Saturday, March 20, 2010

The PBA's Cinderella Tournament?

Upsets are no surprise when “March Madness” sweeps the nation, but the NCAA
basketball realm has never seen anything like
the parade of upsets that hit the
Professional Bowlers Association (PBA)’s
Go RVing Match Play Championship
Thursday and Friday at Norwich Bowling and Entertainment
Center in Connecticut.

Patterned after the NCAA basketball brackets, the Go
RVing Match Play
Championship seeded 64 of the
world’s top bowlers into a single-elimination
match play
competition, and after two days of best-of-seven-game
not a single player seeded among the top
20 was still alive in the competition.

After Friday night’s Round of 8, No. 21 seed Patrick Allen
of Wesley Chapel,
FL; No. 27 Brian Kretzer of Dayton,
OH; No. 50 Doug Kent of Newark, NY,
and No. 57 Ryan Ciminelli of
Cheektowaga, NY, were still in the chase for the
$25,000 top prize, which will be
decided in a three-game, total pinfall match
televised on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m.

The two finalists will be decided tonight in three-game matches pitting Allen
against Ciminelli in a battle of left-handers, and Kent against Kretzer in
a duel of
right-handers. Allen, 39, is a 13-time PBA Tour titlist. Kent, 43, has
won 10
titles. Kretzer, 43, and Ciminelli, 24, have yet to win a PBA title.

Ciminelli, who advanced out of the Tour Qualifying Round (TQR) to make it into
tournament as the No. 57 seed, eliminated No. 17 Jason Couch of Clermont,
FL –
the highest remaining seed - in Friday’s Round of 8, 4-2.

Earlier in the day, No. 2 seed Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa., was the last top 10
seed to survive, but his bid for a third title this season ended in a 4-1
loss to
Kent in the Round of 16. O’Neill’s 239-237 win in the third of their
five games was
the one of only two games Kent lost in the first four rounds of
competition in the
dual lane condition contest (the left lane on each pair of
lanes was conditioned
with the PBA Shark pattern and the right lane used the
Cheetah pattern).

“I’m 16-2 and I can’t explain it, but at this point, it doesn’t mean a thing,”
said Kent, who has bowled part-time during the 2009-10 season. “Win or lose, I’m
still going to retire at the end of the season. I want to win; there’s nothing
better than winning, but I’ve worked hard for 20 years to get to the point where
I can retire.

“I haven’t felt any pressure the past couple of years,” Kent continued. “I’ve been
bowling well, but I don’t have the revolution rate these young kids have.
power players are dominating today and I can’t strike with them. My 200s
keep up with their 240s.”

The Round of 32 Friday morning claimed three top 10 seeds. No. 37 Nathan Bohr
Wichita, KS, toppled No. 5 Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, TX, 4-2; Kretzer
eliminated No. 6 Jason Belmonte of Australia, 4-2, and No. 39 Stuart Williams of

England bounced No. 7 Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, SC, 4-1.

“I’ve been bowling good for a month,” said Kretzer, who finished second in the
Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator two weeks ago in Columbus, Ohio. “I had been
working on things that weren’t working, so I went home and looked at tapes of
what I was going when I was bowling well as an amateur, and went back to what
was doing then.”

Allen, who has been bothered by a knee injury all season, said he advanced
“because I had a couple of gifts given to me. There were a couple of situations
where my opponents didn’t perform when they needed to, and in this format,
that’s huge. I kept battling and found ways to win.”

Ciminelli, a streaky player who is trying for his fourth TV appearance of the
season, admitted he has been able to capitalize on situations that favor his

“When there’s nothing on the left side of the lane, these guys will eat your lunch,”
he said. “I’m not good enough to compete with them, so I have to jump on

situations when I get a favorable look. I’m working hard at trying to slow down so
I can get my ball to react on the Shark pattern. So far this week I’ve been
able to
do that, so I must be progressing.”

Norwich Bowling and Entertainment Center, Norwich, Conn., Friday, March 19

ROUND OF 8 (best of 7 games, losers eliminated, each earned $4,600; winners
advance to Saturday’s three-game total pinfall semifinal round)
#21 Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. #20 Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 4-2.
#57 Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., def. #17 Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 4-1.
#50 Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., def. #39 Stuart Williams, England, 4-1.
#27 Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, def. #30 Steve Harman, Indianapolis, 4-2.

ROUND OF 16 (best of 7 games, losers eliminated, each earned $3,300)
#57 Ciminelli def. #56 Tom Baker, King, N.C., 4-2.
#21 P. Allen def. #37 Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 4-0.
#20 Loschetter def. #36 Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 4-1.
#27 Kretzer def. #54 Cassidy Schaub, Ashland, Ohio, 4-3.
#30 Harman def. #46 Todd Book, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 4-3.
#17 Couch def. #32 Brian Voss, Alpharetta, Ga., 4-0.
#50 Kent def. #2 Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 4-1.
#39 S. Williams def. #42 PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 4-2.

ROUND OF 32 (best of 7 games; losers eliminated, each earned $2,500)
#32 Voss def. #64 Justin Warhol, Sound Beach, N.Y, 4-2.
#17 Couch def. #16 Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 4-3.
#56 Baker def. #24 Stevie Weber, Chalmette, La., 4-2.
#57 Ciminelli def. #40 Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 4-3.
#37 Bohr def. #5 Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 4-2.
#21 P. Allen def. #12 Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan., 4-3.
#20 Loschetter def. #13 Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 4-2.
#36 R. Allen def. #61 Alex Aguiar, Dartmouth, Mass., 4-2.
#2 O'Neill def. #34 Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 4-2.
#50 Kent def. #18 Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 4-0.
#42 Haggerty def. #55 Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 4-0.
#39 S. Williams def. #7 Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 4-1.
#27 Kretzer def. #6 Jason Belmonte, Australia, 4-2.
#54 Schaub def. #22 Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 4-2.
#46 Book def. #51 George Lambert IV, Canada, 4-2.
#30 Harman def. #62 Ryan Abel, Bel Aire, Kan., 4-2.
300 games: Mike Scroggins.

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