The defending champion New York City WTT KingPins have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2014 Professional Bowlers Association League Elias Cup competition, defeating last season’s runner-up team, the Motown Muscle, 4-2, at Thunderbowl Lanes.
The second of four single-elimination matches in the 2014 PBA League series, pitting the top two teams from the inaugural PBA League season, aired Sunday on ESPN. The KingPins, led by PBA Hall of Famer and Storm staffer Pete Weber and owned by women’s sports legend Billie Jean King, will meet newly-crowned PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte and his L.A. X team, owned by Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul, in a semifinal round match with the winner earning a berth in the Elias Cup finals on Feb. 23 at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J.
“It was a total team effort,” said KingPins manager and Roto Grip staffer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard after a 227-172 victory in the Baker team finale that gave New York City three points and the win. “The guys communicated well, they read the lanes the right way and we never gave up. We got a couple of bad breaks in doubles and trios, but it all came together in the team event.”
“We’re here to win,” Weber said. “(Team bowling) is a little different for me. I love it because I grew up around team bowling. Dad (PBA Hall of Famer Dick Weber) being part of the Budweisers made it easy for me to do, so I love it. I love having four other guys to rely on.”
In the opening singles battle between team captains, Weber staked his team to a 1-0 lead with a 232-225 win over Motown’s and Storm staffer Mike Fagan. Weber jumped ahead with a spare and four strikes, but failed to convert the 7-10 and 3-4-7-10 splits in the next two frames. Fagan took the lead, but Weber rediscovered the strike pocket, throwing another four-bagger for the win.
After a first-frame spare in the alternate-ball doubles match, Motown’s Chris Loschetter, a new Storm staffer and Fagan put together a string of eight strikes to run away from Roto Grip's John Szczerbinski and Weber, 268-214, to even the match at 1-1.
Motown, presented by Barbasol and owned by Detroit native and former Pittsburgh Steelers star Jerome Bettis, then won the Baker-format trios point with a 247-234 victory over the KingPins, presented by GEICO. Motown’s Mike Scroggins, Tom Daugherty and Brian Kretzer finished the game with five consecutive strikes to cancel out a five-strike New York City rally by Scott Norton, Jake Peters and Stuart Williams late in the game.
New York City kept its hopes for an Elias Cup repeat alive by winning the five-player Baker Team finale, worth three points. Motown struggled on the left lane, getting only one strike in the first five frames to fall behind by 14 pins. A 6-7 split by Scroggins in the seventh frame further hampered Motown, and consecutive strikes by New York’s Williams, Peters and Szczerbinski opened up a 47-pin lead as the KingPins ran away with the team win.
The victory also was a personal triumph for Dorin-Ballard over her husband, PBA Hall of Famer Del Ballard Jr., who is Motown’s team manager.
“There was a family bet,” she laughed, “but I don’t want to tell anyone what it was. We’re going to go out and eat and celebrate, but everyone knows we’re pretty competitive.”
Quarterfinal match three, pitting Norm Duke and the Dallas Strikers presented by the United States Bowling Congress against Chris Barnes and the Silver Lake Atom Splitters presented by Spiceworks, will air on Sunday, March 2, at 3 p.m. ET. The final quarterfinal round match, between Bill O’Neill and his Philadelphia Hitmen presented by High 5 Gear vs. Osku Palermaa and the Pittsburgh Jackrabbits, presented by HotelPlanner.com, will air on Sunday, March 23, at 1 p.m. ET.
Next Sunday ESPN will air the finals of the United States Bowling Congress Masters live from Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J., at 2 p.m. ET. Qualifying and three-game double-elimination match play rounds of the Masters will be covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA’s official online bowling channel, Tuesday through Saturday, and live scoring all of action will be available on bowl.com, USBC’s official website.
PROFESSIONAL BOWLERS ASSOCIATION LEAGUE QUARTERFINAL MATCH TWO
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.
New York City WTT KingPins def. Motown Muscle, 4-2.
Singles Match (one point)
Pete Weber, New York City WTT KingPins, def. Mike Fagan, Motown Muscle, 232-225.
Alternate Ball Doubles (one point)
Motown Muscle (Chris Loschetter/Mike Fagan) def. New York City WTT KingPins (John Szczerbinski/Pete Weber), 268-214.
Baker Trios (one point)
Motown Muscle (Bryan Kretzer/Mike Scroggins/Tom Daugherty) def. New York City WTT KingPins (Scott Norton/Jake Peters/Stuart Williams), 247-234
Five-Man Baker Team (three points)
New York City WTT KingPins (Stuart Williams/Jake Peters/John Szczerbinski/Scott Norton/Pete Weber) def. Motown Muscle (Chris Loschetter/Mike Scroggins/Bryan Kretzer/Tom Daugherty/Mike Fagan), 227-172.