Sunday, July 11, 2010

Storm Products Wins Manufacturer's Cup

Storm Products climbed the ladder from bottom rung to top, capturing the
inaugural Manufacturers’ Cup in the Professional Bowlers Association’s GEICO 
Team Shootout hosted by Six Flags with a dramatic 167-159 Baker team upset
of Brunswick in the title match.

The final two round-robin team matches and the Manufacturers’ Cup stepladder 
finals aired Sunday on ESPN.

The fourth annual summer special event featured Baker format team bowling where 
each member of a five-player team bowls two frames to complete a full game. In 
the GEICO Team Shootout, an “endless 10th frame” bonus feature allowed a team to 
extend its 10th frame as long as it could continue to throw strikes. The entire 
series was conducted outdoors on specially-constructed lanes on the grounds of 
Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.

Coming into the final qualifying round of the event, Brunswick had already 
locked up the top position for the four-team stepladder final and lost its final 
round-robin match to 900 Global, 200-194, on the PBA’s Chameleon lane 
conditioning pattern. Ebonite International sent Storm Products to the lowest 
rung for the stepladder finals, winning a 205-204 nail-biter on the Cheetah 
pattern, to give Storm a 2-4 won-lost record. Brunswick finished the round-robin 
portion of the event with a 4-2 record. Ebonite and 900 Global each had 3-3 
records, but Ebonite International earned the No. 2 qualifying position based 
upon higher actual pinfall during the qualifying rounds.

Fresh off its one-pin loss to Ebonite, Storm took out its frustration on 900 
Global in the opening stepladder match, 242-200. As the higher qualifier, 900 
Global selected the Cheetah pattern – which it had used successfully earlier in 
the event – but that decision ultimately played right into Storm’s hands as 
Rhino Page, anchor Norm Duke, Wes Malott, Jason Belmonte and Pete Weber ran off 
a string of nine consecutive strikes starting in the fourth frame to post the 
tournament’s highest score.

“It was a weird event,” Duke said. “In all of our earlier matches, it seemed 
like we were bowling well enough, but we couldn’t win. We lost three times by 
one pin. There are so many ways you could find that one pin, and it kinda starts 
working on your confidence. But Global picked the Cheetah and we got it going.”

In the semifinal round, Storm avenged its earlier loss to Ebonite International, 
228-215, again on the Cheetah pattern. Despite a pair of open frames and a scare 
at the end, Storm put together a pair of four-baggers to charge into the lead. 
Ebonite had a chance to win after a Chris Barnes strike in the ninth and three 
more by Tommy Jones in the 10th created an “endless 10th frame” opportunity. 
Mike Fagan struck on the first “endless” attempt, but Bill O’Neill left a 10 pin 
on the second shot which ended Ebonite’s comeback bid.

“Ebonite picked the pattern we had just bowled on and shot the biggest game of 
the event,” Duke said. “We didn’t understand why, but it was good for us. God 
forbid they had picked the Viper…”

For the championship, Brunswick selected the Chameleon pattern to slow down 
Storm’s dominance on the Cheetah, but the defensive strategy resulted in an ugly 
finale. Strikes by Brad Angelo and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard in the first two frames 
gave Brunswick an early lead, but four open frames in the next seven erased the 
team’s advantage. In the meantime, Storm also was struggling, posting only two 
strikes the entire game, but it also had only one open frame heading into the 

“We did well on the Chameleon earlier and when we did that, we figured we’d pick 
Chameleon for the title match because we wanted tough pattern and we’d be the 
only ones who had bowled on it,” Brunswick’s Johnny Petraglia said. “We just 
didn’t get the job done.”

“Outside in that environment, the Chameleon condition changed the most 
dramatically,” Storm anchor Norm Duke said. “It’s the thinnest application of 
oil. It was ugly. Everyone was afraid to make a shot because you had no idea how 
much conditions had changed. You couldn’t guesstimate what to do.”

In the 10th frame, Storm’s Norm Duke left the 2-4-5-8 “bucket” and failed to 

“The guys had me anchor because I can throw the ball straighter than anyone 
else,” Duke said. “I just wanted to get the ball to the pocket, but I over 
adjusted. I wanted a strike so bad, but I also figured I could make any spare on 
the left side if I missed. Then I leave the bucket and miss it. I honestly 
thought they were going to strike out to win, and they almost did.”

Brunswick anchor Sean Rash spared and struck, giving his team an “endless 10th 
frame” chance to rally. Angelo struck on the next shot, but Dorin-Ballard left 
the 3 pin on the next shot, ending Brunswick’s hopes.

“We got an early lead, but I left a washout and missed,” Petraglia said. “And it 
still came down to needing one final strike to win the whole thing. The pressure 
of Carolyn being the only woman, of feeling like you were bowling on a razor 
blade…there were so many different kinds of pressure on her. But we told her, it 
was win as a team, lose as a team.

“All of us were throwing that last ball with her,” Petraglia continued. “If we’d 
gotten one other good shot, we wouldn’t have needed it. Duke let us back into 
the match when he left the bucket and missed, which shows how tough that 
condition was. And we still came within one shot of winning it.”

“I’d have been happy having Carolyn make that shot,” Duke said. “She made a 
great shot. She just didn’t move far enough.”

The competition between rival manufacturers conducted outdoors at one of the 
Atlantic Coast region’s most popular family theme parks drew raves from the 
players, regardless of who won.

“It was fantastic, a really great event,” Petraglia beamed. “There was just 
enough in-your-face competition between teams, but nobody got mad at anyone. It 
was a terrific atmosphere, and it was great fun to bowl in a team concept 

Storm Products players shared an $80,000 first prize and a crystal 
Manufacturers’ Cup for their sponsoring company.

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