Western New York pros were long gone when the television finals came around in last week’s Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions in Indianapolis. However, three local pros will be on the tube Sunday for the Elias Cup Finals to decide the PBA League champion (ESPN, 1 p.m.).
The finals actually were bowled last Sunday. The PBA has not made the outcome available, unlike the other tape-delayed events.
Jack Jurek of Lackawanna and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda are expected to be in the lineup for the top-seeded New York City WTT KingPins presented by GEICO. The team’s celebrity “owner” is Billie Jean King of tennis fame and founder of World Team Tennis.
Pete Weber, who scored a historic victory last weekend in the Tournament of Champions, is captain of the KingPins. New York City earned the top spot on the finals stepladder after winning two of the five qualifying rounds bowled in January in Michigan. Each round was named after a sport’s Hall of Famer. The KingPins won the Carmen Salvino and Don Carter rounds.
The KingPins wrapped up a place in the finals with a 243-199 victory over Brooklyn in the last match of the Carter round. Jurek and Szczerbinski played especially key roles. Jurek had a pair of strikes in an opening barrage of eight strikes on the first nine shots as the KingPins built a huge lead.
Szczerbinski was involved in a lineup change by Weber that worked to the KingPins’ advantage. The former Wichita State star was moved from leadoff to the anchor position, and Norton switched to the No. 4 spot, even though he had performed well in previous rounds.
“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.
The finals will be bowled in a Baker team format with each of five players bowling two frames. The final match will be two games total pins.
Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga will be in the lineup of the No. 3 seed Brooklyn Styles “owned” by actor Jesse Williams. His teammates are Sean Rash, Ryan Shafer, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Jason Sterner and Tom Hess.
They will meet the Dallas Strikers (Norm Duke, Rhino Page, Amleto Monacelli, Bryon Smith, Mike Machuga and Mike Wolfe). The Strikers’ “owner”? None other than former Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens, who was on hand for the finals.
Around the lanes
• An Amherst team, 80 Percent Healthy, stood in 25th as of Friday morning with a 3,102 total in the USBC Open Championships in Reno, Nev. Josh Weatherall (East Amherst), Jason Ciliberto (Gasport), Andy Ochal (Hamburg) and Jeff Chambers and Dan Kinyon (both of Lockport) comprise the 80 Percent lineup. Ochal and Kinyon each bowled a 669 to lead the team.
The Regular Team leader is the Lodge Lanes Too team of Orlando, Fla., which bowled a 3,538, the highest team series in 110 years of the USBC.
The previous team record was 3,537 by Bruegger’s Bagels of Albany in 1993.
• The Tonawandas USBC Association raised $3,100 with its annual Bowl for The Cure event at Manor Lanes II in Amherst last month. Brian Moran defeated Will Gearhart, 286-202 (handicap) in the Strike Out Breast Cancer tournament held prior to the Bowl for the Cure festivities.
• At age 15, Wesley Low Jr., of Palmdale, Calif., became the youngest bowler ever to win a PBA Regional title last weekend when he topped the field at a PBA Non-Champion West tournament at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas, Nev. He broke the mark set by Pete Weber in 1979. Low, a two-hander who bowls from the left side, defeated Deeronn Booker of Anaheim, Calif., 299-234.
Low was 29 days shy of his 16th birthday when he won the title. He does not get credit for a PBA title because he is not a member of the PBA, but his $1,500 in earnings will help build his USBC SMART scholarship fund. Weber was a PBA member when he won a Midwest Regional in St. Louis in 1979, thereby earning credit for his title.