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Abbott team turns heads with 3,057 set

The stars must have been in alignment on the night of April 6, Good Friday, when Geno Walh and his Abbott Lanes teammates bowled their match in the Hammond Pro Shop/Darin Tesmer Memorial League at Abbott Lanes.

The Abbott team turned in a 3,057 total pinfall for their series that night, at the time the third-best four-man team series bowled this season in the United States, according to Greater Buffalo USBC Association President Greg Merkle.

"It was just one of those nights when all the breaks went our way," Walh said of his team's powerhouse set.

Joe DiNardo led the way with an 847, which included a 290 and a 300 game. Walh bowled a 275-751, Joe Wagner 268-730 and Troy Kruszka 300-729. They had a 1,082 single game, an impressive 270.5 a man.

For the season, all four are averaging well over 200, led by DiNardo, whose average is in the 230s.

How tough must the competition be in the Friday night league? You'd think a power-packed lineup like that would be at least a contender for the league championship.

"We finished in 11th place," Walh said. "It's a tough league. The championship team had bowlers like Joe Trimper Jr., Paula Trimper, Luke Hammond and Jim Winsor.

"Our team has been bowling together for about four years. Troy and I have been bowling together longer than that," said Walh, 32, a Lackawanna High graduate who is now a delivery man for a uniform services company.

For the record, the USBC lists the high three-game series by a team of four male bowlers as 3,251 by the DAHS All-Stars of Levittown in 2010. At the same time they set the listed four-man single game record of 1,165.

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Baker, Helmer honored

Tom Baker and the late Kerm Helmer were among those inducted Thursday to the USBC Hall of Fame during the USBC's convention in Arlington, Texas.

Helmer was a dedicated promoter and activist in the development of youth and collegiate bowling and the founder of the men's and women's bowling teams at Erie Community College. He led the Kats to 16 NJCAA men's and 21 women's NJCAA titles and each had a pair of national titles.

"Over the past few years, I have come to realize what an icon my father was in the sport of bowling," Helmer's daughter, Kelli, said. "I am proud to be his daughter, and to accept this honor on his behalf."

Baker, 57, won 10 PBA Tour titles between 1980 and 2004, including the 2004 PBA World Championship. He has won nine titles on the PBA Senior Tour, was inducted to the PBA Hall of Fame in 1999, and was No. 40 on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in PBA History.

"When I first started bowling, I never dreamed that major championships and halls of fame would be a part of my career," Baker said. "I want to give my heartfelt thanks to USBC for recognizing me with this induction. I am truly honored."

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Szczerbinski team soars

John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda got together with some of his former Wichita State bowling teammates at the USBC Open last week. Szczerbinski led the team, CareerAthletes.com, into second place in the regular team (five bowler) standings with a 710 series. CareerAthletes.com had games of 1,138, 1,098 and 1,108 for a 3,344 total. His teammates were Jesse Buss (702), A.J. Demond (690), Chris Drewes (634), and Casey Slaughter (608).

Also at the Open, R. Jeffery Ward of Lancaster (268-739) stands 18th in regular singles while Joe Burgio of Buffalo is 22nd (290-733). Andy Ochal of Hamburg is tied for 59th with 712.

Jeremy Crist of Bemus Point (688) and Jeff Wadsworth of Lakwood (659) stand tied for 18th in regular doubles with 1,347.

Szczerbinski (685) and Drewes are 36th with 1,332. Former Buffalonian Mike Dirmyer (676) of Avondale, Ariz., and Burgio (648) are 45th with 1,324.

Meczynskis I of Buffalo is still on the regular team leader board at 42nd with 3,054.

Wadsworth is 18th in all-events with a 2,052. Burgio is tied for 62nd in all-events with 1,989.

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Big events on the way

The Greater Buffalo USBC Association's Open and Women's Championship will get under way with opening night festivities at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at AMF Thruway Lanes.

The George A. Obenauer Masters is a little more than two weeks away. It opens with qualifying May 15, at Transit Lanes in Williamsville. Finals will be May 20.

email: mnorthrop@buffnews.com