Roth Classic title match airs Sunday on ESPN

by Bob Johnson 0

The PBA Tour and PBA League continue on ESPN Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern with the finals of the Mark Roth Classic and another round of PBA League competition from Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich.

The telecast will begin with a Clash Eliminator round, where 11 players will compete in a one-ball, low-man-out competition. Rounds continue until one survivor remains; his team then becomes the No. 4 team in the PBA League stepladder round.

Teams will be represented in the Clash based upon their finishing position in the Roth Classic qualifying round. The Philadelphia Hitmen (the No. 4 qualifier) will have four players in the Clash field, followed by the Silver Lake Atom Splitters with three, Dallas Strikers with two, and L.A. X and the Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits with one each.

The opening Baker team match will feature the team determined in the Clash bowling against Jesse Williams’ Brooklyn Styles (Sean Rash, Ryan Ciminelli, Ryan Shafer, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Jason Sterner).

The winner advances to meet Billie Jean King’s New York City WTT KingPins (Pete Weber, Tommy Jones, Scott Norton, Jack Jurek and John Szczerbinski).

The semifinal winner will challenge qualifying leader Motown Muscle (Mike

Fagan, Tom Smallwood, Mike Scroggins, Ronnie Russell and Jesse Buss), owned by former NFL star Jerome Bettis.

After two rounds of PBA League competition, the NYC WTT Kingpins lead the race to the Elias Cup finals with 24 points, followed by the Brooklyn Styles, 20; Motown

Muscle, 15; Dallas Strikers, 13; Philadelphia Hitmen, 11; Silver Lake Atom

Splitters and L.A. X, 9 each; and Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, 3.

Two more PBA League telecasts remain (on March 3 and 24) before the top four teams for the PBA League Elias Cup finals are determined. The Elias Cup, named in honor of PBA founder Eddie Elias, which will be contested at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis on March 31 and telecast on Sunday, April 7 at 1 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Also this Sunday on ESPN, Scott Norton will take on Michael Haugen Jr. in the Mark Roth Classic championship match.

The event is named after the PBA Hall of Famer who ranks fifth all-time in tour wins with 34. The four-time Player of the Year was ranked the fifth greatest PBA player of all-time as part of the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2009.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.