GREEN BAY, Wis. - Sam Maccarone of Blackwood, N.J., has faced a variety of health issues in the last year, but his desire to compete has remained strong, and he was able to take the title Wednesday at the 2015 International Training and Research Center Super Senior Classic.
The 60-year-old right-hander started the championship match against United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer, Tom Baker of King, N.C., with six consecutive strikes, and the victory never was in doubt as he cruised to a 248-182 win at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley.
Maccarone earned $4,000 for the victory, while Baker pocketed $3,000 as the runner-up. The total prize fund at the 2015 ITRC Super Senior Classic was more than $26,000.
"When your opponent isn't striking, and you've got the front six, it definitely allows you to be a little bit looser," said Maccarone, a two-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion and one-time PBA50 winner. "But, with a competitor like Tom, you don't want to let up until it's definitely over."
Baker averaged more than 220 to pace the field at the Super Senior Classic through 16 games of qualifying and a four-game cashers' round, but the top seed was not able to double in the championship match.
The win came at the perfect time for Maccarone, who had open-heart surgery in October and found himself in the hospital again in February with inflammation around the lining of his heart.
He has bowled in as many events as he could since late March. After his 60th birthday last month, he decided to commit to the USBC Senior Masters and Super Senior Classic in Green Bay as well as the upcoming stops on the PBA50 Tour.
"I am at a point in my life where I feel like bowling makes me happy, and as long as I'm physically able to do that, I'm going to bowl when I can," Maccarone said. "Winning definitely gets the blood flowing. You come out and feel like you're competitive, and then to win, is a feeling that's hard to describe. It gives me a lot of confidence, and it's nice to win again after everything."
Maccarone's heart was tested in his opening match against Mike Lucente of Warren, Mich., as neither player was able to strike in the first six frames.
Maccarone struck out in the 10th frame, including a Brooklyn strike on his second shot, to force Lucente to strike on his first shot for the win. A spare and a strike would've resulted in a tie. Lucente spared, but left a 10 pin on his fill ball, giving Maccarone a 179-178 victory.
In the victory, Maccarone struggled to find a consistent reaction on the left lane, but that was not an issue as he struck on seven of his first eight shots in a 243-151 semifinal win over No. 2 seed Willie Wells of Brandon, Fla.
In the day's opening match, Lucente started with seven consecutive strikes on the way to a 244-190 victory against Kerry Painter of Henderson, Nevada. Painter won the inaugural Super Senior Classic in 2013 and finished second in 2014.
All 73 competitors this week bowled 16 games of qualifying over two days before the field was narrowed to the top 18 for the four-game cashers' round. All rounds of the Super Senior Classic were broadcast live on BowlTV.
The Super Senior Classic, the premier event for USBC members age 60 and older, is the second of three events being held in Green Bay this summer.
The action kicked off last week with the USBC Senior Masters, where USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli of Aventura, Florida, claimed the title and $16,000 top prize with an exciting win over fellow hall of famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo.
The Super Senior Classic will be followed by the USBC Senior Championships, which will feature bowlers from across the United States and Canada.
Visit BOWL.com for more information on the senior tournaments.
2015 ITRC SUPER SENIOR CLASSIC
At The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Cashers' round standings
(20 games; top five advance to stepladder)
1, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 4,403
2, Willie Wells, Brandon, Fla., 4,361
3, Sam Maccarone, Blackwood, N.J., 4,289
4, Kerry Painter, Henderson, Nev., 4,258
5, Michael Lucente, Warren, Mich., 4,206
Did not advance:
6, Pete McCordic, Katy, Texas, 4,127 ($1,600)
7, Lee Brosius, Ashburn, Va., 4,087 ($1,400)
8, Marc Lineberry, Camanche, Iowa, 4,057 ($1,200)
9, Paul McCordic, Sugar Land, Texas, 4,035 ($1,100)
10, Kerry Fulford, Fort Worth, Texas, 4,030 ($1,000)
11, Richard Hunt, Valparaiso, Ind., 4,013 ($950)
12, Bill McCorkle, Westerville, Ohio, 3,986 ($900)
13, Michael Henry, Brunswick, Ohio, 3,975 ($850)
14, Ed Silva, Manteca, Calif., 3,974 ($800)
15, Edward Roberts, Braintree, Mass., 3,946 ($775)
T16, Ted Staikoff, Black Hawk, S.D., 3,923 ($737.50)
T16, Brendan Bierch, Grafton, Mass., 3,923 ($737.50)
18, Steve Banks, Leesburg, Va., 3,871 ($700)
1, Sam Maccarone, Blackwood, N.J., 670 (three games), $4,000
2, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 182 (one game), $3,000
3, Willie Wells, Brandon, Fla., 151 (one game), $2,400
4, Mike Lucente, Warren, Mich., 422 (two games), $2,000
5, Kerry Painter, Henderson, Nev., 190 (one game), $1,800
Match One - Lucente def. Painter, 244-190
Match Two - Maccarone def. Lucente, 179-178
Semifinal - Maccarone def. Wells, 243-151
Championship - Maccarone def. Baker, 248-182