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.
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.
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.