlanner.com, captained by Finland’s Osku Palermaa, on ESPN on Sunday, March 23, at 1 p.m. ET. The winner of the Hitmen-Jack Rabbits match will bowl the Silver Lake Atom Splitters on ESPN on Sunday, April 6, for right to advance to the Elias Cup finals.