The New York City WTT KingPins’ Tommy Jones, Jack Jurek, Pete Weber, Scott Norton and John Szczerbinski struck on eight of their first nine shots to run away from Jesse Williams’ Brooklyn Styles, 243-199, in the final match of the PBA League Don Carter round at Thunderbowl Lanes.
The KingPins, owned by women’s sports legend Billie Jean King, clinched a berth in the inaugural PBA League Elias Cup Finals with their triumph in the Carter round.
The top four of eight PBA League teams, based upon points earned in five preliminary rounds, will compete for the first PBA League championship on Sunday, March 31, at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis as part of Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions week. The Elias Cup Finals (http://www.pba.com/Tournaments/Details/1929) will air on ESPN on April 7 at 1 p.m. Eastern.
“I think I’m liking my team a lot,” KingPins franchise player Pete Weber beamed after making a surprise lineup change that worked to his team’s advantage. He moved Norton, a left-hander who had been a dominant player in previous PBA League rounds, to the No. 4 position in the lineup, and he placed Team USA member and former Wichita State star John Szczerbinski in the anchor position.
“I know Scott was bowling well [in the anchor position], but Szczerbinski averaged 257 on the Don Carter lane condition in qualifying, so I talked it over with the team and they all agreed to make the change and have John bowl anchor,” Weber said. “It isn’t me; this is our whole team agreeing to what we’re doing. After every shot, we communicate and try to help each other.
“I have all the confidence in the world in all of my players. We got a few breaks, but without breaks you don’t win. Tomorrow we might not get them, but today we did and we took advantage of them.”
In the semifinal match between the KingPins, who topped the Salvino round earlier in the PBA League series, and the Roth round-winning Motown Muscle, neither team put together consecutive strikes until the KingPins started a string of seven in the 6th frame to run away with a 249-192 win.
In the opening match, owner Jerome Bettis’ Motown team got a string of four strikes from Tom Smallwood, Mike Scroggins, Ronnie Russell and Mike Fagan to take the lead, and they held on for a 210-199 victory over Chris Hardwick’s Silver Lake Atom Splitters, when Silver Lake anchor Chris Barnes was unable to double in the 10th.
With their second PBA League stepladder triumph, the KingPins have earned 44 points to lock up no worse than the No. 2 stepladder position for the Elias Cup finals.
The PBA League Anthony round — the final qualifying round heading into the Elias Cup finals — will include Terrell Owens’ Dallas Strikers, Chris Paul’s L.A. X, Jerome Bettis’ Motown Muscle and a fourth team that will advance from the Clash eliminator round.
The Anthony round and the championship match of the Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship between top qualifier Sean Rash and Norton will air on ESPN on Sunday, March 24, at 1 p.m. Eastern.