by bvint | Sunday, April 24, 2:59 PM
CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. – EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., broke up a 7-9 split, converting the break into a string of three strikes that proved to be the difference in winning his second career PBA Tour title Sunday in the PBA Xtra Frame Storm Open at Liberty Lanes.
Tackett, the 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year, defeated top qualifier Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., 217-210, to win the $10,000 first prize after eliminating PBA Regional veteran Steven Taylor of Deer Creek, Ill., in the semifinal match.
“They say winning your second title is the toughest,” said Tackett, who won his first PBA Tour title in the 2015 PBA Xtra Frame Lubbock Sports Open. “But I’ve been close and I’ve been bowling well. Maybe this will lead to something more."
“I really didn’t think I could bowl enough to beat Ryan; I thought it would take 250 to win,” Tackett said. “I got fortunate that he didn’t bowl a good game because that’s really uncharacteristic of how he’s been bowling.”
Ciminelli’s closing string of four strikes forced Tackett to mark in the 10th frame on the lane that was giving him difficulty.
“I liked the first shot,” he said, despite leaving a 4 pin. “I guess, being in the situation, I probably threw it a little hard, but the result was good. I was a little nervous on that (4 pin) spare, just because I’d missed one in match play earlier – against Ryan, actually.”
Taylor’s “Cinderella” bid for his first PBA Tour title, in only his second PBA Tour event after bowling in 103 regionals, came to an end with a 205-200 loss to Tackett in the semifinal match. Tackett threw one double and converted six single-pin spares, but Taylor threw one too many splits.
Taylor, an 11-year PBA Midwest Region competitor with three regional titles, rallied from an early 29-pin deficit with a string of six strikes to eliminate Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 237-209, in the first stepladder match. The 40-year-old right-hander then watched 14-time PBA Tour titlist Patrick Allen of Mount Kisco, N.Y., start with five strikes, rolling into an early 33-pin lead, before throwing eight strikes in his last nine attempts for a 246-212 victory. Allen left a pocket 7-10 in the seventh frame and then saw his titles hopes disappear when he left and failed to convert the 3-7-9 split in the ninth frame.
The PBA Xtra Frame Storm Open is the second of 10 Xtra Frame events that will pay the PBA member with the highest points total at the conclusion of the series a $10,000 bonus. Tackett said his plan is to bowl the entire Xtra Frame series."