Defending champs battle crowd favorite.
By S. Samek
In this post, I introduced you to the PBA league team competition. Now after two weeks of exciting competition two teams remain. The Dallas Strikers defend their title against the hometown Portland Lumberjacks.
Dallas looked good in a semi-final win over Philadelphia. Game one went to the Strikers 239-196 win highlighted by five strikes in the back half of the contest. Game two secured the sweep and berth in the title match by a 201-196 score. This came after a first-round win over the LA X.
Portland moved on to round two after a win over the Motown Muscle. There they faced off against two-time PBA league champ Silver Lake Atom Splitters. The Atom Splitters took game one from the host team 221-217. Portland was given some help in avoiding elimination as a mark in the tenth frame would keep them home from the finals. A 3-7 split thrown by anchor bowler Jesper Svensson opened the door for the comeback win 185-182. Enter sudden death roll off.
Tom Daugherty and Wes Malott both trade strikes in the first roll off. The Svensson knocked down only nine pins forming a strike to win scenario for Portland. Ryan Ciminelli did just that and sent Portland on to the win.
Dallas was a team I liked in the preview. I also thought that Portland was a team to watch out for. Making it not surprising both of these teams made it to the finals.
Why Dallas will win is experience. They are the defending champions and have Norm Duke, one of the best ever at the helm as player manager. Their lineup is well rounded and is dangerous.
Portland has home ally advantage though and the support of the crowd behind them. They also have a nice mix of veteran and up and coming players like Ciminelli, Malott, Liz Johnson and Kyle Troup.
I think I’ll give Portland the edge here. The Lumber jacks are riding high after a lucky come from behind win. That could be all the motivation they need to take out the defending champs from Dallas.
The match for the Elias Cup takes place on Sunday May 15, 2017 at 1 p.m. The format for the championship match will include singles, doubles and trio matches to accompany the baker team games.