Batavian Devon Leach climbs stepladder to win GRUSBC Scratch Memorial Tournament
Batavian Devon Leach’s gutsy move toward the end of the title match of Sunday’s 68th Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial Tournament paid off in the best possible way as the 28-year-old right-hander defeated LeRoyan Tom Rohl for the $700 first prize.
Down by 13 pins after seven frames – and just coming off a split – Leach went into his bag for a different ball and proceeded to roll three consecutive strikes en route a 203-174 victory at Letchworth Pines in Portageville.
“I had been using the (Global 900) Honey Badger Extreme until then but figured it was time to switch to the (Storm) UFO Alert,” said Leach, who captured his first scratch singles tournament by running the table in the five-bowler stepladder finals.
Entering as the No. 4 seed after posting 822 in the four-game semifinals on the difficult Autobahn “Sport” condition, Leach turned back Mike Malone of Dansville, 236-176; Adam Philp of Batavia, 198-195, and Brett Van Duser of Perry, 192-154, before facing Rohl.
Rohl dominated the 15-bowlers semifinals, recording games of 198, 254, 241 and 231 for a 924 series – 93 pins better than Van Duser’s 831. The lefty’s chances for victory against Leach were thwarted, however, by splits in the final two frames.
Still, the two-time GRUSBC Masters champion, earned $360 for his efforts.
Leach, who bowls in four leagues, made headlines earlier this season with an 802 series in league play at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia. He is part of the large Leach and Bacon bowling family, but took up the sport in earnest only about eight years ago.
He is employed at Oldcastle Bonsal American concrete factory in Batavia.
Van Duser, proprietor of Perry Bowling Center, finished in third place, earning $280, while Philp took home $240 and Malone won $220.
Philp, who led the 12:30 p.m. Saturday four-game qualifying squad with 837, needed a double in the 10th to defeat Leach, but left the 2-pin after getting the first strike.
Shawn Hurlburt of Freedom, who led the 10 a.m. Sunday qualifying squad with 839, placed sixth, good for $150, and defending champion Jake Rosenbeck, who was second on the Sunday qualifying squad with 823, finished seventh, earning $140.
Other cashers were Mickey Hyde of Le Roy, $135; Brian Weber of Perry, $130; Scott Culp of Honeoye Falls, $125; Brady Weber of Perry, $120; Anthony Drum of Dansville, $115; Mike Pettinella of Batavia, $110; Austin Hawker of Geneseo, $105, and Mel Helms of Nunda, $100.
Helms led the 4 p.m. Saturday qualifying squad with 843 and earned a $25 bonus as the overall high qualifier.
The tournament drew 66 entries. Five bowlers advanced to the semis from the first squad, four from the second squad and six from the third squad.
The GRUSBC will be running a handicap doubles no-tap tournament on Feb. 19 at Mount Morris Lanes. An entry form can be downloaded from www.bowlgr.com.
Submitted photo above: Mike Pettinella, GRUSBC association manager, presents the first place check to Devon Leach as runner-up Tom Rohl looks on following Sunday's Scratch Memorial Tournament at Letchworth Pines in Portageville.
Scratch Memorial finalists, (from left) Tom Rohl, Brett Van Duser, Adam Philp, Devon Leach and Mike Malone.