dallas strikers win pba league elias cup
sunday, 5.8.2016
the dallas strikers won the 2016 pba league elias cup (photo courtesy pba llc)
portland, maine 锟?making the 锟絩ight锟?lane choice throughout the professional bowlers association league elias cup elimination rounds proved to be the correct strategic move as the gobowling.com dallas strikers ended four years of frustration in capturing the elusive team championship at bayside bowl.

the 2016 elias cup finals aired on sunday on espn.

pba hall of famer norm duke, the only player-manager in the pba league program, made a series of eyebrow-raising decisions 锟?going all the way back to december when he traded two proven stars for a pair of untested young power players 锟?but in the end, after pulling off a 204-180 victory over the geico new york city wtt kingpins in the decisive baker team finale, duke led his team to its first elias cup.

锟絣ook at the smile on my face,锟?duke grinned. 锟絠t was just an amazing experience. when you锟絭e got this many years under your belt, and this many appearances on television, and this many narrow misses锟絫o explain the feeling on the approach after this one doesn锟絫 even compute.

锟絫his is a different environment, a different event,锟?he continued, adding very deliberately, 锟絯e are the elias cup champions.锟?

the elias cup finale involved a singles match (duke defeated nyc锟絪 marshall kent, 203-168); an alternative ball doubles match (the kingpins锟?john szczerbinski and mike fagan overwhelmed duke and bill o锟絥eill, 224-178), and a baker trios match, won by the kingpins锟?scott norton, pete weber and kent, 256-178, over dallas锟?tommy jones, shawn maldonado and bj moore. with a 2-1 edge in the one-point preliminary matches, all signs pointed to the kingpins regaining the cup they won in the pba league锟絪 first season in 2013.

with the three-point baker team match yet to come, duke took himself out of the anchor position, inserted jones in that role, and made the call for his team to finish the contest on the right lane that had served the team well in its previous matches. but things didn锟絫 go as expected. duke started the game on the left lane with a 4-10 split and an open frame, and then the team moved to the right lane, duke left a 7-10 split and opened again.

in the meantime, o锟絥eill, maldonado and moore put together a string of three strikes on the elusive left lane while nyc struggled on the right, falling into a 19-pin hole. duke锟絪 second split brought the kingpins back to within 10 pins, but new york city didn锟絫 get a double until the 10th frame. maldonado and moore 锟?two young power players duke landed in a trade with the shipyard brewing portland lumberjacks for proven stars liz johnson and ryan ciminelli 锟?both made key shots to help dallas secure its lead. jones locked up the elias cup with three strikes in the 10th frame for a 204-180 team win.

锟絠锟絤 glad we put it back in tommy锟絪 hands because i was the weakest link that last game,锟?duke said. 锟絠 put the rock in the right person锟絪 hand at the right time, and he delivered every single time.锟?

winning the cup, however, was the result of key contributions by each team member at a critical juncture, duke added.

锟絪ometimes it was me, sometimes it was bill o锟絥eill. maldonado was stellar. and bj moore?锟?duke asked. 锟絧eople don锟絫 realize what he just did. he锟絛 never bowled on television, and he just walked up there, every single time, like it was nothing. he reminded me of me when i was a kid.

锟絯hatever we needed to do, we did it as a team,锟?he continued. 锟絠t was so good.锟?

there was little question, however, that jones was the correct choice as the mark roth most valuable player in the elias cup competition.

锟絘nytime you win something with mark roth锟絪 name on it, is special,锟?jones said after roth presented him with the trophy. 锟絠 grew up idolizing mark, and having the chance to get to know him a bit over the years has been amazing. to have a trophy i can put in my trophy case with his name on it 锟?there锟絪 nothing like it.锟?

at the conclusion of the pba league competition, pba ceo and commissioner tom clark, along with bayside bowl proprietor charlie mitchell, announced the pba league will return to portland and an expanded, re-designed bayside bowl for the fifth annual pba league elias cup competition in 2017.

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final standings: gobowling.com dallas strikers ($60,000) def. geico new york city kingpins ($50,000), 4-2.

singles match (one point): norm duke, dallas, def. marshall kent, new york city, 203-168.

alternate ball doubles (one point): new york city (john szczerbinski/mike fagan) def. dallas (norm duke/bill o锟絥eill), 224-179.

baker trios (one point): new york city (scott norton/pete weber/marshall kent) def. dallas (tommy jones/shawn maldonado/bj moore), 256-187.

five-player baker team (three points): dallas (norm duke/bill o锟絥eill/shawn maldonado/bj moore/tommy jones) def. new york city (mike fagan/pete weber/marshall kent/john szczerbinski/scott norton), 204-180.
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