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May 31, 2020 - 1:29pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt devastating blows to businesses of all types and sizes, but not many have been hit harder than the bowling industry.

The 2019-20 bowling season was cut short when the virus hit in mid-March, forcing leagues to cancel their seasons with four to eight weeks remaining.

As the crisis continued, tournaments at the national, state and local levels were cancelled – keeping bowlers on the sidelines and preventing organizations and center proprietors from generating millions of dollars in budgeted revenue.

With June a day away, bowling centers remain closed in most states. In New York, bowling has been lumped together with other forms of entertainment into Phase Four of the state’s reopening plan and it likely will be at least another month before centers are allowed to open their doors.

Proprietors, reeling from end-of-season losses, also have seen their spring and summer league programs washed away. They are uncertain about the start of the 2020-21 season in late August and early September, and wonder what league bowling will look like going forward.

“Bowling is not going to be the same for a while,” said Jack Moran, proprietor of Roseland Family Fun Center in Canandaigua, a facility that offers 34 traditional bowling lanes as well as eight VIP lanes, café, sports bar, and an arcade with laser tag and bumper cars.

Social distancing parameters – requirements that people stay at least six feet away from each other – have prompted the United States Bowling Congress to temporarily waive playing rules stating that two lanes must be used for competition and that bowlers must alternate lanes.

The USBC also waived the requirement that both lanes must be used for a bowler to be eligible for awards and average recognition.

What that means is, for league play, a team could bowl the entire game on lane one, for example, and its opposing team, could bowl its entire game on lane three.

Additionally, bowlers will be allowed to use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to clean their bowling balls during competition – a change from the current rule that states that no cleaners can be used during competition.

Although it is yet to be seen whether those new rules will be put into play, proprietors hoping to run summer leagues after reopening may have no alternatives.

“What are we going to do for six to eight weeks of summer leagues? We’re better off trying to run a special promotion to get people in the doors again, so that they feel safe,” said Moran, a past president of the NYS Bowling Proprietors Association. “We’re not even sure if people coming back in September are going to feel safe.”

Randy Hanks, proprietor of the 18-lane Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, said he is planning to separate customers by around 15 feet for open bowling.

“If a family’s is using a pair (of lanes) and they’re on lanes one and two, the next one used will be lane five – 15 to 20 feet away,” he said. “Plus, I’m going to have them prepay, leave the (house) balls and shoes on the ball return, and we’ll sanitize them after everybody is done.”

The NYS BPA already has drafted a long list of health- and safety-related protocols that proprietors will use to ensure a safe environment. Details can be found in the article below.

Hanks said the restaurant portion of his business has been open for take-out only, but revenue pales in comparison to normal operation.

“We lost four summer league, including our adult-junior league that would have ended the day we maybe can open up – June 26th,” Hanks said. “I don’t even want to look to see how much I lost since March 15 compared to the same time the last two years.”

Moran said his staff has been working hard to implement the protocols – markings on the floor, plexiglass shields, acquiring digital thermometers to check everyone’s temperature coming into one specified entrance, and so on.

“From what we’re being told, we will be allowed to open at 50 percent of our occupancy,” he said. “In my case, it equates to about 120 people in my center.”

He said he has talked to colleagues in other states to get a pulse on the situation.

“Talking to my friends in Ohio and Florida – they have been able to open up but it’s limited hours and every other lane for social distancing,” he said. “Right now, we’re trying to look at what the league structure will be like in September – and it’s not looking good if this thing goes six months.”

Mike Sputore, manager of Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia, said he is looking to reopen the 24-lane center in mid- to late-August with all the protocols in place.

Echoing the concerns of the whole industry, he said time will tell on how to proceed.

“There are just too many uncertainties at this time,” he said. “How do we run the leagues? Do we use just one lane? How much time will it take to bowl? Will more than one league be able to bowl at a time? I just hope people don’t give up league bowling.”

May 31, 2020 - 1:24pm

Numerous bowling centers around the nation – and especially in New York State – are “on the brink” of closing for good, according to a well-known Long Island proprietor who is spearheading a grassroots campaign to persuade Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow these recreational facilities to open up sooner than currently planned.

“We want to make everyone aware that bowling centers are more like restaurants, and should be permitted to reopen in Phase Three (of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan) instead of Phase Four,” said John LaSpina, president of Maple Family Centers, a chain of four bowling centers in the New York City area and another location in Florida.

La Spina has held numerous bowling leadership positions at the national, state, and local levels over a 60-year career. He has received multiple honors, including being selected as the International Bowling Industry Person of the Year in 1994 and to the New York State Hall of Fame in 2016.

He is calling upon New York state bowling association officers, league bowlers, and local government officials to contact their local legislators and request that the governor places bowling into Phase Three, a move that would enable bowlers to enjoy their sport two weeks earlier than currently planned.

Bowling is not the same as professional sports played in huge stadiums, and events staged in arenas and the theater, La Spina said.

“As bowlers centers have plenty of room and as proprietors understand the challenges we face, there is no reason why we can’t open up bowling in Phase Three so we may save some of the centers that are on the brink,” he said. “We respect the rules of social distancing and can easily and safely accommodate bowlers in our large facilities with 50 percent occupancy sooner rather than later.”

LaSpina said he is afraid that more and more businesses, not just bowling centers, will be closing their doors and may not come back as a result of the devastation caused by the coronavirus.

He and others representing the NYS Bowling Proprietors Association have drafted a letter that includes “talking points” and a list of protocols that bowling center personnel has put in place to protect the health of customers and staff.

Just a few of the protocols include:

-- Cleaning the seating, ball return, and scoring area using a disinfectant rated for COVID-19 between each lane usage;
-- Disinfecting each bowling center rental ball before and after each use, and each rental shoe before and after each use;
-- Providing social distancing throughout the facility to eliminate shared spaces;
-- Providing cashless payment options where possible;
-- Providing a separate entrance and exit for guests;
-- Installing plexiglass barriers at counters, between employees and customers;
-- Limiting group reservations to six or less.

He also said that people can email him at [email protected] if they need to identify members of the state Senate and Assembly in their area.

“We’re appealing to anyone – local mayors, police commissioners, restaurateurs and owners of other businesses – who can help us make our case, who know that bowling is a safe activity and that those who operate bowling are responsible people with a plan to keep everyone safe and to keep their facilities clean,” LaSpina said.

April 4, 2020 - 10:11am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to league bowling in the Genesee Region in mid-March, forcing keglers to the sidelines with anywhere from three to six weeks remaining on their schedules.

Many league secretaries have questions regarding their options for ending the season earlier than expected.

To view a Frequently Asked Questions document from the United States Bowling Congress and a guideline to adjusting prize lists, go to www.bowlgr.com.

Secretaries are welcome to contact the Genesee Region USBC office at [email protected] or contact their bowling center proprietors/managers for additional information or assistance.

April 1, 2020 - 10:01am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

The Genesee Region USBC has cancelled its annual Association Tournament and postponed its Awards Banquet due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

GRUSBC President Gary Kuchler today announced that the Team, Doubles & Singles tournament that was scheduled for Rose Garden Bowl and Le Roy Legion Lanes last month will not take place this year.

Team captains who prepaid will be receiving refund checks this week.

He also said that the Awards Banquet set for May 9 will be moved (tentatively) to July 25 at Batavia Downs Gaming.

“Hopefully, we will be able to hold our banquet to recognize this season’s top bowlers, Hall of Fame inductees and scholarship recipients,” Kuchler said, adding that he plans to call a board of directors’ meeting when conditions allow or possibly conduct a meeting by conference call.

He also asked league secretaries to submit their final average sheets to the GRUSBC office, 55 Edgewood Drive, Batavia, as soon as possible or to contact Association Manager Mike Pettinella for assistance ([email protected] or 343-3736).

In another bowling development, the remainder of the Tommy Kress 60-and-Over Tour schedule has been cancelled.

Kress said that all funds designated for the season-ending final tournament will be carried over to next season. His 10-event slate for 2020-21 is set to begin on Oct. 18.

March 19, 2020 - 8:30am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, organized bowling at the local, state and national levels has come to a screeching halt -- putting the overwhelming majority of the 1.4 million members of the United States Bowling Congress on the sidelines heading into the peak of the tournament season and down the stretch of the league season.

Without question, it’s a punch to the gut.

Bowling, as is the case with other sports, is on hold while the country and the world deal with this awful situation.

Currently, bowling centers in the four GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming) area are closed – and their restaurants have been relegated to take-out or curbside venues.

The Genesee Region USBC, the local association that oversees certified bowling leagues, has postponed (likely canceled) its annual Team, Doubles & Singles Tournament that was scheduled to begin a two-weekend run on Friday at Rose Garden Bowl and Le Roy Legion Lanes.

The GR Youth Travel League banquet, which was supposed to take place last Sunday, has been postponed for at least four weeks. And the GR USBC’s annual banquet scheduled for May 9 at Batavia Downs is up in the air.

All New York State USBC championship tournaments – adult and youth – have been canceled and will not be rescheduled this season. That includes the NYS Women’s Championships in Syracuse, the NYS Open Championships in Schenectady, the NYS Queens in Syracuse, and the NYS Youth Team finals and Adult-Junior tournament in Syracuse, Youth Pepsi regionals at various locations and the Youth Pepsi finals in Rome.

The cancellation of these events affects thousands of bowlers, youth and old, and significantly affects the operation of the state association, which now will be refunding hundreds of entry fees.

As of this writing, the NYS USBC Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet scheduled for June 6 in Binghamton are still on the table.

Thousands of bowlers who participate each year in the United States Bowling Congress national tournaments have had their travel plans scuttled by the virus.

On Tuesday, the USBC moved the tentative start date for the 2020 USBC Open in Reno, Nev., and Women’s Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., to May 23 – two months after the original opening day -- and will extend the tournaments several more weeks to allow teams rescheduling flexibility.

According to a press release, USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said that the USBC intends to conduct the major tournaments in 2020 and “will update the tentative start date based on current conditions and shift that start date back in the calendar as needed.”

He also said that, starting today, an updated reservation calendar will be available which includes expanded team dates for the Open Championships through Aug. 29 and expanded team dates for the Women’s Championships through July 31.

Registration for next year’s event, the 2021 USBC Open Championships in Las Vegas, will open on schedule, starting at 11 a.m. on March 23.

The USBC also has canceled the 2020 Intercollegiate Singles and Team Championships due to COVID-19 public health concerns. The event was scheduled to take place April 13-18 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Both the Professional Bowlers Association and the Professional Women’s Bowling Association are on hiatus as well.

The PBA, PBA50 and PBA Regional tours have been postponed, with the PBA Playoffs that were scheduled to start on April 6 as the first victim.

In a bit of irony, the final round of the PBA World Championship on Sunday was the only live major sporting event on television (FS1) in quite some time since the NBA, NHL, MLB and the NCAA’s March Madness have been shut down.

For those who didn’t watch, the five-man stepladder finals took place before an audience of a few PBA members, tournament officials and family members.

It turned out to be a crowning achievement for Australian Jason Belmonte, who defeated Anthony Simonson of Little Elm, Texas, 213-190, in a battle of two-handers to win his third consecutive PBA World Championship title.

The victory in Las Vegas extended Belmonte’s all-time career-leading major win total to 13 and padded his bank account by $150,000. And it was especially sweet since his wife, Kimberly; daughters, Aria and Sylvie, and son Hugo, were there to see him compete after flying in from Australia earlier in the week.

Not surprisingly, the show was FS1’s most-watch telecast last week. I am sure it drew in millions of non-bowling fans who are starving for live sports action.

PBA World Championship results:
Final Standings

1, Jason Belmonte, Australia $150,000.
2, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, $70,000.
3, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., $40,000.
4, Francois Lavoie, Canada, $30,000.
5, Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, $20,000.

Playoff Results
Match one – Lavoie def. Via, 269-258.
Match two – Simonsen def. Lavoie, 224-204.
Semifinal – Simonsen def. Tackett, 215-177.
Championship – Belmonte def. Simonsen, 213-190.



SCRATCH ELIMINATOR FINALISTS: From left, Brad Angelo, Phil Kaiser, tournament director Mark Brown, Rich Wagner, Scott Shields.

Phil Kaiser of Spencerport defeated Brad Angelo of Lockport and Batavians Scott Shields and Rich Wagner in the four-bowler finals Saturday to win the T.F. Brown’s Scratch Eliminator at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.

The 52-year-old right-hander rolled a 209 game on a challenging “Sport” oil pattern to edge Angelo, a PBA Tour standout, by six pins for the $1,000 top prize. Angelo earned $500.

Shields posted 177 to place third, good for $400, while Wagner, the lone lefty in the finals, shot 173 to win $300.

The two-day event drew 56 entrants, with Shields and Wagner emerging as the only Genesee County residents to cash. Scott Culp of Honeoye Falls qualified through the last-chance roll-off and ended up winning $150.

Kaiser, competing on the Saturday 11:30 a.m. squad, and Rochester’s Kara Mangiola, competing on the Saturday 2 p.m. squad, were the high qualifiers with four-game totals of 914 (a 228 average).


Brockport residents Caycee Landers and Chris Bardol successfully defended their King & Queen Mixed Doubles Handicap Tournament crown on March 7, defeating Batavians Michele Larson and Rich Wagner in the title match.

The winning couple earned $500 while the runners-up split $300.

Landers and Bardol reached the title match with a victory over Kim Starken and Scott Culp while Larson and Wagner advanced by upending Heather D’Errico and Rob Gustke. The semifinalists earned $200 each.

Other local cashers were Jennifer Johnston and Chase Cone, Tracy Spanitz and Mark Brown, Jeanette Sease and Brady Weber, Kathy Trigilio and Geoff Harloff, Samantha Hyde and Shayne Herold, Naomi Hyde and Mickey Hyde, and Darleen and Matt Balduf.


Teams organized by Batavian Mike Johnson placed first and third in the 21st annual Bob Bertram Memorial five-person handicap no-tap tournament earlier this month at Mount Morris Lanes.

The $1,000 top prize went to Josh Elliott, Nathan Cordes, Gregg Wolff, Jim Lambert and Geoff Harloff while the $500 third prize went to Wolff, Lambert, AJ Allenbrandt, Tom Baker and Mike Johnson.

Fifty-two teams competed in the Team event and another 51 bowlers entered the optional Singles event. More than $1,400 was raised for both Teresa House and Livingston County Hospice.

March 16, 2020 - 1:15pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

Due to directives coming from the federal and state government concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, the Genesee Region USBC has no choice but to cancel its Association Team and Doubles & Singles Tournament scheduled for the next two weekends.

GRUSBC President Gary Kuchler made the announcement today after receiving information from Tom Sardou, proprietor of Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen, and Scott O'Neill, manager of Legion Lanes in Le Roy, that their businesses have been drastically curtailed or completely shut down for an undetermined amount of time.

"We certainly respect the orders coming out of Washington and Albany and, in the best interest of the health and safety of our members, we will be postponing the Association Tournament -- both the Team event at Rose Garden Bowl and the Doubles & Singles at Legion Lanes," Kuchler said. "We will keep our bowlers informed of any developments through our website -- www.bowlgr.com."

It is unknown at this time whether league bowling will continue at area bowling centers. Bowlers are advised to contact their local bowling center for more information.

March 16, 2020 - 9:58am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

Four Genesee Region USBC bowlers came "oh so close" to honor scores in league action last week.

At Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen, Brady Weber of Perry rolled a 290 game on his way to a 730 series in the G&W Vending Tuesday night league, and Rob Husted of Bergen finished with a 278 game for a 793 series -- missing the coveted 800 by just seven pins -- in the Thursday Night Owls league.

At Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, Reid Cole of Albion had two big games -- 288 and 277 -- in a 784 series in the Sneezy's Monday Night league and at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia, Geoff Harloff of Batavia spun a 290 game in a 714 series in the Toyota of Batavia Thursday Night league.

For a list of high scores, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of the page.

March 16, 2020 - 9:53am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

Week of March 7-14

Turnbull Heating Junior
High Series

Benjamin Sputore 211--570
High Games
Nate Goras 167
Lily Martin 164
Jonah Martin 153
Gavynn Trippany 147
Connor Herdlein 132
Jacey Wagner 105
Emily Maloy 91
T.F. Brown's Adult-Child
High Series

Mike Johnson 225--636
Benjamin Sputore 267--627
Nate Balduf 219--619
High Games
Ben Mattice 209
Lily Martin 165
Emma Balduf 158
Danny Balduf 114
Monday Independent Ladies
High Series
Kim Williams 194-248--610
Heather Johnson 191--550
High Games
Val Cordes 200
Laurie Waite 180
Mancuso Real Estate/Smokin’ Eagle BBQ
High Series

Brian Green 279--740
Andrew Fowler 268--711
Jim Dommer 234--614
Alex Morris 609
Devon Leach 232--608
Tom Hahn 235--607
High Games
James Townsend 246
Jason Quilliam 223
Mike DeVay Jr. 223
Kathy Stearns 192
Turnbull Heating Doubles
High Series

Mike Pettinella 246--663
Steve O'Dell 265--634
Bruce Kraus 258--620
Mike Johnson 620
Ed Harding 235--618
Jerry Currier 617
Chris Bailey 236--609
Kyle Kraus 609
High Games
Patrick Potwora 242
Antique World Tuesday Coed
High Series

Chase Cone 269--706
Mike Szatkowski 238--660
Scott Bliss 225--623
High Games
Vincent Krzeminski 236
Josh Dubois 225
Dave Calarco 222
J.E. Currier Inc./Rebel Liners
Wednesday Night Ladies

High Series
Cindy Linderman 199-224--595
Mary Ann Stone 181-186--546
High Games
Dawn O'Neill 200
Kathy Pacino 190
Darleen Balduf 183
Wednesday Night Misfits
High Games
Tom Urbanczyk 245
Gary Kuchler 223
Jen DeLong 191
Toyota of Batavia Thursday
High Series

Mark Brown 268-245-233--746
Geoff Harloff 236-290--714
Tom Fluker 233-244-231--708
Rich Wagner 279--707
Devon Leach 254-225-224--703
Chase Cone 250--697
Jeremy Vallance 248--683
Nick LaFarnara 267--672
Jim Pursel 246--664
Fred Gravanda 224--646
Mike Pettinella 232--641
James Townsend 248--641
Alex Morris 258--641
AJ Allenbrandt 256--638
Bill Neubert 637
Mike Johnson 227--633
Mike Lambert 266--630
Vin Pontillo 232--629
Tom Baker 257--620
Jason Gallo 226--619
Josiah Yantz 240--618
Sam Oddo 224--604
High Games
Jason Quilliam 267
Sneezy's Monday Night
High Series

Reid Cole 288-277--784
Robbie Hanks 253--691
James Stymus 235--665
Heywood Whittier 259--662
Paul Baney 654
Bill Hickman 249--636
High Games
Scott Budde 247
Jim Passarell 234
Friday Night Mixers
High Series

Zach Achzet  253-613
Chucki Bobo 224--601
High Games
Marty Bezon 242
Brian Stefaniak 242
G&W Vending
High Series

Ryan Flaherty 265--740
Brady Weber 290--730
Charles Emler 279--729
Richard Luce 261--710
Brandon Marshall 256--705
Steve Krna 244--687
Kyle Eichenberger 257--679
Dave Emler 246--658
Ron Lawrence 237--658
Mark Brown 242--641
Robert Luce 224--638
Sam Oddo 245--621
Chris Bardol 224--611
High Games
Keith Jensen 243
Chris Stewart 221
Wednesday Men’s Handicap
High Series

Michael Sardou 265--743
Joseph Scott 265--700
Scott Gibson 246--685
Harris Busmire 245--672
Bob Cassidy 233--668
Jeff Parton 247--662
Jason Heimlich 226--628
Rick Kleinow 234--627
Kevin Tobolski 257--616
Marc Wilder 230--610
Frank Jarkiewicz 237--608
Tom Sardou 607
Pete Evinsky 235--605
Laurie Morgante 549
High Games
Roy Chamberlain 222
Thursday Owls
High Series

Rob Husted 246-269-278--793
Harris Busmire 258--694
Dennis Meyer 243--692
Frank Jarkiewicz 248--672
Robert Mattil 247--639
William Yates 222--632
Bob VanDorn 221--604
Kevin Gray Jr. 604
High Games
Christopher Stewart 226
Le Roy Moose
High Series

Scott O'Neill 240--654
Jeremy Vallance 245--622
High Games
Kevin Wallace 259
AJ Allenbrandt 249
Le Roy American Legion
High Series

Dick Cousins 226--626
Scott O'Neill 236--618
Duane Anchor 221--602
High Games
Jeremy Vallance 221

March 9, 2020 - 9:05am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

Over the past six decades, bowling headlines out of the former Medina association -- and now Genesee Region USBC -- have featured the Allis family name on a regular basis.

Now, a new generation of Medina's "first family" of bowling has burst onto the scene and is primed to carry on the tradition for many years to come.

High-revving right-handers Alex Allis (age 20) and his cousin, Hayden Allis (age 23), each bowled his first United States Bowling Congress-certified perfect games recently -- with Alex following that up by rolling his first certified 800 series on Sunday morning in the Sunday Rolloffs League at Medina Lanes.

Alex, a second-year student at Brockport State College, fired his 300 game on Feb. 20 and Hayden, an employee at Oetiker Clamp in Batavia, got his on March 5 -- both in the Thursday Firefighters League in Medina. Their three-game series were 713 and 717, respectively.

In the Sunday Rolloffs League yesterday, Alex put together games of 267-268-299 for an 834 series -- the top three-game total in the GRUSBC this season.

In other league action in the area:

-- Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw spun a 300 game and sparkling 761 series in the Thursday Owls League at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen. 

Gray, the 2019 GRUSBC Scratch Memorial champion, has several perfect games on his resume.

For more high scores from last week, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

Note: Mike Pettinella's next Pin Points column will appear exclusively on The Batavian on March 19.

March 7, 2020 - 8:23pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

The finals of the NYS Masters Championship tonight at King Pin Lanes in Rome will be shown on Facebook Live tonight on the business page John Knight's Bowlers Shoppe. It is scheduled to begin around 8:40.

The title match features two Rochester bowlers -- Dan Keenan and Shanna Chepelsky -- competing for the $2,000 first prize and a paid entry to the 2021 USBC Masters.

March 1, 2020 - 8:14pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

Robbie Hanks rolled his fourth United States Bowling Congress-certified 300 game in as many months on Friday night while substituting in the Friday Night Mixers League at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.

Hanks, who turned 28 on Feb. 22, put together games of 200, 268 and 300 for a sparkling 768 series. 

The son of Oak Orchard Bowl proprietor Randy Hanks (and an employee at the 18-lane center), Robbie now has a perfect game in each of the past four months. The other three have come in the Thursday Night Triples League on Nov. 14, Dec. 12 and Jan. 30.

In other league bowling action this week:

-- Scott Allis of Medina set the pace this morning in the Sunday Rolloffs at Medina Lanes, posting a 289 game and 776 series.

A few nights earlier, Allis rolled a 262 game and 744 series in the Wednesday Community League, also at Medina Lanes.

-- Tom Baker and Matt Balduf led the way in the Toyota of Batavia Thursday League at Mancuso Bowling Center with 768 and 755, respectively.

-- Jeremy Vallance started with 268 in a 739 series in the Le Roy Moose League at Le Roy Legion Lanes.

-- Naomi Hyde of Le Roy fired a 269 game and 687 series as the Synergistic Online Solutions MNF League came to a close at Mancuso's.

For a list of high scores from the area, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

February 27, 2020 - 9:07am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

When some of the best scratch bowlers in Western New York converge upon Legion Lanes in Le Roy for the annual Ron Riggi Memorial four-person handicap tournament, you can expect fierce competition and high scores.

Last weekend’s 18th edition of the tribute to the late LeRoyan was no exception as it took a 228 average per bowler to win the team event and just shy of a 250 average to claim the singles title.

Thirty-eight teams competed over the three-day tourney and when the smoke had cleared, the JLU team of Jeanette Sease of Brockport and Rochesterians Traci Spanitz, Rob Gustke and Steve Meyer claimed the $1,000 top prize with a 3,628 score (all scratch).

In singles, Matt Balduf of South Byron led the way with a 995 (again, all scratch) for four games – a 248 average – to win $125.

Balduf also was a member of two cashing teams – third place with Jim Pursel of Batavia, Mark Brown of Attica and Scott Culp of Honeoye Falls and seventh with his wife, Darleen; Ron Brown of Bergen and AJ Allenbrandt of Le Roy.

Other teams cashing:

-- Rob Sease of Brockport, Mickey Hyde of Le Roy, Norm Bialuski of Rochester, Ryan Kretchmer of Rochester, 3,610, $500.
-- Pursel, Brown, Kai Clark of Rochester, Josh Elliott of Attica, 3,560, $230.
-- Derek Leach of Batavia, Nathan Cordes of Batavia, Devon Leach of Stafford, Paul Bacon of Lockport, 3,486, $220.
-- Bob Vitagliano of Niagara Falls, Kevin Volker of Tonawanda, Pete Maduri of North Tonawanda, Sam Capizzi of Rochester, 3,485, $210.

Brown placed third in the singles event with 976 while Hyde was sixth with 968.

On Feb. 8-9, Balduf and Elliott teamed with Mike Johnson of Batavia to win the Nunda Fire Department three-person no-tap tournament at Letchworth Pines in Portageville, recording 2,465 for three games to pocket the $750 top prize.

They were followed by the Letchworth-area team of Bob Gelser, Ryan Nugent and Craig Barkley with 2,377 ($375) and the team of Elliott, Tom Rohl of Le Roy and Brown with 2,374 ($255).

Sixty-three teams participated and raised around $2,000 for the Nunda FD.


Veteran Batavia right-hander Paul Spiotta returned to the lanes this past Sunday after a 40-day layoff due to serious medical issues by cashing in the highly-competitive Tommy Kress 60 & Over Tour “A Better Choice Pro Shop” tournament at AMF Gates Lanes in Rochester.

Spiotta, 62, rolled games of 205, 246, 227 for a 678 series to place in the top 16 and advance to the finals of the event, which featured some of the best 60-and-over bowlers in Western New York.

He followed that with a 206 game in the first round of the eliminator finals, but missed advancing further by about 20 pins. Still, the Genesee Region USBC Hall of Famer earned $150 for his efforts.

Fellow Batavian Fred Gravanda (Spiotta’s cousin) fell a bit short from advancing but did grab the final cashing spot ($80).

Rick Jewell of Rochester won the $1,000 first prize with a 227-181 win over John Rosati, also of Rochester. Jewell registered a 300 game during the qualifying round.

The Tour’s next stop is on March 15 at Miller Lanes in Honeoye Falls.


The Oak Orchard Bowl I team of Bailee Snook, Jesse Keller, Ben Lennox and Paige Snook captured the 2019-20 Genesee Region Youth Travel League championship in a three-team race that went down to the wire.

Paige Snook rolled a 563 series, Keller had 557 and Lennox 553 during position-round action at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen last Sunday to upend Le Roy Legion Lanes, 16-12, and move past the LeRoyans for the title.

Oak Orchard Bowl I posted a 129-95 record, a point-and-a-half better than Mount Morris and two points ahead of Le Roy, which held the top spot going into the position round.

Individual season leaders are as follows:

High game scratch – Dennis Van Duser, Perry, 277 (recorded on the final day).
High series scratch – Gavin Baney, Oak Orchard Bowl II, 708.
High game handicap – Baney, 310.
High series handicap – Baney, 867.
High average – Van Duser, 199.

High game scratch – Jillian Menzie, Rose Garden Bowl I, 237.
High series scratch – Menzie, 647.
High game handicap – Corinne Saluste, Mancuso Strike Force, 268.
High series handicap – Brooke Jarkiewicz, Rose Garden Bowl I, 733.
High average – Menzie, 196.

The travel league’s no-tap tournament and banquet are scheduled for March 15 at Mount Morris Lanes.

In recent youth league competition at Rose Garden Bowl, Menzie rolled a 279 game and 653 series.

The Genesee Region USBC Youth Doubles Tournament is set for March 7-8 at Oak Orchard Bowl, with squads at 1 p.m. on both days. To enter, contact Tom Fluker at 585-354-2199.


Entry forms for the 14th annual Genesee Region USBC Association Tournament are available for download from the association’s website – www.bowlgr.com -- and at association bowling centers.

The tournament is scheduled for March 20-22, 27-29, with the Team event at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen and Doubles & Singles at Legion Lanes in Le Roy.

Several teams have already submitted their entry forms to the association office. In fact, the noon squad on Sunday, March 22 is full at eight teams.

To make reservations, call 585-861-0404 or send an email to [email protected].

Four other local handicap tournaments are on tap for this weekend:

Mount Morris Lanes – 21st annual Bob Bertram Memorial 5-person no-tap, this Friday through Sunday and next Friday through Sunday. First place is $1,000 guaranteed and the entry fee is $125 per team. Call 585-658-2540 to enter.

Medina Lanes – 8th annual Mark Wengrzycki Memorial 3-person no-tap, Saturday, with squads at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Entry fee is $75 per team and first place is $750 (one in six teams will cash). Call 585-318-4474 to enter.

Perry Bowling Center – Sonny Yencer 3-person, this Saturday and Sunday with four squads on Saturday and two on Sunday. Entry fee is $75 per team. Call 585-237-6358 to enter.

Oak Orchard Bowl – The Gamerz 3-person no-tap fundraiser lists three squads on Saturday, starting at 12:30 p.m. The entry fee is $60 per team. Call 585-589-6900 to enter.

By the way, Oak Orchard Bowl celebrated its 60th year in business earlier this month.

You can find a feature story about Elsie Boring, who has bowled in leagues there since the center opened, by going to www.orleanshub.com.


After a pair of subpar performances in TV finals the previous two weeks, Australian Jason Belmonte added the U.S. Open title to his unbelievable Professional Bowlers Association Tour resume on Sunday with a 226-201 victory over top-seeded Anthony Simonson of Little Elm, Texas, at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Neb.

The victory was worth $30,000 for Belmonte, who has a record 12 major titles and now has 23 career victories on the PBA Tour.

It also enables him to join Mike Aulby as the only players in PBA history to complete the Super Slam, which includes the U.S. Open, USBC Masters, PBA Tournament of Champions, PBA World Championship and PBA Players Championship.

He sealed the win over Simonson, a fellow two-hander, by converting the difficult 3-6-9-10 spare in the 10th frame.

Belmonte had struggled on TV of late, having rolled a 185 game in a loss to eventual champion Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., in the finals of the PBA Players Championship on Feb. 15 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus (Ohio) Bowl.

O’Neill captured the title and $75,000 first prize by rolling two strikes and nine pins in the 10th frame to edge EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Ind., 233-232.

This week’s finals of the PBA Indianapolis Open will be televised live at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on FS1.

The finalists for the show are as follows:

1, Jesper Svensson, Sweden.

2, Shawn Maldonado, Houston.

3, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas.

4, Nicholas Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

5, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich.

February 26, 2020 - 5:23pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

kyle_johnson_300_a.jpgBatavia teenager Kyle Johnson rolled his first United States Bowling Congress-certified 300 game on Sunday, joining his father and big brother on bowling’s honor score list.

The 17-year-old right-hander put together 12 straight strikes in the middle game during the T.F. Brown’s Adult-Child League at Mancuso Bowling Center. His other games were 208 and 209, giving him a personal-best 717 series.


For more local and national bowling news, check out Mike Pettinella’s Pin Points bowling column that appears every Thursday exclusively on The Batavian.


Using a MOTIV Venom Shock ball (the only ball in his possession besides a plastic spare ball), the Batavia High School senior bettered his previous high game of 279 – and can claim his USBC award for his first 300 as a youth bowler. He also will be eligible for a USBC adult award when he posts his first perfect game after the age of 18.

He is the second local teen to roll his first 300 game in the past two weeks; classmate Tony Sprague registered 300 on Feb. 16 at Medina Lanes.

Johnson, who bowls in the doubles league with his father, Mike, said he wasn’t nervous.

“Once I got to the 10th frame, I noticed after the first ball what I was going for,” he said. “I was thinking just make a good shot. If I made a good shot and I didn’t strike, I couldn’t really be mad.”

Mike Johnson, a lefty, has several 300 games and four 800 series, and Kyle’s brother, Bryan, also had a 300 game (which he rolled as a 19-year-old on March 2014).

Kyle said he got back into bowling recently after an 18-month layoff, but found that he was having problems with his release.

He said that a trip to Lightning Strikes Pro Shop in Rochester, owned by Chris Lamb, resulting in changing the pitch of his finger holes.

“My ring finger is a lot shorter than my middle finger, so we had to take an eighth of an inch back towards my thumb on my ring finger and leave my middle finger in the same spot,” he said. “Before that, it was catching on my thumb, and I was squeezing the ball.”

Johnson says he plans to compete in the Brockmyre Classic singles scratch tournament in Newark this weekend – an event that traditionally features a very challenging oil pattern.

“We’ll give it a try,” he said. “It will be good experience.”


On several occasions over his 15 years as a regular league bowler at his hometown Le Roy Legion Lanes, Mickey Hyde came oh so close to perfection. He’s had 298 and 299 games, but never could seal the deal.

All that changed last Thursday night when the 53-year-old righty placed 12 consecutive balls in the pocket – and carried them all – for a 300 game in the Le Roy American Legion Men’s League. He finished with a 741 series on lanes 1-2.

“I used the original (Hammer) Black Widow ball that was drilled about 14 years ago by Bill Beachner (then at Perry Bowling Center),” Hyde said. “It feels really good to finally get one here.”

Hyde, manager of Tompkins Bank of Castile in Le Roy, had a 300 in 2010 at Scopano’s Lanes in Oakfield.

He won the Genesee Region USBC Senior Masters at Mount Morris Lanes in November, and has enjoyed success in a variety of tournaments over the years.

While the 300 topped the “high game” list in the league last Thursday, his 741 was second-best to the 749 posted by his nephew, Shayne Herold.

February 18, 2020 - 11:35am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

Diane Hurlburt of Warsaw rolled an 815 series last night in the Monday Nite 5 League at Perry Bowling Center, setting a Genesee Region USBC record for women's high series.

The 49-year-old right-hander posted games of 258, 278 and 279 on lanes 3-4 to eclipse the 791 recorded by Rochester's Kara Mangiola at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen on Nov. 15, 2015 and the 782 registered by Caycee Landers of Brockport on Feb. 13, 2018, also at Rose Garden Bowl.

Hurlburt had eight strikes in the first game, 11 in the second game (including the front seven) and 10 in the third game.

"I knew there was a possibility of getting it (an 800 series) after the second game, but I didn't try to figure out what I needed and I didn't want to know," said Hurlburt, who has her own house cleaning business.

She said she got a fortunate break in the ninth frame of the third game, breaking up a potential split to continue a long string of strikes.

"I didn't throw a very good shot and it came high on the nose," she said. "The 4-6 was staring at me and somehow they both fell. I said, 'Oh my gosh, there is a God."

She proceeded to strike on the first ball in the 10th frame and finished with a spare to seal the deal.

"It's really unbelievable," said Hurlburt, who is averaging 193 in the Monday league and 209 in the Thursday night league in Perry.

She in the leadoff bowler for the Charlie's Rollers team that includes her husband, Jason; son, Matthew, and friends Gene Standish and Brian Tiede.

Hurlburt used a Hammer Statement ball that she purchased and had drilled at Bowler's World in Rochester.

Last year, she had an association-high for women with a 763 series and 200 average.

February 16, 2020 - 6:40pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.


A perfect game by Tony Sprague powered the Mancuso Mean Machine team to victory today in the Genesee Region USBC Association Youth Team Tournament at Medina Lanes.

Sprague, a Batavia High School senior who will turn 18 on March 16, posted his first United States Bowling Congress-certified 300 game in the second game of the team’s three-game series on lanes 17-18.

His other games were 187 and 222 for a 709 series.


For a list of high scores in Genesee Region leagues last week, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.


The right-hander’s big series helped his team record a 2,596 total with handicap to edge The Strikers of Oak Orchard Bowl by nine pins for the tournament title.

Sprague and teammates Ben Sputore, Corinne Saluste and Emma Miller each will receive a $100 scholarship and a trophy.  Members of the second- and third-place teams each will receive a trophy.

Taking some advice from Coach Tom Fluker, Sprague said he moved his line from the second arrow to the third arrow after the first game – and also switched bowling balls – to consistently hit the 1-3 pocket.

“I switched from the Storm IQ Pearl Emerald to the Storm IQ Tour (black) and moved five boards to the left and played a pretty tight line,” said Sprague, noting that the first ball in the second game crossed over for a Brooklyn strike.

He proceeded to put the next eight balls in the pocket and said he didn't feel nervous heading into the 10th frame 

“I felt pretty confident,” said Sprague, whose previous high game was 276 and whose high series is the 752 he rolled in the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso’s in November. He averages over 200 in a couple of different youth leagues.

After the final strike, he exchanged high-fives and hugs from everyone around, including his mother, Jacqueline. His father, Todd, was unable to attend due to work commitments.

Sprague qualifies to receive awards from the USBC and Genesee Region USBC for his perfect game.

He also said he was rewarded by his mom on the way home.

“Yeah, I got a Shamrock Shake (from McDonald’s) out of it,” he said.

Bowlers on the second-place team were Adelynn Neal, Jayden Neal, Gavin Baney and Zachary Neal and members of the third-place Oak Orchard I team that registered 2,555 were Ryleigh Culver, Gracelin Mahnke, Juliana Allis and Paige Snook.


February 13, 2020 - 8:24am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

They say that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” and that may be true when it comes to the various activities associated with the famed Las Vegas Strip.chris_bardol.jpg

But when you’re talking about the mega-tournament bowling that is a huge part of the Nevada city’s scene, good news travels fast.

Brockport’s Chris Bardol, a member of the Genesee Region USBC as a league bowler at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen, enjoyed a profitable week in Las Vegas from Jan. 27 through Feb. 2 as an entrant in the 20th anniversary True Amateur Tournaments national competition at the 70-lane center at The Orleans Hotel & Casino.

“The bowling and the brackets (side action) and the gambling were good,” said Bardol, the former three-time All-American at Robert Morris College who is celebrating his 32nd birthday today.

Bardol flew into Las Vegas on a Tuesday and proceeded to bowl in tournament qualifiers and sweepers the next five days.

He bowled well enough to place first in the 35 & Under Scratch division -- earning a $5,000 check -- and to advance to the grand finals on Sunday with a chance to up that amount to a cool $25,000.

“There were five divisions and the winners of all five made it to the finals,” Bardol said. “From there it was just one more game, with the top score taking the $25,000.”

The other divisions were 189 & Under Handicap, 215 & Under Handicap, 36-50 Scratch and 51 & Over Senior Scratch.

Bardol said he averaged around 220 for nearly 40 games on challenging lane conditions throughout the week. In the grand finals, however, he posted a 180 game and finished in fourth place.

Still, he was able to increase his winnings from the $5,000 to $6,000.

Bardol said he also won an additional $3,000 in other events so, all in all, subtracting the $900 in entry fees and expenses, he flew back to Western New York in much better financial shape than when he left.

The TAT drew around 4,800 entries (spread across the five divisions) from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Bardol said, noting that the overall champion, Rafi Shwartz, was one of 180 bowlers in one group that came over from south of the border.

Several other Genesee Region USBC bowlers competed, including Brian Weber, who cashed for $500.


LeRoyan Gary Brennan Jr. captured his first tournament title on Super Bowl Sunday when he defeated Scott Shields of Batavia, 180-178, in the finals of the Super Bull Handicap Singles event at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.

Brennan, a 58-year-old right-hander, entered the tournament with a 179 average and proceeded to put together scratch games of 225, 201, 183 and 192 in the qualifying round. His 938 total with handicap placed seventh (out of 29 entries) and was good enough to advance to the match play rounds.

In match play, he upended Rick Underhill of Batavia and Chase Cone of Bergen, rolling scratch games of 201 and 179, to earn the right to face Shields, who was the eighth and final qualifier with 929.

Both bowlers struggled a bit in the title match but still went home with decent prize money, with Brennan earning $400 and Shields pocketing $300.

Brennan, a supervisor at Orleans Correctional Facility, said he doesn’t bowl in many tournaments – “only if it’s handicap and not on the first day of deer season.”

Other cashers were Devon Leach of Stafford and Cone ($120 each), and Vin Pontillo of Batavia, Mark Brown of Attica, Fred Gravanda of Batavia and Underhill ($90 each).

Pontillo was the high qualifier with a 1,003 total with handicap, a pin better than Underhill.


Batavian Tony Sprague put on an impressive shot-making display in front of the hometown fans last Saturday when Mancuso Bowling Center hosted the Rochester Youth Travel League.

The 17-year-old right-hander rolled games of 222, 220 and 243 for a 685 for the Mancuso’s team, which is in fourth place in the 10-team league.

In Genesee Region Youth Travel League last Saturday at Perry Bowling Center, Oak Orchard Bowl I of Albion moved within two points of first-place Le Roy Legion Lanes with a 20-8 victory over Rose Garden Bowl I of Bergen.

Le Roy, a 15-13 winner over Mount Morris Lanes, has a 115-81 record going into the league’s position round on Feb. 23 at Rose Garden Bowl.

Individually, Sprague had the high series for the boys with 597, followed by Trent Willis of Mount Morris at 591 and Dennis Van Duser of Perry at 563, while Emma Miller of Mancuso Strike Force led the girls with a 233 game and 576 series followed by Paige Snook of Oak Orchard I at 563.


Fans of the Professional Bowlers Association Tour have to be pleased that major networks FOX Sports and CBS Sports have made a solid commitment to live broadcasting of PBA events.

In 2018, FOX Sports announced that it had acquired the television rights for the PBA Tour, replacing ESPN, and proceeded to give us 26 broadcasts on FOX Sports 1 and four on Fox in 2019.

That expanded coverage continues this season with six telecasts on FOX, the most PBA action on network broadcast TV since 1999. Plus, there will be 25 shows on FS1 and a total of 23 live broadcasts, the most in 12 years (up from 19 live shows last year).

Altogether, the 2020 TV schedule includes more than 60 hours of coverage.

CBS Sports Network’s contract with the PBA calls for the televising of 17 shows in 2020, including live coverage of seven PWBA stepladder finals in 2020, including all majors, plus four shows from the Intercollegiate Team and Singles Championships, the finals of all four divisions of the Junior Gold Championships, and the two title matches at the USA Bowling National Championships.

That’s a great deal of bowling on TV. Now, if the PBA can only find a partner to carry the PBA50 Tour, that would be icing on the cake.

Programming note: The finals of the PBA Players Championships will be televised live at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on FS1. A $1 million bonus will be paid if the winning player bowls a 300 game in the title match.


Medina Central School once again is competing in the Unified Bowling League, which lists six matches in February (two of which have been completed).

The program consists of special education students bowling with general education students.

The schedule is as follows:

Feb.11 -- Akron @ Medina
Feb. 13 -- Medina @ Starpoint, Brad Angelo Lanes in Lockport.
Feb. 25 -- Medina @ Grand Island, Mallwitz's Lanes
Feb. 27 -- Medina @ Sweet Home, Manor II, Amherst.

The season ends with a "culmination event" on March 2 at AMF Airport Lanes in Cheektowaga..

January 30, 2020 - 7:34am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

Rochester left-hander Dan Vick showed once again why he is arguably the best bowler in Western New York as he captured the 42nd annual Mount Morris Pepsi Open scratch singles tournament on Jan. 19 at Mount Morris Lanes.

The 33-year-old Vick, a former Rochester Institute of Technology bowling standout, made the flat 1:1 oil pattern look easy on his way to pocketing the $1,500 first prize.

In the four-game qualifying round, Vick posted a 910 total (227.5 average) to place second out of the 16 qualifiers – behind Rochester’s Mike Rose Jr.’s 917 – and went on to average over 200 in the finals, defeating Batavian Rich Wagner and Perry’s Brett Van Duser before topping Canada’s Dan McClelland, 219-187, in the title match.

Followers of the Professional Bowlers Association Tour may remember that McClelland, a former Canadian Bowler of the Year, finished fourth in the 2014 PBA Tournament of Champions.

Besides Wagner and Van Duser, Nathan Tackentien of Arcade also cashed at the tournament, which drew 87 entries.

In other tournament action:

-- Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia hosted the annual Curt Haight Memorial four-person handicap no-tap tournament on Jan. 18, drawing 29 teams. Proceeds from the event ($1,200) were donated to Genesee Cancer Assistance.

The team of Geoff Harloff, Tom McJury, Ed Doody and Scott Culp took the $600 top prize with a score of 3,291.

They were followed by the teams of Matt Balduf, Mike Johnson, Jim Pursel and George Beckman with 3,270 ($350); Jonnah and Tyler Whipple, Fred Blair and Judy Ward ($300); John Wolff, Steve Krna, Ron Lawrence and Bill Neubert ($250) and Sam Oddo, Alex Morris, Andrew Fowler and Chris Fowler ($200).

-- Le Roy Legion Lanes’ annual fundraiser – the Help-R-Hero’s four-person handicap no-tap tournament – attracted 37 teams last weekend and raised $3,000 for the cause, the most yet, according to Scott O’Neill, tourney director.

The top six teams cashed. The first three are as follows:

First place – Quiet Thunder (Blair, Ward, Whipple, Whipple), 3,282, $840. By the way, this combination has won and cashed in several tournaments this season.

Second place – Big Pocket (Mike Hackett, Ron Brown, Darleen Balduf, Sam Hilburger), 3,216, $580.

Third place – Sease (Rob Sease, Aaron Philp, Kai Clark, Dave Emler), 3,152, $320.

-- Two Genesee Region USBC bowlers – Bob Hodgson of Medina and Mike Pettinella of Batavia (this columnist) cashed at the Tommy Kress 60-and-Over Tour stop at Parkview Bowl in Rochester on Sunday afternoon.

Pettinella rolled 654 and Hodgson 641 during the qualifying round to advance but were eliminated in the first round of the finals, with Pettinella’s 205 missing out by four pins. Each earned $65.

Left-hander Gary Reynolds of Groton won three matches in the stepladder finals with games of 256, 246 and 233 to claim the $250 first prize.

The next event on the scratch singles tour schedule is the 3rd annual Super Senior Championship sponsored by A Better Choice Pro Shop at 1 p.m. Feb. 23 at AMF Gates Lanes in Rochester.

First prize is $1,000 guaranteed and the entry fee is $70. The top 16 after the three-game qualifying round, including leaders of four age groups (60-64, 65-69, 70-74 and 75 & over), will advance to the eliminator finals.

To enter, contact Kress at 595-739-3097 or Kevin Martin at 585-355-7590.

The remainder of the 60-and-Over Tour schedule:

-- March 15, Miller Lanes, Honeoye Falls;
-- April 6, Pleasure Lanes, Hilton;
-- May 3, Brad Angelo Lanes, Lockport;
-- May 17, Sunset Lanes, Rochester.


The T.F. Brown’s Super Bull Handicap Singles tournament is scheduled for noon Sunday at Mancuso Bowling Center, offering a top prize of $500 based on 30 entries. The entry fee is $45.

The format calls for a four-game qualifying round (just one round at noon) with one in four bowlers advancing to head-to-head match play (one game) until a winner is determined.

Handicap is based on 100 percent of 215, using last year’s highest average unless the current average is 10 or more pins higher.

To enter, contact Mark Brown at 716-474-7960.


With Batavian Paul Spiotta opting not to run the Masters scratch singles tournament this season, the Genesee Region USBC has replaced it with the first 5-Person Baker Scratch tourney, which is scheduled for Feb. 8 at Livingston Lanes in Geneseo.

A first-place prize of $1,000 is being offered, based on the maximum 32 teams. Entry fee is $100 per team.

Qualifying squads (max of 16 teams per squad) are set for noon and 2:30 p.m. Each team will roll five Baker-style games – where team members alternate frames – and one in four teams from each squad will advance to the finals.

It is important to note that the team average is capped at 1,075, using bowlers’ highest USBC average from either the 2017-18 or 2018-19 seasons.

For more information or to enter, send an email to [email protected].


On Feb. 8-9, Letchworth Pines is hosting a three-person handicap no-tap tournament to benefit the Nunda Fire Department.

First place, based on 40 entries is $700 and one in 10 entries will cash. The entry fee is $75 per team.

Squad times are noon, 2 and 4 p.m. on Feb. 8 and 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. on Feb. 9.

Contact Dana Cotton at 585-261-5799 to enter.


Gavin Baney of Albion, a member of the Oak Orchard Bowl youth program, is still looking for his first 600 series, but he’s not too concerned about it after recording his first United States Bowling Congress-certified 700 series last Sunday.

The 14-year-old right-hander exploded for games of 206, 257 and 245 for a 708 series while competing in the Genesee Region Youth Travel League at his home center.

Baney raised his average from 151 to 168 with the big series and helped his Oak Orchard Bowl II team defeat Mancuso’s Strike Force, 21-7. He now has the league’s high scratch and handicap series (867) and high handicap game (310).

First place Le Roy Legion Lanes defeated Oak Orchard Bowl I, 17-11, to stay on top but Mount Morris Lanes gained a lot of ground with a 25-3 win over Rose Garden Bowl I. Josh Morris and Trent Willis paced Mount Morris with 596 and 571, respectively, while Jillian Menzie rolled a 592 series for Rose Garden Bowl I.

The league bowls again on Feb. 9 at Perry Bowling Center.


Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., posted his 15th career title by winning four consecutive matches on Sunday, defeating top qualifier Ryan Ciminelli of Lancaster, S.C. (formerly of Cheektowaga), in the finale, 289-234, of the PBA Oklahoma Open.

The victory was worth $30,000 while Ciminelli took home $15,000.

The next stop on the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour is the PBA Jonesboro Open at Hijinx in Jonesboro, Ark. The finals will air live on FS1 Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST. All preliminary rounds are being livestreamed by FloBowling.com.

AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio, will host the PBA Tournament of Champions from Feb. 3-9, with the finals of the major tournament airing live at 5 p.m. on Feb. 9 on FOX.

Australian Jason Belmonte will attempt to defend his title. He is the career leader in major titles with 11, having moved past PBA Hall of Famers Earl Anthony and Pete Weber, who each have 10 major tournament victories.

The winner of this year’s T of C will earn $100,000. In fact, three PBA majors are offering 100 grand on top with the World Championship and Playoffs being the others.

January 16, 2020 - 8:59am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.


The origin of what is now called the Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial Tournament is part of the legacy of the former Perry Bowling Association, which provided service for many years to bowlers in Wyoming and Livingston counties.

The scratch singles event continues today as a major tournament of the GRUSBC bowling association, an organzation of around 1,800 certified league bowlers with an expanded service area that also includes Genesee and Orleans counties.  But, as recent history shows, bowlers from the founding counties have been quite reluctant to let their neighbors from the north walk away with the first-place trophy.

Such was the case this year as high-revving right-hand Scott Culp of Honeoye Falls, a regular league bowler at Livingston Lanes in Geneseo, captured his fourth Scratch Memorial title on Jan. 5 at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.

Culp, 41, has won three of the past four tournaments, while third-place finisher Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw was the champion in 2016 and 2019.

In fact, the last seven winners of the tournament have hailed from Wyoming or Livingston county. You have to go back to 2013 to find a winner from Genesee or Orleans county when the late Bob Foss Jr. (Medina) captured the crown.

This year, it was Culp posting a wire-to-wire victory as he led the qualifying round on Jan. 4 with an 888 four-game total and came back to lead the semifinal round on Jan. 5 with a 919 four-game total to earn the No. 1 seed for the five-bowler stepladder finals.

In the title match, he defeated the second-seeded John LaGeorge of Retsof, 215-174, for the $500 first prize.

LaGeorge, who won this tournament in 2001, pocketed $300 for placing second in this year’s event, which was contested on the Kegel Mercury 40-foot challenge pattern (qualifying rounds) and Kegel Route 66 V2 45-foot challenge pattern (semifinals and finals).

Defending champion Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw placed third, defeating fourth-place Scott Allis of Medina in the second stepladder match, 204-179, before falling to LaGeorge, 227-172, in third match. Gray also won this tournament in 2016.

Allis took the fourth spot with a 197-191 win over this bowling columnist in the first stepladder match, rolling a double in the 10th frame.

Gray won $250, Allis $200 and I took home $140.

Also cashing (in the top eight who advanced to the semifinal round) were Nathan Cordes of Batavia ($100), Brian Weber of Perry ($90) and Rick Pernicone of Dansville ($85).

The tourney drew 36 entrants.

Photo: Finalists in the Genesee Region USBC scratch memorial, from left, Mike Pettinella (tournament director), Scott Culp, John LaGeorge, Kevin Gray Jr. and Scott Allis.


Some of the best scratch bowlers in Western New York and beyond will converge upon Mount Morris Lanes this weekend to vie for the $1,500 first prize on the 42nd annual Mount Morris Pepsi Open.

Qualifying squad (four games) times are 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. A “last chance” squad for those not qualifying is set for 4 p.m. Sunday, and the eliminator-style finals will begin around 5:30 p.m.

The entry fee is $70 ($50 to re-enter). One out of every five bowlers will cash. To enter, call 585-658-2540.

Legion Lanes in Le Roy is hosting the Help-R-Heroes 4-person handicap no-tap tournament on Jan. 24-26 with squad times at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24, noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 25 and noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 26.

First place, based on 40 teams, is $1,000 and the entry fee is $100 per team. Call 585-409-0459 to sign up.


-- Last January (Jan. 20 to be precise), the Toyota of Batavia team set a Genesee Region USBC five-person team scratch series record by posting a score of 3,580 in the league of the same name at Mancuso Bowling Center.

Well, almost a year later, the Medical Services team from Mount Morris went 30 pins better than that during competition in the Wednesday Night Classic League at Mount Morris Lanes.

Led by Dave DiSalvo’s 802 series, the team recorded 3,610 on scratch games of 1,200, 1,229 and 1,181 on lanes 5-6 on Jan. 8.

Fellow lefties Chad LaPiana and Bob Santini added 748 and 706, respectively, while righties Dan Shull and Steve Paddock posted 710 and 644, respectively. The 710 was Shull’s first 700 series at Mount Morris Lanes.

-- Word that Batavia High School has started an intramural bowling program at Mancuso Bowling Center has fueled (once again) talk that maybe BHS eventually would be able to field a team in the Monroe County League.

About a dozen students are participating in the bowling club, which will meet after school on Mondays and Wednesdays in January and February. Physical education teachers Teresa Morrill and Paul Pedersen are running the program.

The instructors said that the purpose of the program is to see if it can develop into a team that could compete against Rochester-area schools (hopefully starting next winter). It is a student-driven effort, with much of the impetus coming from BHS Co-Mayor Macayla Burke’s petition drive during her campaign.

-- Kevin Sass, owner of Letchworth Pines, completed his fourth year as proprietor of the Portageville facility and continues to promote his literacy program at area libraries.

Sass reported that he has reached out to public libraries in Castile, Warsaw, Nunda, Fillmore and Gainesville with the goal of inspiring students to read more. The incentive? Free game of bowling coupons to kids for every book they read, and a pizza party for classes that reach their reading goals.

He also is trying to get local schools on board, but so far as had mixed results.

Sass should be commended for his efforts in linking bowling – a family-oriented and lifetime sport – with higher education.

-- Finals of the PBA Hall of Fame Classic, the first event on the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season, will air live on FS1 at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The tournament is taking place at bowling’s International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas, and coincides with PBA Hall of Fame ceremonies on Saturday night. Tommy Jones, a 19-time PBA Tour winner, and former PBA owners Mike Slade and Rob Glaser are this year’s inductees.

All qualifying and match play rounds will be covered live by PBA’s online livestreaming partner, FloBowling. For subscription and schedule information visit www.flobowling.com. Results also will be posted as they happen on pba.com’s Live Scoring feature.

January 2, 2020 - 8:24am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

Just reported:

Matt Slocum of Perry finished in second place in the annual Mike and Ruth Rose scratch tournament at Bowl-A-Roll Lanes in Rochester on New Year's Day.

"Strapper" (as he is known) lost by one pin to PBA member Jason Sterner, 212-211, in the title match, but still earned $1,000 for his efforts.

Sterner won $2,000, while Rochester's Dave Werner placed third for $500 and Buffalo's Pete Maduri was fourth for $350.

The tournament drew 250 entrants.


For many years, Genesee Region USBC Director Jerry Davis has performed lane inspections as required by the United States Bowling Congress.

When he heard at the end of November that the USBC would no longer compel local association personnel to conduct these annual check-ups, his first thought was one of relief – not surprising, considering that crawling onto the lanes and pin decks to make sure everything is level and within guidelines is quite strenuous.

What the USBC’s Equipment Specifications Committee has determined – after collecting and analyzing much data – is that the current lane inspection process is not working.

“Very few centers actually meet 100 percent of the current specifications,” said Andrew Cain, committee chairperson during a conference call with the media last month. “At the end of our analysis of the data, it is apparent that the current model does not work, and our stakeholders – local associations, proprietors and technical consultants -- are guiding us to a better program.”

That program is a “tiered center certification” plan that will be fully developed over the next year, with final details scheduled to be announced at the 2021 USBC Convention.

Until then, bowling centers will have a grace period for two years -- no inspections necessary and no fees for inspections due for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. After that, all lane inspections will be performed by a national USBC inspection team.

Noting that the change is “quite the paradigm shift for us,” Cain reported that the USBC:

-- Will enlist a team of paid national inspectors that will be accountable to the national governing body;
-- Will publish the centers’ tier ratings (for example, Tier I, Tier II, Tier III) to get this information directly into the hands of membership;
-- Will not force proprietors to make repairs, but are banking on the owners’ desire to want to make the necessary improvements;
-- Will work over the next year to formulate operational details and “will make it the best it can be” prior to the announcement at the 2021 USBC Convention.

Some of the questions that came up during the conference call, which also included USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy and other USBC officials, focused on whether local associations were going to be phased out and what went into the Equipment Specifications Committee’s decision.

Murphy said there is no truth to rumors that the USBC is looking to eliminate local associations.

“We value our local associations and always have,” Murphy said, adding that the USBC has been proving that by offering Association Leadership Academy training for local association leaders at no charge.

Danny Speranza, senior director with the USBC Equipment Specifications team, said that “spot checking” was conducted by the USBC at nearly 4,000 bowling centers covering 85,000 lane beds in 2018 and at 3,300 centers covering 70,000 lane beds in 2019.

The outcome was that the USBC found a large discrepancy from the data reported by the local associations – and that very few centers met all specifications.

It is unknown at this time whether a bowling center’s tier ratings will be tied into bowler average classifications (regular, classified or sport), but that is a probable assumption.

Most local associations have their own inspection tools, which cost hundreds of dollars, and now are wondering what to do with them. That’s a question that Davis asked in communication with other Genesee Region USBC officers and directors.

The USBC is offering a buyback program to offset some of the cost for inspection equipment purchased since 2017, but that doesn’t help the Genesee Region USBC, which bought its equipment several years ago.

So, probably the best answer to that question is to hold on to everything for now and have the tools available for local bowling center proprietors that may want to check their lanes on their own or take tape readings to measure the amount and placement of oil on their lanes.


Two people who had a positive impact upon the local bowling scene for many years have passed away.

Carmella “Millie” (Mortellaro) McVay, 82, and Henry “Hank” Valerych, 92, left us on December 25th. It’s sort of ironic that they died on Christmas Day since they embodied such a “spirit of giving.”

Millie co-owned Joe’s Pro Shop & Trophies since 1975 (which is now operated by her son-in-law, Marty Hein). She always had a smile on her face and a plate of goodies on the table at the Ellicott Street store.

I remember fondly as she and her late daughter, Kathie, assisted the youth bowling program at Mancuso Bowling Center while I was the manager there, and worked tirelessly to churn out the trophies for all the participants.

She retired several years ago to a quiet yet active life, focusing on her loving family that included nine grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. And no matter where I would run into her, she always was ready to offer a hug and a good word.

Hank simply was the engine that powered the charitable giving arm of the Arc of Genesee Orleans, helping those with developmental disabilities by chairing the organization’s membership drive, and Bowl-A-Thon and bowling tournament.

An estimated half-million dollars were raised through Hank’s efforts, much of that through the Bowl-A-Thon. Like clockwork, Hank would travel to Mancuso’s and the other Genesee County bowling centers each year, explaining how the Bowl-A-Thon worked, signing the kids up, collecting the pledges and awarding the trophies to the top fundraisers.

He never pushed, but was very effective. His obituary said it best, “He was a quiet, gentle man, but a force for change, love and respect.”

Speaking for the bowling community, our heartfelt condolences to the families of Millie and Hank.


Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw will attempt to defend his title this weekend as the 66th Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial Tournament unfolds at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.

Gray, 38, defeated Rich Wagner of Batavia in a battle of left-handers last year for the title at Livingston Lanes in Geneseo.

Also signed up to bowl is Kevin’s father, Kevin Sr. of Honeoye Falls, who placed first in the Christmas Eve (morning) tournament at Domm’s Bowling Center in Rochester. Kevin Sr. rolled 268 and 220 in qualifying and went on to win four matches for the $700 top prize.

Frank Jarkiewicz of Byron and Julianna Allis of Medina also cashed, with Allis’ earning going into her SMART scholarship account.

Qualifying squads are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday (and will be done before the Buffalo Bills game at 4:35 p.m.) and 10 a.m. on Sunday, with the semifinals and finals to follow. Re-entry is allowed.

The scratch singles event offers a $1,000 first prize (based on 80 entries) and features competition on two different oil patterns -- a 40-foot "Challenge" pattern during the qualifying rounds and a 45-foot "Challenge" pattern during the semifinals and finals.

The entry fee is $55. To enter, give me a call at 585-861-0404 or send an email to [email protected].


Raiders Lanes in Caledonia, Oak Orchard Bowl, Mount Morris Lanes and Le Roy Legion Lanes will be running tournaments this month.

-- The 6th annual Genesee Region USBC Adult-Junior Doubles handicap tournament will take place on Jan. 10-12 at Raider Lanes. Squad times are 7 p.m. on Jan. 10, noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 11 and noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 12. The entry fee is $45 per team. Competition will be held in two divisions -- 12 & under and 13 & over. Contact Tom Fluker at [email protected].

-- The 8th annual Scott Whittier Memorial 3-person handicap no-tap tournament is set for Saturday, Jan. 11 at Oak Orchard Bowl with squad times at 1, 3, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Entry fee is $60 per team and first place is $600. Call 585-589-6900 after 6 p.m. to sign up.

-- The 42nd annual Mount Morris Pepsi Open scratch singles tournament is scheduled for Jan. 17-19 with qualifying squads at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 17, 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Jan. 19. Finals are set for 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19. Entry fee is $70 ($55 re-entry fee). Call 585-658-2540 to enter.

-- The Help-R-Heroes 4-person handicap no-tap tournament is slated for Jan. 24-26 at Legion Lanes, with squad times at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24, noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 25 and noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 26. First place, based on 40 teams, is $1,000 and the entry fee is $100 per team. Call 585-409-0459 to sign up.

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