Is two-handed bowling about to become the newest rage?
Jason Belmonte, the 25-year-old Australian who is the poster boy of the two-handed style, led the qualifying for match play after 27 games in this week's PBA World Championship in Wichita, Kan.
Belmonte, who was World Bowler of the Year last season, averaged 233.93 heading into match play after he averaged 233.04 through 18 games of qualifying. That included a 300 game.
Belmonte started Thursday's six-game qualifying block with a 188. The 300 followed the next game. It was the first perfect game of the tournament. Dino Castillo authored the second later in the day.
"I was sweating a bit there," Belmonte said. "You're always thinking the worst after a bad start. When I pulled it back for a 300, I definitely felt like it was a big weight off my shoulders."
Two of the four Western New York pros with PBA Tour exemptions qualified for the start of match play Friday night.
Brad Angelo of Lockport was ninth with a 220.67 average, just missing the top eight finish that would have seeded him into the Super 16 round.
PBA Senior League points leader and 2004 PBA World champion Tom Baker was 17th. The Buffalo native had a 217.30 average.
Jack Jurek of Lackawanna made the casher's round of the 53 top qualifiers but missed the 40 bowler match-play field. He was 44th at 209.93.
There was a strong Western New York presence in Wichita.
Besides Angelo, Baker and Jurek, another casher was former Erie Community College bowler Ryan Abel, who qualified 21st for match play, averaging 216.15.
Former University of Nebraska star Lindsay Baker of Amherst finished 69th (208.11), posting the top finish among the female bowlers in the field of 193. Tom Sorce of Blasdell was 76th (206.22), Tour pro Joe Ciccone of Buffalo was 83rd (205.16), John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda and Wichita State University was 86th at 204.56, and Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga was 100th at 201.04.
Pepsi League turns 50
Fifty years ago, the late Eugene Heidenburg Sr., president of the Bowling Proprietors Association of Western New York, and the late Ruby Paster, president of the local Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., sat down and reached an agreement on the sponsorship of a bowling program for young people.
The result was the Pepsi Youth Travel League that has endured to this day. Pepsi made an initial contribution of $5,000, which went toward uniforms, a banquet, trophies and scholarships and has given financial support to the league each year since.
The league began its 50th season earlier this month with more than 150 boys and girls representing 14 bowling centers. The numbers are down from peak years because there are fewer bowling establishments in existence but the Pepsi League is still an important training ground for the cream of Western New York's bowlers.
Talents such as Jurek, Ciminelli and Sue Jeziorski came out of the Pepsi League along with countless other classic league and recreational league bowlers.
For years the Pepsi League was administered by Jean Palmer, for whom a scholarship is named. Under Palmer, the Youth Leaguers had to adhere to a stringent code for dress on the lanes and behavior.
"Jean had a strong influence on the league," said Eugene F. "Whitey" Heidenburg Jr., executive secretary of the BPAWNY. "Jean wasn't a bowler herself but she worked for years at Suburban Lanes.
"The bowlers had such respect for her that to this day that many of them still refer to her respectfully as Mrs. Palmer."
*The Family 25 Inc. will holds its "Kids Against Violence Halloween Bowling Party" from 10 a.m.-noon today at Kerns Bowling Lanes, 163 Kerns Ave. Youth enrolled in the program have enjoyed several weeks of Saturday bowling. All Family 25 members are invited to today's event and to join in the spirit of Halloween by wearing costumes, bowl and enjoy pizza and other refreshments.
*The New York State Women's 600 Bowling Clubs 35th Annual Region I Tournament will be held at Spare Time Bowling Center on Nov. 8-9. Squads will start at 1 p.m. Any woman who has bowled a 600 scratch series in a certified league or tournament is eligible to join the club and/or bowl in the tournament. Contact Elaine Koszuta (656-0690) or Sandie Snyder (655-9902).
*The first of the Jamestown Bowling Company's Kegel Navigational Pattern Sweepers will be Sunday at 7 p.m. Dates after that will be Nov. 9 and 23; Dec. 7 and 21; Jan. 4 nd 18; Feb. 1 and 15; March 1, 15 and 29; April 12 and 26 and May 10 and 24. Jackpots and brackets will be available. Call Jim Mee at 483-1818.