ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., will meet two-time PBA Tour champion Scott Norton of Mission Viejo, Calif., for the championship in the Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship, the final event of the Detroit Winter Swing.
Rash will be trying for his sixth career title and first of the 2012-13 season after averaging 238.20 over 32 games of qualifying on four different lane conditions, followed by the nine-game round robin match play final round Friday night at Thunderbowl Lanes. He finished with a 9,976 pinfall total for 41 games to nip Norton for the top qualifying position by two pins.
Norton, the 2010-11 PBA Rookie of the Year, won his second career title in the PBA Chameleon Championship earlier in the season during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling.
“I did alright,” Rash said. “I bowl with a lot of confidence, which is why some guys don’t like me, but I’m just trying to stay in the moment and make good shots. I’ve been on a tear since the last World Series was held here (in 2009). My goal is to just keep making TV shows and give myself chances to win.
“I made some mistakes the second day here. I was in the show with two games to go and let some negative thoughts get to me, but I learned from them, and that’s why I made the show today. Unfortunately, you lose more times than you win, but you have to just keep giving yourself chances and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
The Detroit Winter Swing has included a series of four singles tournaments and five PBA League qualifying events, the first five-player team competition in the PBA’s 53-year history, and Rash has been a leader in both types of competition.
Earlier Friday, Rash helped his BROOKLYN STyLES team (Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y.; Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y.; Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., and Jason Sterner of McDonough, Ga.) lock up the No. 1 stepladder position for the debut of PBA League competition, live on ESPN Sunday at noon ET. The STyLES posted a combined 160-game total of 36,403 pins after four rounds of qualifying on lane conditioning patterns named after PBA legends Carmen Salvino, Mark Roth, Don Carter and Earl Anthony.
“It feels great,” Rash said. “Our team was extremely consistent all week. All five guys contributed, like I thought they would when I drafted them. Everyone picked up the other guys when they needed to. It’ll be fun to be on TV as a team.”
The BROOKLYN STyLES team is owned by Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams. Also qualifying for Sunday’s PBA League debut on ESPN were the New York City WTT KingPins, owned by women’s sports legend Billie Jean King and captained by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber; the Motown Muscle, owned by Detroit native and former Pittsburgh Steelers star Jerome Bettis and captained by Mike Fagan of Dallas; Chris Barnes and his Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters, owned by comedian Chris Hardwick, and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke’s Dallas Strikers, owned by NFL all-pro receiver Terrell Owens.
Duke’s Dallas Strikers rallied to claim the fifth berth by 10 pins over L.A. X, owned by NBA all-star Chris Paul and captained by Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, after finishing eighth, seventh and seventh in the first three qualifying rounds.
“After a total of 160 games, the difference between making it or not came down to one open frame, or one spare,” Duke said. “Team-wise, we struggled the first three days, but we ground it out. We knew we had to have a great day today and we did it.”
The Dallas Strikers also led qualifying in Friday’s eight-game Anthony team round by 123 pins over L.A. X (owned by NBA star Chris Paul and captained by Australia’s Jason Belmonte) to earn the top stepladder position for the fifth and final PBA League qualifying telecast prior to the Elias Cup finals on March 31 in Indianapolis. The Motown Muscle earned the third stepladder berth in the Anthony round, which will be conducted Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Thunderbowl for delayed telecast on ESPN on March 24.
EARL ANTHONY PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich., Jan. 25
Final Qualifying Standings (after 41 games, including match play bonus pins; top two advance to championship match)
1, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 7-2, 9,976.
2, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 6-3, 9,974.
Other Match Play Cashers:
3, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 7-2, 9,771, $8,000. (Using Storm)
4, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3-6, 9,762, $6,000.
5, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 7-2, 9,738, $5,000. (Storm)
6, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 7-2, 9,674, $4,700. (Roto Grip)
7, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 4-5, 9,657, $4,000. (Storm)
8, Mike DeVaney, Hemet, Calif., 4-5, 9,631, $3,500. (Using Storm/Roto Grip)
9, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 5-4, 9,619, $3,000. (Using Storm/Roto Grip)
10, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Ecorse, Mich., 6-3, 9,577, $2,700. (Using Storm/Roto Grip)
11, Dom Barrett, England, 3-6, 9,561, $2,500. (Storm)
12, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3-6, 9,455, $2,400. (Storm)
13, John Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 3-6, 9,436, $2,300. (Roto Grip)
14, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 3-6, 9,421, $2,200.
15, Mark Milasinovich, Macomb, Mich., 3-6, 9,266, $2,100.
16, Jim Pratt, Glendale, Ariz., 1-8, 9,058, $2,000. (Using Storm)
17, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 7,303, $1,500.
18, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 7,302, $1,450.
19, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 7,286, $1,400.
20, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 7,283, $1,350.
21, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 7,280, $1,320.
22, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 7,277, $1,300.
23, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 7,272, $1,280.
24, Patrick Girard, Canada, 7,271, $1,260.
25, Frankie Calca, Elmont, N.Y., 7,270, $1,240.
26, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 7,268, $1,220.
27, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 7,267, $1,200.
28, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 7,261, $1,180.
29, Mason Brantley, Detroit, 7,254, $1,160.
30, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 7,248, $1,150.
31, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 7,244, $1,140.
32, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 7,242, $1,130.
33, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 7,236, $1,120.
34, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 7,231, $1,110.
35, Todd Book, Russells Point, Ohio, 7,223, $1,100.
36, Lee Vanderhoef, Greenville, S.C., 7,218, $1,090.
37, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 7,195, $1,080.
38 (tie), Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., and Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 7,162, $1,065.
40, Stuart Williams, England, 7,160, $1,050.
41, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 7,157, $1,040.
42, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 7,154, $1,030.
43, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 7,141, $1,020.
44 (tie), Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., and Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 7,138, $1,005.
PBA LEAGUE EARL ANTHONY ROUND
Final Earl Anthony PBA League Qualifying Standings (after 8 games; top 3 teams advance to Baker format stepladder finals; teams 4-8 will bowl a one-ball Clash eliminator round to determine the fourth team in the stepladder finals)
1, Dallas Strikers (owner Terrell Owens), Dallas, 9,461.
2, L.A. X (owner Chris Paul), Los Angeles, 9,318.
3, Motown Muscle (owner Jerome Bettis), Detroit, 9,279.
4, Silver Lake Atom Splitters (owner Chris Hardwick), Silver Lake, Calif., 9,236.
5, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (owner LaMarr Woodley), Pittsburgh, Pa., 9,219.
6, BROOKLYN STyLES (owner Jesse Williams), Brooklyn, N.Y., 9,129.
7, Philadelphia Hitmen (owner Kevin Hart), Philadelphia, 9,063.
8, New York City WWT KingPins (owner Billie Jean King), New York, 8,928.
PBA LEAGUE THUNDERBOWL FINALS ROUND
Final Standings after 32 team games; top five teams advance to live ESPN Baker format stepladder finals Sunday at noon ET)
1, BROOKLYN STyLES, 36,403 (Sean Rash 7,604, Ryan Ciminelli 7,231, Ryan Shafer 7,244, Walter Ray Williams Jr. 7,162, Jason Sterner 7,162).
2, New York City WTT KingPins, 36,174 (Pete Weber 7,283, Tommy Jones 7,117, Scott Norton 7,629, Jack Jurek 6,841, John Szczerbinski 7,304).
3, Motown Muscle, 36,167 (Mike Fagan 6,954, Tom Smallwood 7,236, Mike Scroggins 7,302, Ronnie Russell 7,537, Jesse Buss 7,138).
4, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, 36,049 (Chris Barnes 7,108, Dom Barrett 7,371, Josh Blanchard 7,272, Stuart Williams 7,160, Nathan Bohr 7,138).
5, Dallas Strikers, 35,938 (Norm Duke 7,261, Rhino Page 7,092, Amleto Monacelli 7,403, Bryon Smith 6,902, Mike Machuga 7,280).
6, L.A. X, 35,928 (Jason Belmonte 7,324, Wes Malott 7,304, Andres Gomez 7,092, Parker Bohn III 7,067, Dave Wodka 7,141).
7, Philadelphia Hitmen, 35,886 (Bill O’Neill 7,277, Mika Koivuniemi 7,303, Chris Loschetter 7,154, Mike DeVaney 7,385, Dick Allen 6,764).
8, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, 35,564 (Osku Palermaa 7,248, Martin Larsen 7,070, Dan MacLelland 6,946, Patrick Allen 7,364, Thomas Larsen 6,936).
300 Games: Mike DeVaney, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Tommy Jones, Wes Malott, Kurt Pilon, Brian Kretzer, Tom Baker.