The two-time defending Professional Bowlers Association League champion Silver Lake Atom Splitters will make their bid for an Elias Cup “three-peat” in 2016 with a roster led by Chris Barnes, Dick Allen and Tom Daugherty, and completed this morning when manager Mark Baker added PBA Rookie of the Year contender Matt McNiel and young Swedish two-handed star Jesper Svensson to complete his lineup.
PBA League rosters were filled during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII presented by Silver Legacy, when each of the eight team managers selected two players in a serpentine draft in the reverse order of how they finished in 2015. Earlier in the fall, each manager had protected three players from their 2015 rosters.
The first highlight of the draft was the selection of two women who have had success in PBA competition in addition to the newly-revived Professional Women’s Bowling Association. PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson, the winner of the 2015 USBC Queens and Bowlmor AMF U.S. Women’s Open, and the only woman ever to advance to two PBA television finals, was selected in the final round of the draft by Portland Lumberjacks manager Tim Mack. With the next-to-last pick in the draft, Barbasol Motown Muscle manager Del Ballard Jr. added PWBA Tour Championship and recent PBA Regional titlist Danielle McEwan to his roster.
Just before the final pick of the draft, Dallas Strikers’ player-manager Norm Duke pulled off a trade with Portland, sending red-hot left-hander Ryan Ciminelli and Johnson to Portland in exchange for two-hander Shawn Maldonado and B.J. Moore III.
The first player off the draft board, which consisted of more than 60 PBA members who had expressed their desire to be part of the 2016 draft, was 2014 PBA Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent, selected by GEICO New York City WTT KingPins manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard.
Motown then selected 18-year-old two-handed player Anthony Simonsen. Third was the Dallas Strikers, who picked Ciminelli. Picking fourth, Philadelphia Hitmen manager Jason Couch selected veteran Tom Smallwood. The newly-named Portland Lumberjacks selected Maldonado. Brooklyn Styles manager Johnny Petraglia, represented at the draft by PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III, picked veteran Jason Sterner. Last year’s runnerup, L.A. X, under manager Andrew Cain, added veteran left-hander Patrick Allen. Silver Lake completed the round by picking rookie Matt McNiel.
The final round of picks prior to the last-minute trade included Swedish two-hander Jesper Svensson (Silver Lake), Colombia’s Andres Gomez (L.A. X), Jon VanHees (Brooklyn), Moore (Portland), Dave Wodka (Philadelphia), Johnson (Dallas), and McEwan (Motown). Following the trade, the KingPins, with the final pick, selected John Szczerbinski.
The draft was covered live on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.
Johnson and McEwan became the second and third women selected for PBA League competition. Kelly Kulick was picked for the inaugural 2013 PBAL season by Los Angeles and subsequently traded to New York City.
The PBA League will return to Portland, Maine, for two days of competition on April 2-3, for delayed telecast over a span of four consecutive Sundays, April 17-May 8, on ESPN. All four PBA League shows will air at 1 p.m. Eastern.
2016 PBA LEAGUE ROSTERS
● GEICO New York City WTT Kingpins (Carolyn Dorin-Ballard): Pete Weber, Scott Norton, Mike Fagan, Marshall Kent, John Szczerbinski.
● Barbasol Motown Muscle (Del Ballard Jr.): E.J. Tackett, Ronnie Russell, Josh Blanchard, Anthony Simonsen, Danielle McEwan.
● Dallas Strikers (player-manager Norm Duke): Bill O’Neill, Tommy Jones, Duke, Shawn Maldonado, B.J. Moore (Maldonado and Moore acquired in trade with Portland).
● Philadelphia Hitmen (Jason Couch): Dom Barrett, Chris Loschetter, Rhino Page, Tom Smallwood, Dave Wodka.
● Portland Lumberjacks (manager Tim Mack): Bryon Smith, Wes Malott, Osku Palermaa, Ryan Ciminelli, Liz Johnson (Ciminelli and Johnson acquired in trade with Dallas).
● Brooklyn Styles (Johnny Petraglia): Sean Rash, Parker Bohn III, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Jason Sterner, Jon VanHees.
● L.A. X (Andrew Cain): Jason Belmonte, Stu Williams, Martin Larsen, Patrick Allen, Andres Gomez.
● Silver Lake Atom Splitters (manager Mark Baker): Chris Barnes, Dick Allen, Tom Daugherty, Matt McNiel, Jesper Svensson.
After Baker selected Svensson, he told the Swede, “No need to speak English — just strike.”
In addition to the PBA League competition at Bayside Bowl, the week-long PBA Maine Event will include the PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout, a PBA Tour title event, April 4-6, along with pro-am events and other activities to be announced. The Maine Shootout will be covered from start to finish on Xtra Frame.