TWIB — Women’s college championships, USBC Masters and roll offs

My bowling week started in front of the TV last Sunday. Honestly, if the weather had not been so bad in Cleveland and Bristol I might not have seen much of two fascinating bowling tournaments.

However, the Indians got rained out and NASCAR had rain and snow stoppages off and on, so bowling it was. Let’s take a look.

USBC Masters — If you tuned in to see your favorite PBA stars for this major in Syracuse, New York you probably had to consult a program. “Who are these guys?” was the phrase I used. With the exception of Rhino Page, I had never heard of any of the five guys who made the stepladder finals.

Here’s the list of bowlers. If you have heard of more than one of these guys, you should consider yourself a BIG fan of bowling. Page lost to Steve Kloempken, who went on to defeat Joe Paluszek. Kloempken then lost to amateur Alexander Hoskins. How you doing so far?

The final match had Andrew Anderson winning over Hoskins. Wait a minute. Andy Anderson???

No, not that one! If our local bowler with a similar name was on the show, I would tune in and forget baseball and auto racing. That would be great TV watching and it wouldn’t matter how well he bowled.

Women’s Collegiate Championships — I must say that the Baker format for this tournament is outstanding. As a bowler, when you only have two frames in a game to perform, well, that is significant pressure.

The format featured a best-of-seven Baker games and you just knew it would go the full seven. That it did and Vanderbilt won the championship over McKendree in exciting fashion.

Now most of you are familiar with Vanderbilt University located in Nashville, Tennessee. How many of you know where McKendree University is located? If you said Lebanon, Illinois — I bow to your knowledge.

Unlike typical Division I schools in the major sports, bowling teams often come from smaller and more obscure colleges. I decided to check the rosters for the two teams to see where the bowlers hail from. Are they local kids or do they come from all over like the major sports teams.

McKendree (they were the defending champs, by the way) has 28 bowlers on their roster. They come from Florida, California, Texas, New York and Panama. Though Vanderbilt only has 11 bowlers listed in the program, wait until you see their stomping grounds.

The Commodores roster comes from Washington, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and — are you really ready for this — Australia, Russia and Singapore! Boy, talk about far ranging recruiting trips!

These young people can throw the rock, though. One of McKendree’s bowlers stuck out her left arm perpendicularly before starting her approach. She looked a little funny, but her shot was a thing of beauty. If I could throw a bowling ball like that I might still be bowling!

I made my way out to Heritage Lanes this week to watch some local roll off action. My first stop was the Imperial-Majorette-Sportsman League. Tin Lizzy Collision was taking on Webster for the league title, and seemed to have house support.

It was not lost on me that the scoring monitors on the other lanes would run ads for Tin Lizzy every so often. Of course we had to point it out to the opponents. Everyone chuckled, but maybe there was something to it.

Tin Lizzy’s Rich Yates Sr. had a spare in the first frame of Game 1, not exactly a blazing beginning. But when you follow that with 11 in a row and shoot 290 — well, that is blazing! He was matched by Kevin Yarger of Webster who also threw 11 of 12 strikes — his spare being in the middle of the game — for a 279.

Now you know why roll offs are exciting.

Tin Lizzy had a slight lead after the opening game, but led by Kevin Fitch’s 246 Webster had four of five bowlers break 200 to assume a commanding lead.

Midweek I took in part of the roll off for the Wednesday Morning League. This league does things a little differently than most. They bowl in quarters with the winning team getting cash for each of those four time periods. When it comes to the roll off however, every team participates. In addition all six teams change lanes each game.

Steve Steinmetz Sr. was on hand as the Secretary of the Men’s Bowling Association to present a 300 ring to Roger Kramer who had shot his perfecto earlier in the season.

To prove that his effort was not a fluke, he threw the front four in Game 1. Another hambone later in the game led to a 243 game. That was not the highest score, though. Dustin Fitch posted a 259 game as both those bowlers were off to great starts.

Now I could tell you how these roll offs turned out, but that will have to wait a week. My Salute to the Champions column will run next week.

Two groups are still bowling so here are their scores for this week.

Rocket: Roger Coppus 653, Dave Coppus 576, Tyson Shope 575, Jon Distel 550 and Chuck Phillips 547.

55 Plus: Jim Ruess 611 (201, 222), Mike Kimmet 558 (217), Paul Gosche 548, Jerry Gillig 533 (204), Bob Reinhart 520, Dick Gabel 500, Jim Ferstler 497 (220), Dave Everhart 467, Jerry Coleman 456, John Ferstler 432, Jim Donaldson 419 and Paul Fey 344.

Al Stephenson is The A-T’s bowling columnist.

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