WSOB IX Champions Crowned in Reno

by Gianmarc Manzione 0

SPOILER ALERT: Please read further only if you wish to know the results of the four ‘animal pattern’ TV shows from WSOB IX in Reno. If you do not wish to know these results before each event’s TV show airs in December, please close out of this story now. We’ll be updating this page as the shows proceed throughout the afternoon and evening today. 

The TV finals of the our ‘animal pattern’ events at this year’s World Series of Bowling aired live on ESPN3 this afternoon starting with the Chameleon Championship at 3, followed by the Shark Championship at 5:30, the  Cheetah Championship at 7:15 and the Scorpion Championship at 9 p.m. Each show featured all four finalists bowling the opening game simultaneously, with the two highest scorers advancing to face off for the title.

PBA CHAMELEON CHAMPIONSHIP

The Chameleon show featured a high-scoring first match in which only nine of 46 shots throwing by the time all four finalists filled in their 9th frames were not strikes. Liz Johnson benefited from a very late 10-pin that was kissed over gently by the 6-pin for a huge strike on her first ball of her 10th to ensure a date with destiny in the title match against Anthony Pepe, who shot 255 while Johnson, seeking to join Kelly Kulick as the only women to win a PBA Tour title, was the high score with 257. Tom Smallwood shot 236 and Wes Malott, who was doomed by a ringing 10-pin in his 8th frame, shot 248.

Pepe suffered out of the gate in the title match with a whiffed 7-pin on a spare attempt in his 2nd after having barely converted the 4-7 spare in his opening frame when he grazed the 4, which leaned out of the gutter to keel over the 7. Johnson, meanwhile, opened with a turkey and never looked back, defeating Pepe, 220-206, to become the first woman to win a PBA Tour title since 2010 and only the second in history to achieve the feat. Johnson had tears in her eyes sitting down as she realized that she had won the match before even shooting her 10th frame.

PBA SHARK CHAMPIONSHIP

The Shark Championship’s four-bowler opening match saw Marshall Kent and Tom Daugherty tangling with newcomers Charlie Brown Jr. and Richie Teece, both making their TV debuts. A devastating pocket 7-10 split in his 8th frame put Kent out of contention after he had recovered from a difficult start with a ball change, while Tom Daugherty tried to put some pressure on the newbies when he punched out in his 10th frame to complete a late five-bagger. It was not enough, as the experienced PBA champions Kent and Daugherty both fell short while Teece and Brown Jr. advanced to ensure one of them would win the first PBA Tour title of his life. Brown Jr. led the way with a 227, Teece shot 209, and their TV-tested fellow competitors each finished short of 200, with Daugherty shooting 197 and Kent 193.

Both Brown Jr. and Teece saw their bowling balls begin to check up early on them as Teece left the big four for an open frame in his 3rd while Brown Jr. went through the nose in his first frame and left the 4-9 split, also opening his frame. Brown Jr. recovered with a double, but then left and converted the 3-6-10 on the left lane, where Teece had left the big four the prior frame. But Brown Jr. threw it out the window in his 5th, and the grind-out was on after he converted the 1-2. Brown Jr. suffered the same fate on the same lane two frames later, leaving and failing to convert the washout after Teece enjoyed a light-hit shaker strike on the left lane. Brown Jr. then left and converted the 1-2-8-10 in his foundation frame as Teece wrapped up his first career PBA Tour title with a strike on his first ball in the 10th, defeating Brown Jr. 193-176.

PBA CHEETAH CHAMPIONSHIP

An all-international roster rounded out the top four in the PBA Cheetah Championship as two-handed sensations Jason Belmonte of Australia and Jesper Svensson of Sweden—the show’s only lefty—lent a healthy dose of revs to a show that also included Denmark’s Thomas Larsen and Belmonte’s fellow Aussie Sam Cooley. Belmonte had gotten out of the gate with a turkey but then left the 6-10 and whiffed the 6 on the conversion attempt in his 4th. Things got uglier for the Aussies when Cooley then whiffed a 2-pin spare in his 5th. Svensson, throwing his Storm Pitch Black urethane ball as always, trucked a strike in his 6th for a double and proceeded to make his way to the title match with an eight-bagger and a 259 score. Larsen threw plenty of strikes of his own with a 256 game as Belmonte and Cooley bowed out with respective games of 222 and 236.

Svensson never let Larsen up for air throughout the title match, crushing his way through the first nine frames of the match in which he struck on every ball except in the 4th frame, when he left a 7-pin and missed it. His foundation frame strike sealed the win as Larsen wrapped up a 194 in a losing effort to Svensson’s 246. It is the 22-year-old’s seventh PBA Tour title. The typically steel-composured Svensson was unusually emotional in winning, kissing his hand and then looking up and pointing toward the roof when he sealed the win in a gesture Randy Pedersen reported was a tribute to a friend Svensson recently had lost back home. In the post-game interview with Kimberly Pressler, Svensson said his friend had passed away “a week ago” and that “this one was for him.”

PBA SCORPION CHAMPIONSHIP

Jason Belmonte, battling a bout of food poisoning that had dogged him on the Cheetah Championship show, made his second TV finals appearance in the WSOB’s four ‘animal pattern’ shows when he contended with E.J. Tackett, Brandon Novak and Shawn Maldonado in the four-bowler opener. Throwing urethane equipment, Belmonte punched his way into the title match with a clutch double in his 10th for a 269, while Tackett extended an eight-bagger through his 10th for a 258 as the two most recent PBA Players of the Year guaranteed a face-off for a PBA title. Novak finished with 242 while Maldonado shot 225 in the high-scoring semifinal.

Seeming drained of energy and falling off of a number of his shots at the foul line, an ailing Belmonte, who seemed to be battling flu-like symptoms, nonetheless opened the title match with a turkey. Tackett saw twin messengers topple both the 7 and the 10 on a pocket shot in his 5th for a four-bagger, then made it a five-bagger with a high-flush strike in his 6th. Belmonte slowed down by then, leaving and converting the bucket in his 6th after two consecutive spares in his 4th and 5th. Belmonte then struck before Tackett opened his 7th with a 2-10 split he failed to convert, then left a pocket 10-pin in his 9th that tightened the match even further.

Belmonte then virtually handed Tackett the title when his 8th-frame shot checked up high and he left the 4-9 split, turning back toward the ball return seeming to clutch his back and grimacing. He failed to convert the split. Tackett lunged at the opportunity to close the deal, posting a strike in his foundation frame and enjoying a light shaker strike on the first ball of his 10th frame for his ninth career PBA title at age 25, winning 245-207.