Saturday, July 22, 2017

Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open

This past week, we competed in our last standard event of the season - the Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open at AMF Gates Lanes. 

This week the pattern was not posted. However, it played long, with light volume and had some dry boards to the right. I played outside near the gutter my very 1st game of the event, shooting 203 using a pin up Columbia 300 Tyrant. I again stayed outside another game, which was a game too long and shot 159. 

After that I decided to go with my backup plan. With everyone playing to the right using a ton of surface, moving pair to pair was going to be extremely difficult. I had found a good look using a pin down Columbia 300 Tyrant playing inside, keeping the ball fairly straight around 17-18. So game 3, I went against the norm, moved in and proceeded to shoot 245, 214, 205 and 267 for +93. My plan worked as each pair was fairly close to the last, since no one was playing there. 

Going into the next block of qualifying, I decided to play inside the entire time, using the same ball. I shot games of 223, 225, 210, and 183. I then switched to a pin up Tyrant and shot 207 and 196 for +137 overall, which put me in 4th position going into the Casher's Round. It took -43 to make the cut to the top 32.

The next morning the lanes were tighter and flatter as expected. I again played inside, but a little deeper using my pin up Tyrant and shot 198 to start. Game 2, I moved back closer to where I had been the day before, but with a tighter angle and shot 213, 245, 236, 212 and 268 for +172 and +309 overall, taking the lead by over 100 pins going into match play. 

Once you make the top 12 for matchplay things get a little confusing, so let me break it down for you. Based on the overall pinfall totals, all of the odd numbered players (1,3,5,7,9, and 11) are on one 6-person bracket and all of the even numbered players (2,4,6,8,10 and 12) are on another 6-person bracket. We then bowl 6 games of round robin matchplay, within our own brackets, with the winner of each match, earning 30 bonus pins. The final game of match play is a position round. The top bowler in each bracket automatically advances to the TV finals. The No. 2, 3, and 4 seeds from each bracket then bowl a stepladder final with the winners of each stepladder also advancing to the TV show. 

My look definitely wasn't as good in matchplay, as the lanes continued to get tighter and flatter, making my line more difficult and my carry not as good. I was leading our bracket and still had the overall lead between both brackets, despite going 2-3 going into Position Round. I was 72 pins ahead of Shannon Pluhowsky in 2nd. 

In the Position Round match, by chance, we happened to bowl on the same pair that I had faced Shannon on earlier in match play, in which I bowled my lowest game - 178 and she shot her highest game - 248. We did get 5 minutes of practice on the pair, in which I did figure out that I needed to move much deeper inside to have a better look. Unfortunately, that also effected my carry. 

I had stayed clean through 8 frames until I left a pocket 8,10 in a crucial situation in the 9th frame. Shannon could have locked me out in the 9th and 10th, but instead gave me a window. 

Going into the 10th frame, I unfortunately received some misinformation. In the heat of the moment with everything going on, my brain was not working correctly to add things up and figure out what I needed. So I asked a trusted person and was told I needed a mark and count to win. So I went up and threw the first shot and got a strike. I then again asked if I just needed count and was told yes, when in fact I needed another strike. 

Any high-level bowler will tell you that it is a big difference in mindset. So I went up, hit the pocket, left a makeable 5 pin and thought I had made the TV show and in the top seed position. Shannon also thought she had lost. And then a few seconds later, I learned that I had indeed missed the TV show by 2 pins. I was devastated, upset and completely in shock. 

Luckily I had over an hour to re-group for the group stepladder finals. I would face the winner of Katelyn Simpson and Kristina Szczerbinski. Kristina defeated Katelyn 212 to 181. 

I decided to play further right, near the track, during the stepladder finals, since Katelyn had used a lot of surface there and since my look inside was all but gone. I made some bad shots in the beginning of the match, but down the stretch threw it very well. 

In the 9th frame, on a string of strikes, Kristina left the Greek church and only got 1, leaving the door wide open for me. The best she could shoot was 208 and I could strike out in the 9th and 10th for 224. I was on a double, threw a great shot and left a pocket 4,5. On the spare attempt, I threw it where I wanted to using my strike ball, but it didn't convert the spare. In the 10th frame, I then needed to strike out to force Kristina to get a mark and I only got the first strike. 

So I finished in 5th place overall at the Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open. 

I am taking the positives from this tournament despite how things turned out: I out-averaged the field playing the lanes where no one else was. My spare game was on point. I made great decisions all week long and I accomplished all of that while getting little sleep and being 16 weeks pregnant. 

I want to also thank a very nice man, who politely reminded me last week in Florida, that "just cashing" isn't exactly where I should be. That nice man happens to be the GOAT - Walter Ray Williams Jr. 

Another BIG thanks to my amazing friend John Janawicz (JJ) for helping me to fix my arsenal and eliminate a ton of balls, which really helped to simplify things this week. 

Thank you to Nationwide for their continued support of the PWBA Tour, to the staff of AMF Gates Lanes for their gracious hospitality and to Columbia 300, High 5 Gear and Vise Inserts for making the best products in the bowling industry. 

Immediately following the tournament, I flew home the next day to attend our gender reveal party. Drew and I will be welcoming a baby boy in December. 

Time for some much needed rest and relaxation with family and friends as we get a week off before heading out again. #PWBA 

Monday, July 10, 2017

The PWBA Florida Tour Stops

The past week and a half I have spent in Florida competing on the PWBA Tour. Our first stop was held in Orlando at Boardwalk Bowl hosted by past PWBA champion Kendra Gaines.

During this stop, we bowled on a very unique  37' pattern. Check it out!

During the 1st block of qualifying, I used my New Hammer Diesel with 1000 grit surface for most of the block, playing straight up 7,  staying out the entire block, just making minor adjustments. 

I shot games of 215, 232, 208 and 228. I then switched to a pin down Scandal Pearl and shot 195 and then switched to a Game Breaker 2 Phenom Pearl for 222 for +100 overall. This put me in 8th position after round 1. 

We then headed out to lunch and got caught in a pretty ugly Florida summer thunderstorm. With a 3 second walk/run from the entrance of the restaurant until the front door, we got completely soaked. Funny now, but not so funny then.

During the night block it was a definite grind! The lanes are always a little different after every strip and re-oil, as they tend to get a little tighter and flatter. I started off with my Columbia 300 Impulse Solid and shot 175. I then switched to my Hammer Diesel and shot 187, 225, 182, 184 and then ended with a big 279 to get me to +132 and in 12th place.

In the Casher's Round, I used a pin Down Tyrant the entire block. I had a good line to the pocket, but I struggled with carry and shot 190, 204 and 179. I then struck out 8th, 9th and 10th for 199 and 213. Being 13th going into the last game, I knew I needed a big game to make the top 12 for match play. I made 12 great shots and bowled a 247 the last game to be the 12th and final qualifier by 3 pins. 

Unfortunately match play didn't go as well, as I couldn't seem to win matches. I went 1-5 shooting +56 scratch and came in 11th place in the tournament. I would have liked to at least make it to the group stepladder for a chance at the TV show, but still a great week overall.

HUGE thank you to Kendra Gaines and the staff of Boardwalk Bowl for the gracious hospitality! Can't wait to head back there again next year! 

I ended up staying in Florida in between the two stops and got a chance to hang out with my good friend John Janawicz (JJ.) On Sunday, I visited the Kennedy Space Center for the 1st time. I went because they had a rocket launch that night, but the launch got cancelled with 10 seconds before takeoff. A big bummer indeed!

On the 4th of July, JJ and I went to Disney Springs for lunch, did a little shopping and then headed to the Disney Polynesian Resort to watch the amazing fireworks from the Magic Kingdom. 

I was also able to practice at the KEGEL Training Center one of the days. This is an amazing facility with some crazy technology. I highly recommend checking it out if you're ever in the area. 

The next leg of the PWBA Tour visited Seminole Lanes in St. Petersburg/Clearwater. This week we bowled on another unique pattern that some say looks like the number 4, and I think resembles a bad game of Tetris. The pattern ended up producing some pretty high scores.

The first block, I used my Scandal with 1000 grit and played far to the right. You had to keep the ball close to the gutter all week. The only problem was that as the pattern developed and more games were bowled, you couldn't move left because there was a cliff of oil. So you had to find the right ball to smoothen out the dry to the right and not over-skid in the oil. I shot 224 game 1 and then switched to my Tyrant and shot 201 and 234. I struggled the next game shooting 171. I then switched to a Paradox Pearl and shot 225 and 195 for +50 overall, which put me in 28th place.

The next block, they did not re-oil the lanes, so we bowled on the burn lanes from the morning. As I previously mentioned, they definitely got a bit tricky. I started off using a newly drilled Dark Legend Solid with the pin above my middle finger and put polish on it. I also had worn a little wrist support that helps me to roll the ball more and I took it off for the second set to help project my ball further down the lane. I shot 200, 258, 191 and 190, changing speeds to compensate for each lane. 

I then, started lofting the ball over the heads with speed to get a better reaction and shot 197. Going into the last game, I knew I needed a good game to make the cut as I was currently in 30th position. I continued with the loft and threw the ball extremely well to shoot 224 for +60 on the block and +110 overall and ended up making the cut which took +89. 

I knew I would need a monster set to make the top 12. Unfortunately things didn't go my way and I ended up coming in 32nd place. Although, I definitely would have liked to do better, I am still glad that I cashed in the event.

BIG thank you to the Kraus family and all of the staff at Seminole Lanes for another wonderful event! 

Super happy for one of my tour roommates Danielle McEwan for making back-to-back TV shows. 

Now time to enjoy being home for a few days before heading to Rochester, NY later this week.

Until then!