Bowling News USA - May 9, 2012 The Schlemer Report – 2012 USBC Queens
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Just when you thought The Schlemer Report had been laid to rest, it resurfaces yet again. This time for the 2012 USBC Queens, presented by Storm that was recently held in Euless, Texas. Now even though the new Tour Rep Del Ballard was there to work, I was asked to go help and assist like I did the back half of the PBA tour. Since I have been the rep for so long and Del had yet to meet a good portion of the ladies staff, it only made sense for me to go help where I could. And to be quite honest as the PBA Tour season showed, Del and I make a good duo. That was evident yet again at the Queens.
You see, Del bowls league there at AMF Showplace where qualifying was contested and I remembered some information as well about the center. It was the site of the 2011 Women’s U.S Open. Between the two of us we had a good idea as to which balls would match up best and what direction to pass along to the ladies we were helping. Even with a medium heavy 41’ pattern, there was still plenty of friction on the lane surface which meant that super strong balls or balls with storn layouts weren’t likely to work. Our main ball choices ranged from the Marvel Pearl to the Frantic on the Storm side and the Critical Theory to the Rising Star on the Roto Grip side. Now that didn’t mean we didn’t use the Vivid or Defiant here and there, which we did later in the week once the lanes were eventually wiped of their house memory so that that actual tournament pattern became more prominent.
From day one it was evident that it was anyone’s tournament to win. The straight players had a look and so did the girls that could hook it. The equalizer was the lanes themselves. Pair to pair and even lane to lane, was completely confusing. Even Del and I struggled with helping some girls find reaction on some lanes. Whether it was certain parts of the building or the temperature in some parts of the building, we found ourselves looking for options such as balls and moves that more often than not didn’t make sense. One lane could be hooking 5 more than the other and then the next pair the lanes was reversed or both lanes hooked more than the last hooking lane. Let’s just say we were on our toes all week helping our staffers that is for sure.
For Carolyn Dorin Ballard, the week was especially challenging as she just had to make a finger pitch change in order to accommodate some finger joint fatigue. That being said, she did as only one of the greatest female bowlers of all time could do, fought every shot and used her strong determination to grind her way through each day. Her arsenal for the week consisted of a couple different Rising Stars, Critical Theory, Marvel Pearl, Frantic and the Crossroad she ended up using on the telecast. While straighter is her “A” game, she really didn’t play that straight all week. The straightest she played at the center was 12 to 8. More often than not she played more 15 to 10 and occasionally deeper on lanes that required it. Again with all the friction in the lane surface she used little to no surface on her equipment. Occasionally Del or I would use a beat up 2000 abralon pad just to get a little oil build up off the cover.
Eventual champion Diandra Asbaty's plan of attack was to stand left and throw it right almost the entire event. The built in friction on the lane surface it made it easy for her to stay left of almost the entire field and use balls that blended the lanes out for her. The entire week she used hybrid coverstocks which really worked well for her. She used the Rising Star as well as the Nomad Dagger and Infinite Theory. All of these balls cleared the front with ease and gave her different smooth angles down lane. The only time she ran into trouble was late in the Winner’s bracket against Stephanie Nation. No matter which ball or what move she made, her ball read the left lane early and the right lane wouldn’t carry. It was an unfortunate draw for sure. But all was fine when it came to the final shootout round against Missy Parkin, Liz Johnson and Josie Earnest. A few matches earlier in the day, Diandra bowled on that same pair of lanes and had a good reaction. Lucky for her her, three opponents all throw it straight so she didn’t have to worry about any traffic or transition from her inside angle. She coasted easily through that match playing 10 boards left of all the others.
Speaking of left of all the others, the same philosophy carried over to the TV finals at the ITRC, USBC Headquarters. It was evident early on in the morning practice on the day of the show that Diandra was the one to beat. Again with her tilt, roll and release she could steer clear of all the traffic and not have to worry about the transitions that would occur near the track. The balls she used at the center all week were close, but I felt a Marvel Pearl would be a good compliment to her arsenal. Good guess on my part! That ball definitely was money come show time. The only thing that we had to worry about which did happen was the carry down on the tighter lane surface at the ITRC. Carry down was not a factor all week at the bowl, but with the newer lane surface it was definitely in play during the show. That is why after a couple flat 10’s on the right lane and a couple parallel moves right we decided we needed to get into a different ball that would allow Diandra to move back left and get away from the traffic. That is why even after the 270 game, we decided to go from the pin up, no hole Marvel Pearl to the pin down, mass bias out, extra hole down Critical Theory. This alowed Diandra to move back left and free up her swing. It turned out that was the right call, even with the finger grip and finger slug coming out just before the commercial break in the title match. For the record, that was not the reason she split out of the commercial break, it was the a typical relaxed shot that hooked a little too much. Anyone that has been in that situation coming out of a commercial on television will tell you that is undoubtedly one of the toughest shots to make due to all the thoughts and emotions. Your body relaxes a pinch and even if you make a move on the lane with your eyes or feet, sometimes it still isn’t enough to allow for the slower ball speed. Some players make a conscious effort to throw it harder out of commercial to make sure they don’t fall subject to the slow, relaxed shot. All I can say is. that in all the years of coaching professionals in that situation the key to it is committing more to that shot than all the others. No matter how many times you experience it, it is still difficult every time.
As far as who was to win that title, well between Diandra and CDB there were some unbelievable shots thrown in the 9th and 10th. The match could have just as easily gone the other way. I mean if CDB doesn’t ring 10 in the 9th, she potentially shuts Diandra out or makes her throw all three strikes in the tenth. All I can say, is that it was an awesome finish to an awesome week!
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