Title Breakthrough

PBA star gets milestone win.

by Steve Samek

Sunday, I did something I haven’t done in a while, watch bowling. The PBA Oklahoma City Open was being contested. I tuned in just in time to see Chris Barnes beat Jesper Sevenson in match one. Afterward Barnes took on Rhino Page and won to set up a match against Jason Belmonte. Barnes took out Belmonte too, earning the right to face Marshall Kent in the finals. https://www.pba.com/articles/Kent-Outlasts-Barnes-in-Championship-Match-To-Win-Grand-Casino-Hotel-Resort-PBA-Oklahoma-Open.


I was pleasantly surprised to see Barnes on the show. He was one of my favorites when I bowled in high school. Though it seemed like he hadn’t been relevant on the tour sense then. Barnes has won 18 titles during his time on tour. https://www.pba.com/bowlers/bowler/13248.


Kent is part of the new young talent wave on the PBA Tour. Though entering the match, he was 0-7 on TV, despite winning three titles. https://www.pba.com/bowlers/bowler/41121. Could Kent finally breakthrough for a win on Tv.

In dramatic fashion, the match came down to the 10th frame. Kent strung together four strikes to win 194-188 over Barnes. https://www.pba.com/articles/Kent-Outlasts-Barnes-in-Championship-Match-To-Win-Grand-Casino-Hotel-Resort-PBA-Oklahoma-Open.  Giving Kent his first win on television and his fourth title. Good to see the kid earn a win on TV. Having Barnes win would have been great too. As it’s always nice to see a win after a long drought of winning.


Best Bowler ESPY

By Steve Samek

This afternoon the nominees for the ESPY awards came out. Amongst the category is one that may seem odd: Best bowler. Yes, bowling gets its own category up with best team and best male and female athletes.  You Can vote here for all the categories. http://www.espn.com/espys/story/_/page/voting37/best-bowler.

The nominees for best of the lane are Jason Belmonte, Francois Lavoie and E.J Tackett. Belmonte and Tackett are due to square off on the lanes before that in fact as they compete at the Main Event PBA tour Finals Title match next Tuesday. https://www.pba.com/articles/Tackett-Belmonte-to-Meet-in-Main-Event-PBA-Tour-Finals-Title-Match

Belmonte is the Australian Two-handed bowler that has taken the tour by force sense his 2008 debut. He has won 14 career titles, including eight major tournament victories. His latest major victories are the 2017 Barbasol PBA Players Championship and USBC Masters. https://www.pba.com/bowlers/bowler/36058.

E.J Tackett is a rising young star. He joined the tour in 2012. Tackett won the 2012-2013 rookie of the year. He owns seven titles on tour, five standard and two majors. Tackett was your 2017 PBA Tournament of Champions winner. He has two titles for the 2017 season. https://www.pba.com/bowlers/bowler/39420.

Lavoie is very similar to Tackett in the fact that he’s new on tour. It’s only Lavoie’s second season in the PBA. Lavoie hasn’t wasted any time as he has three titles including the U.S open win in 2016 for his first major title. Lavoie was voted the 2016 rookie of the year in the PBA and the PBA’s south region. Lavoie won a singular title this season so far. https://www.pba.com/bowlers/bowler/44364.

This race is very close for the award. All of them have won one, or two titles. Tackett and Belmonte each own a major win this season.  With both majors counting the same it really is too close to call. I do think that if I were voting I would select the person that wins head to head in next week’s match.  Especially with this tournament being the best eight tour players in total money earned. Making it a tough out to win this tournament, with no slackers entering. https://www.pba.com/articles/Tackett-Belmonte-to-Meet-in-Main-Event-PBA-Tour-Finals-Title-Match. The best way to be the best is too beat the best and the cliché rings true here. Belmonte/Tackett win gets the ESPY.


PBA League Championship Preview

Defending champs battle crowd favorite.

By Steve Samek


In this post, I introduced you to the PBA league team competition. https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/sundays-are-for-the-bowlers/?frame-nonce=d37ed95463.  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. https://www.pba.com/articles/Dallas-Strikers-Portland-Lumberjacks-Advance-to-LLBean-PBA-League-Elias-Cup-Finals. 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. https://www.pba.com/articles/Dallas-Strikers-Portland-Lumberjacks-Advance-to-LLBean-PBA-League-Elias-Cup-Finals.








Sundays Are For the Bowlers

Team-by-team PBA Draft analysis

By Steve Samek

Photo credit: PBA.com

In the shadow of the World Series, professional bowling is gearing up for a couple of major events. One of which is the United States Open and one is bowling’s own World Series.

Though all of these are singles events, the Professional Bowling Association (PBA) also offers team play. Behold the PBA League.

The PBA league is a team contest of eight five-person squads going at it to win the Elias Cup, named after PBA founder Eddy Elias.

The teams each have a manager that protects and drafts players, and each team is allowed to hold onto up to three players before drafting two.

Let’s analyze the most recent PBA Draft. Continue reading “Sundays Are For the Bowlers”