Cheetah Championship Recap

Well, sorry I didn’t make it in before the telecast aired on ESPN yesterday, but the matches were fantastic, and I have plenty to talk about this morning.

The PBA changed the format this week, allowing the women’s final to bowl first, pitting Carolyn Dorin-Ballard against Stefanie Nation.  Ballard and Nation both were using a Brunswsick Maxx Zone, and to me both balls looked to have a matte or slightly polished look to them, certainly not a dull appearance from what I saw.  This was meant to give the ball a little length, but not too jumpy (which high gloss polish can do) as the women were both throwing the ball slower than the men were, and a dull finish could make the ball not finish and “roll out” before it hits the pocket, making pin carry difficult.  Ballard was struggling a bit with her timing, as I noticed she was very late on a few of her shots (arm catching up to your feet), which made her throw the ball away from her target.  She did a good job of keeping the ball in play as she made slight adjustments as the match went on.  Both bowlers needed a few frames to get settled in, but Nation did an incredible job controlling the tempo of the match, leading from the third frame all the way up to the 10th frame.  Ballard and Nation both threw clutch strikes in the 9th to set up a wild 10th frame finish.  Ballard made a great shot on her 10th ball, striking, but threw it out to the right too much on her 11th shot, leaving the 1-2-4-10, or washout.  Pin count was huge on the spare, as a 9 count would mean Nation could go 9 spare strike for the win, but a spare conversion by Ballard meant Nation needed the first strike in the 1oth to seal the match, anything less was a loss.  Ballard made a great conversion, and forced Nation to strike on the first ball in the 10th to win the match.  Nation flushed a shot, and left a ringing 10 pin to lose the match 208-204.  Congratulations to Carolyn Dorin-Ballard on the win, and to Stefanie Nation for a tough fought 2nd place finish.

I threw out there yesterday that Jack Jurek was the lone righty, and thus should have a chance to set up his lanes better if he could get past the lefty Mike Scroggins.  Well, as it turned out, the ladies final went before the men stepped on the lanes, and with both ladies being right handed, it meant that Jurek already had to contend with two games worth of lane transition before his match with Scroggins began.  This effectively took away any advantage Jurek would have received if the lanes had been fresh, and actually gave Scroggins a slight edge since the right side had already begun to transition.  My observation of the match was that Scroggins was absolutely dialed in from frame one.  He was using a RotoGrip Cell with some surface to it (no polish) to get the ball into a roll phase quicker and keep it from jumping off the spot.  Jurek, on the other hand, was using a MoRich N’Tense LevRg that also looked to have some surface to it.  I found it interesting that Jurek refused to change equipment, speed, or line when it was apparent early on that his ball was checking up early, as evidence by the two splits he left early on in the match.  You can’t discount the impact the women’s match had on the opening men’s match, as I feel if Jurek had been bowling on a fresh shot, the match could have a different look to it.  You have to give Scroggins credit for taking advantage and hitting his shot consistently to put away Jurek.  Final score was 235-175.

The second men’s match featured Scroggins against another lefty, Patrick Allen.  You could see the effects of the increased traffic early on in the match, as Scroggins went to a RotoGrip Cell Pearl immediately to get more length and a cleaner look on the backend, and Allen was using a Hammer Cherry Vibe, which is a pearlized ball that is also meant to give a clean look through the heads, and save it’s energy for the back part of the lane.  Both bowlers had a good look early on, but as the match progressed it was clear that the outside line on the left side was starting to move away very quickly.  Allen had trouble getting the ball to face up to the pocket, going through the nose several times, and finally changed to a Hammer Blue Vibe later in the match to get the ball to roll a little earlier and smooth out the  break point a bit, but it was too late by then.  Scroggins had made a great move to the Cell pearl, and you could see him tighten his line up and amp up the speed to keep the ball around the pocket, which ended up being a much better strategy than Allen had, which was trying to go around the transition on the lane. Final score was 222-200.

The final match featured PBA legend Parker Bohn III and Mike Scroggins.  I was curious to see how Bohn would attack a pair that had three games already bowled on the left side.  His strategy seemed simple, keep the ball on the extreme outside part of the lane away from Scroggins, and don’t miss left.  Bohn was using a Brunswick Twisted Fury with some polish to it, to get the ball down the lane easier, keeping him from forcing the ball into the pocket.  Scroggins continued with the Roto Grip Cell Pearl for the entire match.  Bohn got off to a hot start, but Scroggins was staying in the hole pretty much every shot.  He was the victim of a high flush 6-8 split, which was caused by the bowling ball coming too hard out of the break and never deflecting as it drove through the 5-9.  You could see that Scroggins’ line was starting to burn up a bit, and he was not comfortable moving inside on the lane, where they said no bowlers were able to score from all week long.  He kept forcing it in there from the outside, and finally paid the price with a 4-6-7-8-10 “greek church” split late in the match.  He only got 6 out, which cost him pin count against Bohn.  This was the break Bohn needed, as he kept the ball in play the whole match (except a pitch out 1-3-6-9  leave which he converted) to win his 32nd career title.  Final score was 242-198.  Congratulations to Parker Bohn III on the win, as well to Mike Scroggins for a hard fought 2nd place finish.

Overall, it was great to see how lane transition can affect the left side of the lane, which is something right handers usually deal with on a more consistent basis due to the higher number of right handed bowlers.  Also, the two most accomplished bowlers on the show, Parker Bohn III and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, showed once again why they are both hall or famers, and know how to close out a match.  Thanks for reading, please check out the Maine State USBC website, I have a link to it in my signature.  The page has been completely revamped with great info on all things related to bowling in the state of Maine, as well as useful information for bowlers worldwide.

James Goulding III

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