With a sold-out crowd cheering loudly throughout the competition, the Concrete Software BROOKLYN STyLES and Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters each won a one-ball sudden-death roll-off at Bayside Bowl to advance to the semifinal round of the PBA League Elias Cup playoffs.
The opening round of PBA League competition aired Sunday on ESPN.
Bowling in the state of Maine for the first time in PBA history, and in a 12-lane bowling center converted into a two-lane arena for the PBA League team competition, a raucous, fun-loving crowd of bowling fans cheered non-stop throughout two best-of-two-game team matches, both of which were decided by one pin in one-ball roll-offs.
In the first match, the 2013 Elias Cup champion GEICO New York City WTT KingPins, anchored by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber, struggled to a 182-171 victory over the STyLES in a game marred by four missed single-pin spare conversion attempts between the two teams.
“That was a display of spare shooting like you’ve never seen before,” STyLES anchor bowler Parker Bohn III said sarcastically. But the STyLES found the pocket in game two, putting together strings of three strikes three times to win, 247-148, and send the match into sudden-death where Bohn’s strike beat Weber’s nine-count.
“That shot was for the entire team,” Bohn said of his winning strike. “My teammates put their trust in me and I was able to come through.”
“I thought that shot would be flush in the pocket,” Weber said of the 7 pin he left in the roll-off, “but it just kept going.”
In the second match, the Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters couldn’t put two strikes back-to-back, but they bowled an otherwise flawless game to win the first game, 192-179. The key to the win was Mika Koivuniemi’s rare 2-8-10 split conversion which energized his team, and proved especially important when the High 5 Gear Philadelphia Hitmen caught fire, running away to a 265-205 win in game two to force the roll-off.
The defending Elias Cup champion Atom Splitters moved on to the semifinal round when Hitmen anchor Rhino Page left the 4-7 on his first shot, and Atom Splitters’ anchor Dick Allen left only a 10 pin for the 9-8 win.
“I make the 2-8-10 a few times a year,” Koivuniemi said of his pivotal shot, “but I’ve never made it on TV. I was trying to make it by throwing the 2 pin into the 10 and hoping it would bounce across. That’s what happened, but it’s always lucky to make it. It kind of took (the Hitmen’s) hopes away.”
The atmosphere in Maine was unique, with fans cheered loudly and music blaring in the background throughout the competition, and the players loved the high level of enthusiasm.
“It was electrifying to the max,” Bohn said. “We used to bowl in an arena in Erie, Pennsylvania with 4,000 noisy fans, but that was nothing compared to this. I think the people in Erie could hear the fans in Maine.”
“It was really fun,” Weber added. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Never.”
The third and fourth quarterfinal matches in the PBA League series will air next Sunday on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. ET when the HotelPlanner.com Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, led by former PBA Player of the Year Wes Malott, meet the Shipyard Brewery Dallas Strikers, led by player-manager and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke. The fourth quarterfinal match is between Detroit’s Barbasol Motown Muscle, led by 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year EJ Tackett, vs. Wheaties L.A. X, led by two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte.
The four quarterfinal round winners will advance to the semifinal round on ESPN on Sunday, April 12, at 2 p.m. ET. The semifinal round winners will bowl for the Elias Cup in a single, doubles, trios and Baker team finale on Sunday, April 19, at 1 p.m. ET.
PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP PLAYOFFS
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, March 28
Quarterfinal Match One (best-of-two-game Baker team format)
Game One: GEICO New York City WTT KingPins (Amleto Monacelli, DJ Archer, Scott Norton, Mike Fagan, Pete Weber) def. Concrete Software BROOKLYN STyLES (Walter Ray Williams Jr., Jason Sterner, Tom Smallwood, Sean Rash, Parker Bohn III), 182-171.
Game Two: STyLES def. KingPins, 247-148.
One-Ball Sudden-Death Roll-Off: STyLES (Parker Bohn III) def. KingPins (Pete Weber), 10-9.
Quarterfinal Match Two (best-of-two-game Baker team format)
Game One: Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Barnes, Craig Nidiffer, Tom Daugherty, Dick Allen) def. High 5 Gear Philadelphia Hitmen (Ryan Shafer, Chris Loschetter, Dave Wodka, Dom Barrett, Rhino Page), 192-179.
Game Two: Hitmen def. Atom Splitters, 265-205.
One-Ball Sudden-Death Roll-Off: Atom Splitters (Dick Allen) def. Hitmen (Rhino Page), 9-8.