Our event this weekend was at Mesa East Bowl which always has a great turn out! This was our first event of the 2021 Spring Circuit and we would have a lot of their league bowlers come out to bowl and take a stab at the prize fund. We had a 2 squad record of 113 total entries (76 qualifying and 37 parlays) with 30 cashers, a 1 in 3.77 cash ratio and a payout of over $5,700.00 in main and side event prize funds. The players bowled on a 39ft PBA Chameleon oil pattern that started off playable and opened up more and more as the day went on. While the bowling center has the characteristic of creating some hook and some high scores, the pins however, really fly and it's very easy to have too much entry angle. The cut scores for the event were all in the +30's which means players had to bowl a few pins over average per game to advance. The players all played around 12-14 at the break point, with some being further left at the arrows and others closer to the gutter and pointing it at the head pin.
We had some new bowlers join us for their first event and we want to welcome Matt Larson, Jonathan Mason, Rayland Hughes, Kevin Brooks, Justin Bauer, Cory Erickson, Dereck Chandler, Anthony Ward, Cami Garden, Trudy Milons, Anthony Milons and Samuel Steel IV who all bowled in their first event this weekend. We hope you all had a good time and look forward to seeing you at our next event. Congrats to Rayland Hughes and Samuel Steel IV who both made it to the quarterfinals in their very first event! Also, congrats to Samuel Steel for being this weekend’s only Parlay Power Player. Samuel was able to qualify for the quarterfinals off of his $25 parlay investment. Congrats to Nathan Hollingsworth for winning Momma’s Mystery Pot, with a score of 157, for $255.00!! Your winner of the free plastic ball raffle, with an option to upgrade to any Track high-performance ball for $85.00, was Rachel Weyrauch.
Since this was a 2 squad tournament, there would be no re-oil before the quarterfinals. This usually means that scores are a bit higher as the bowlers are on the double burn from the previous squads. We would cut down to the Top 2 bowlers in each Division, with the cut coming down to the third game of the quarterfinals. We would see Eric Flick (+15) emerge as the A Division #1 seed and he would have to take on James (JJ) Newell, Jr. (+3). In the B Division we would see Thomas Stead (+147) completely dominate the quarterfinals to become the #1 seed and he would have to square off with Nicholas Berhorst (+79). The C Division would see parlay power player Samuel Steel IV (+92) continue to ride his streak for the #1 seed in his first event and he would have to take on Tucson native Gary Alvarez (+72).
The Semi-Final matches would all be super close with each bowler having a chance to advance to the Finals. The A Division semi-final match would see Eric and JJ go back and forth. Both would open in the fifth frame and the deciding factor would come in the eighth frame as JJ would miss a 7-pin spare attempt to fall behind Eric. Eric would open in the tenth to give JJ a chance, but it would be too little too late as Eric would win the match 194 to 184. The B Division would be another close match as Thomas and Nick would go back and forth, but a couple of splits would keep things close. Thomas would get up in the tenth and leave the Greek Church (3-4-7-9-10), which he was unable to convert. This would give Nick a chance to get a double in order to win the match. Nick’s first shot in the tenth would come off his hand great crushing the pocket for his first strike. The second shot in the tenth would come off his hand good, but looked to sail a little long hitting the pocket light and leaving the 2-10 split, which would give Thomas the win 185 to 177. The C Division would see Samuel taking on Gary with Samuel pulling away in the middle of the match. Two missed single pin spares in the eighth and ninth by Samuel would bring the match closer as Gary would capitalize by doubling in the eighth and ninth. Samuel would finish the match first and would get nine-spare and getting 8 in the fill for 214. Gary would finish up by filling out the tenth to win the match with a score of 230.
Going into the Final match we would see Eric Flick looking at getting his hands on his 4th AHT SFT title. Both Thomas Stead and Gary Alvarez would be making their Finals debuts and were looking to win their first title and the $1,100.00 first place prize.
The Final match would start with Thomas on fire. Thomas would strike in the first three frames while Eric would struggle to get lined up and Gary would strike on the right lane, but keep making spares on the left. It looked like the match was Thomas’s to win, but a chopped 6-9-10 spare attempt would put a small stop to his run of strikes. Eric would spare and finally get his first strike in the fifth while Gary would open in the fourth. Thomas would double in the fifth and sixth and nine-spare in the seventh. Eric and Gary would both start to strike to try and catch up with Thomas. Thomas would leave an untimely split in the eighth (5-10) which he was unable to convert. This would give Gary and Eric a chance to catch up. Eric would strike in the seventh, eighth and ninth to catch up to Thomas. Gary would also double in the eighth and ninth to bring everyone within 10 pins of each other.
Going into the tenth all three bowlers had a chance to win. Eric would crush the pocket on his first shot in the tenth but would leave a stone 8-pin! He would pick up the spare and get 8 on the fill to finish at 226. Gary would get up next and would need to fill out his tenth frame to get by Eric. Gary’s first shot would look good, but hit the friction and would go high in the pocket leaving him the 3-9. Gary would hook at his spare attempt getting the ball a touch right and it would over hook and chop the 3 off the spare to leave him at 221. Thomas was working off a strike in the ninth, so all he needed to do was fill out the frame too. Thomas would throw a great shot to crush the pocket and he would get nine-open to finish at 231. This would give Thomas his first AHT SFT title and $1,100.00!!! Congrats to Eric Flick on 2nd place and Gary Alvarez for 3rd place.
Thank you to everyone that came out and made this event such a great success! We look forward to seeing you all next weekend and AMF McRay.
FINALS - Eric Flick vs. Thomas Stead vs. Gary Alvarez