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Southgate takes first-half title

Southgate Lanes came roaring down the stretch to wrap up the first-half championship of the BPA Buffalo Beverage Miller Lite All-Stars travel league. The West Seneca team did it the hard way, defeating first-place South Transit, 19-14, on the Lockport team's home lanes to finish with 339 points, three more than South Transit.

Jim Pieczynski led the winners with 268-708. Other team members are Jeff Pohlman (254-698), Janette Pieczynski (259-686), Dan Krurnowski (671) and Jeff Walsh (256-659). Greg Merkle proved a valuable sixth man.

With five weeks left in the round, South Transit owned a 15-point lead over Southgate, which had moved up to second place behind Merkle's 276-749.

Two weeks later, Southgate took over first place by four points only to see South Transit regain a slim lead for the next two weeks before the position round.

The All-Stars averaged 215.54 at South Transit. Today, the All-Stars start the second half schedule with a 2 p.m. start at Orchard Park Lanes, then comes a two-week holiday break.

>An All-WNY duel

Joe Ciccone, Brad Angelo or Tom Baker all made it to the televised final four on the Denny's PBA Tour once in each of the last three weeks. Of the four Western New York pros on tour, only Jack Jurek of Lancaster made it to the Round of 16 of match play on Friday at the Empire State Classic at Spare Time Lanes in Clifton Park.

Angelo of Lockport qualified seventh (231.43) and Jurek was 26th (220.71) in Thursday's qualifying rounds. As luck would have it, they drew each other in the first round of match play. The result was a memorable match.

Jurek came out on top, 4-1, but had to win a roll-off after the two had tied at 279 in the fifth game. Jurek's strike ball topped a nine by Angelo in the rolloff to decide it. Jurek started the final game with nine strikes. Angelo struck on his last nine before the roll-off.

Jurek averaged 242.8 for the match. Angelo knocked 'em over at a 237.6 pace.
The win sent Jurek into his first round of 16 since the 2005 Tulsa Championship, where he finished 11th. Since then, Jurek had not made a match play cut until this week.

Jurek continued his hot pace with a 4-2 victory over Mika Koivuniemi in the Round of 16. He averaged 233.7 for the six games, wrapping it up with a 269-202 victory. Baker was 39th and Ciccone 45th after the 14 games of qualifying and did not make the 32-bowler match-play field.

Three local bowlers entered in the pretournament qualifier to determine the seven pros and the top amateur who would advance to the tournament proper from a qualifier field of 57. Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga was 21st (1,460 for seven games), Jay Nephew of West Seneca was 30th (1,362) and Jeff Walsh of Cheektowaga was 41st (1,333).

So far, Ciccone is enjoying the best season on Tour of the local pros. Here's the breakdown for seven Tour events through last week's Keystone State Classic:

Points -- 8. Ciccone (68,692); 11. Angelo (59,823); 21. Baker (45,464), 42. Jurek (32,069).

Earnings -- 10. Ciccone ($37,900); 13. Baker ($32,000); 15. Angelo ($31,100); 45. (tie), Jurek ($14,800).

Average -- 11. Ciccone (221.15); 22. Angelo (219.28); 44. Jurek (215.23); 52. Baker (213.95).

>PBA mourns Fisher

The NFL and the NBA are known for their polished public relations and marketing operations. As good as they are, they would have a problem topping E.A. "Bud" Fisher.

Fisher, the Professional Bowling Association's first paid employee as its first public relations director, passed away last Saturday at age 83. He was PR director for 30 years and after his official retirement continued to serve the PBA a consultant and more recently served part-time on the PBA Senior Tour.

A police beat reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal, Fisher made the move to the PBA in 1958 when he was hired by PBA founder Eddie Elias. He was well known in Buffalo bowling circles as he traveled here many times beating the drums for PBA Tournaments when the city was a regular stop on the Tour.

>Pin chasers

* Bowlers are invited to participate in the first annual "Strike out MD" bowl-a-thon on March 5 at Transit Lanes. The goal is to have 50 teams participate. Interested teams can contact Kelly or Sue at the Muscular Dystrophy Association office (626-0035). There will be a team captains kick-off meeting at 5 p.m. on Jan. 11 at 5500 Main St., Suite 343, in Williamsville.

* Andy and Kevin Ritz won the Junior Division with 1,747 and Alex and Chris Frey took honors in the Bantam Division of the annual South Transit Adult/Youth No-Tap Tournament. . . . Jen Lotz and Rich Nerber won the Holiday No-Tap Doubles Tournament at South Transit.

* North Tonawanda's John Szczerbinski continues to rack up victories. The North Tonawanda High senior won the most recent Youth Bowlers Tour event with a 395-375 victory over Stephen Yioulos of Rochester at Clover Lanes in Rochester.

* Terry Bennetti bowled a 300 game during match play and went on to defeat top qualifier Glen Hauptman, 241-216, in the title match in Week 14 of the Brunswick Senior Shootout at Transit Lanes. Bennetti's 300 game in a victory over Dan Fortunato, who had 224.

* The Western New York 500 Club Bring-A-Friend Fun Tournament will be Jan. 15 at Airport Lanes. Women interested in 500 Club membership should contact Michele Johnson at 864-1527

e-mail: mnorthrop@buffnews.com

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