Tournaments, tournaments, tournaments.
The past couple weeks have produced some exciting and impressive performances by bowlers – young and old – in tournaments across the Genesee Region. And there are plenty more to come before the season ends.
So, let’s get to it.
Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial
Jan. 7-8, Medina Lanes
Bowling on two different – and challenging -- lane conditions (a 47-foot pattern during qualifying and a 38-foot pattern during the semifinals and step-ladder finals), the 63rd GRUSBC Scratch Memorial came down to a battle of the local association’s high-revving heavyweights – Scott Culp of Lima (at right in photo) and Curtis Foss of Medina (at left).
The two had met in the finals of this event back in 2009 at Scopano’s Lanes in Oakfield, with Foss emerging victorious.
This time, it was Culp who captured the title and $750 first prize, putting together three strikes in frames eight through 10 for a 206-189 win. Foss earned $400.
Culp entered the five-person step-ladder finals as the No. 2 seed after eight qualifying and semifinal games and, following a victory over fifth-seeded Geoff Harloff of Batavia, 231-204 -- earned the right to square off against the top-seeded Foss.
It was the second straight GRUSBC scratch tournament victory for Culp, who won the Masters Tournament last February at Oak Orchard Lanes in Albion. He plans to defend his title next month at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.
The tournament attracted 69 entrants -- up from 41 last year.
Harloff claimed the No. 5 seed -- the top five of the 17 qualifiers advanced to the step-ladder finals -- and moved up two places with victories over this writer, No. 4 Mike Pettinella of Batavia ( (216-193), and No. 3 and defending champion Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw (246-223).
Harloff pocketed $300 while Gray won $250 and I was fortunate enough to earn $200.
Other qualifiers (in order of finish) were Fred Gravanda of Batavia, Scott Allis of Medina, Brady Weber of Perry, Chris Bacon of Medina, Rick Lee of Mount Morris, Mickey Hyde of Le Roy, Kevin Gray Sr. of Honeoye Falls, Brett Van Duser of Perry, Dean Cadieux Jr. of Oakfield, Aaron Verheyn of Medina, Bob Santini of Mount Morris and Rich Wagner of Batavia.
For tournament statistics, go to www.bowlgr.com.
Mount Morris Pepsi Open
Jan. 13-15, Mount Morris Lanes
Norm Bialuski of Rochester, a regular participant in tournaments in the Batavia area, added $1,500 to his bank account on Sunday evening at the 39th annual Mount Morris Pepsi Open.
Bialuski outscored the red-hot Dan Vick of Rochester, 276-266, in the championship match of the event contested for the first time on the eight-lane center’s new synthetic lanes.
Proprietor Bob Santini used a short-oil pattern (37 feet) which forced the bowlers to move to the extreme right (or left in the case of left-hander Vick) of the lane. And when they did, and matched up with the right ball and the right speed, the strikes came in bunches. It took a score of 854 for four games to make the cut (cashers) and after that -- in the eliminator rounds and match play -- most of the winning scores were in the 220 range and up.
Vick, a winner of big tournaments in his hometown over the past few months, won $600, while Rochester residents John Martorella Sr. and Kara Mangiola won $200 apiece for reaching the semifinals. Martorella won the tournament in 2016.
Local bowlers who cashed were Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw, Dave DiSalvo of Mount Morris, Mickey Hyde of Le Roy and Kevin Gray Sr. of Honeoye Falls.
The tournament drew 91 entrants, down from 103 last year.
GRUSBC Adult-Junior Doubles
Jan. 14-15, Medina Lanes
Medina bowlers topped the pack in both divisions of the tournament, which attracted 59 teams – 29 in the 12-and-Under category and 30 in the 13-and-Over category.
In the 12-and-Under division, Chris Bacon and his son, Jared, posted a 1,499 score with handicap to win the $250 first prize. They were followed by Bailey Quilliam and her father, Jason, of Batavia; Gracelin and Jason Mahnke of Medina, Juliana and Amy Allis of Medina, and Madison and Joe Sanders of Medina.
In the 13-and-Over division, Foss teamed with youth bowler Alex Allis of Medina for a 1,443 score – two pins better and Matt and Diane Hurlburt of Perry.
Matt Hurlburt and Sean Sickles of Perry placed third, while the father-daughter duo of Tom and Danielle Fluker placed fourth and fifth.
The top five teams in each division earned prize money. All youth prize money will be placed into their SMART scholarship account through the United States Bowling Congress.
Individually, Matt Hurlburt notched the front nine strikes for a 279 game en route to a 737 series, and Alex Allis posted series of 697 and 643 (as bowlers were allowed to re-enter). Hurlburt also had a 653 series, and Sam Miller rolled a 264 game and 649 series.
High games: Juliana Allis 192, Dennis Van Duser 192, Ian Wagner 196, Ethan Cramer 231, Paige Snook 198, Jared Bacon 231, Morgan Allis 212, Gracelin Mahnke 191, Ryleigh Culver 193, Collin Scheiber 194, Julia Menzie 214, Danielle Fluker 190. By the way, Danielle Fluker registered her first 600 series ever -- 236-189-175--600 -- on Jan. 14 in the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso Bowling Center.
The adults registered numerous high series, led by Quilliam’s 730, Bacon’s 728, Steve O’Dell’s 726 and Foss’ 719. Scott Allis shot 706, while Mike Lavender had 694, John Culverwell 683, Fluker 668, Mahnke 659, Ray Neuman 655, Frank Jarkiewicz 651 and Colleen Pimm 604.
Scott Whittier Memorial Tournament
Jan. 7, Oak Orchard Bowl, Albion
The team of Judy Ward of Albion, Robbie Hanks of Spencerport and Curtis Foss took top honors in the fifth annual Scott Whittier Memorial three-person no-tap tournament.
The fundraiser attracted 66 teams over four shifts of bowling and raised $1,500 for the Scott Whittier Scholarship Foundation.
Ward, Hanks and Foss split $600 for their 2,537 score with handicap, which was 14 pins more than the team of Brian Stefaniak, Chris Ray and Shannon Parker. Eleven teams cashed.
In tournament action in Buffalo on Jan. 15, Foss won the Greater Buffalo Bowlers Tour event at AMF Airport Lanes, defeating Carl Kinyon of Lockport, 224-223, in the title match for the $500 first prize.
The 29-year-old right-hander also added to his long list of honor scores with a 299-247-278—824 effort on Jan. 6 while substituting in the Friday Night Mixers League at Oak Orchard Bowl.
DAVID OZIO IS ELECTED TO USBC HALL OF FAME
In national developments, news that David Ozio of Beaumont, Texas, has been elected to the USBC Hall of Fame in the Superior Performance category transported me back in time to the late 1980s and early 1990s when the PBA Tour visited WNY on a regular basis.
I remember having lunch with Ozio at Marcel’s Olympic Bowl in Rochester during a promotion for the upcoming tour stop. He was very gracious, answering all of my questions, and he was as classy off the lanes as he was smooth on the lanes.
You would be hard-pressed to find a bowler as fundamentally sound as Ozio, and if you don’t believe me, check out some of his videos on You Tube.
A 1995 inductee into the PBA Hall of Fame, Ozio has 11 titles, including the 1991 PBA Tournament of Champions in 1991 – a year in which he won four events and was recognized as the PBA Player of the Year.
Today, Ozio, 62, a former competitive fisherman, spends more than 300 days each year on the water at Texas' Lake Fork, where he offers guided fishing tours and instruction.
70-YEAR-OLD INDIANA MAN REGISTERS 900 SERIES
I’ve often noted that bowling is a lifetime sport.
On Jan. 11, 70-year-old John Buchanan III of Evansville, Ind., experienced the thrill of a lifetime when he became the oldest bowler in USBC history to record a 900 series. The right-hander’s achievement came in the Woodward Commercial Seniors League at Evansville’s Franklin Lanes.
Just three weeks shy of his 71st birthday, Buchanan surpasses Dale Gerhard of Mill Hall, Pa., as the oldest to attain three-game perfection. Gerhard was 59 when he rolled his 900 series last January.
Buchanan's achievement is pending approval from USBC and would be the 31st USBC-approved 900.
BENEFIT TOURNAMENTS ON TAP THIS AND NEXT WEEKEND
Three handicap no-tap tournaments to benefit worthy causes are scheduled fo Mancuso Bowling Center, Legion Lanes in Le Roy and Medina Lanes over the next two weekends.
-- The Curt Haight Memorial four-person no-tap tourney will take place this Saturday at Mancuso's, with squads at noon and 3 p.m.
First place, based on 48 teams, is $1,000, and the entry fee is $100 per team. A portion of the proceeds will go to Genesee Cancer Assistance,
To enter, contact Matt Balduf at 585-415-2964 or Mancuso Bowling Center at 585-343-1319.
-- The Help-R-Heroes four-person no-tap tourney will take place Jan. 27-29 in Le Roy, with squad times at 7 p.m. on Friday, noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday and noon and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
First place, based on 40 teams is $1,000. The entry fee is $100 per team.
Proceeds will go toward supporting wounded soldiers returning home.
To enter, contact Scott O’Neill at 585-409-0459.
-- The Knock Cancer to the Gutter three-person no-tap tournament is set for Jan. 28 at Medina Lanes, with squads at 2 and 4 p.m.
First place is a guaranteed $500. The entry fee is $75 per team.
Proceeds from the event as well as basket raffles and a 55-inch TV raffle will go to benefit the family of Shaun Ayrhart, who has been stricken with an incurable brain tumor.
(Mike Pettinella’s Pin Points column appears every other Thursday on The Batavian. To advertise on this page or to suggest story ideas, contact Mike at [email protected]).