Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga has made it to prime time on the PBA Tour.
The 30-year-old left-hander from Cheektowaga qualified second to make the five-bowler stepladder finals of the Rolltech PBA World Championship, which will be shown live on ESPN at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Ciminelli, a four-time Tour winner, will be trying for his third win of the season and second major after winning the Bowlmor AMF U.S. Open in November. First place in the World Championship will be worth $60,000 and second, $30,000. Ciminelli can finish no worse than third for $25,000.
Ciminelli was edged out for the No. 1 seed in the World finals by E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind. Tackett was 16-8 in three rounds of match play, one on Saturday and two on Sunday, at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.
That included a 199-180 triumph over Ciminelli in the position round, leaving him a 72-pin margin over the Buffalo-area bowler.
Ciminelli was 15-9 in his matches. He began by going 7-1 in Saturday’s round with games of 237, 244, 250, 238, 259, 241, 217 and 246.
“This is the highest block I’ve had all week which has really been a boost for my confidence,” Ciminelli said. “I just kept getting more and more comfortable and everything just fell into play. I need to keep riding the wave . . .”
Nine qualifying games in each of the four animal pattern championships in the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII and a six games cashers round determined the match-play field of 24 for the World Championship.
Ciminelli qualified first on the Viper pattern and 20th on the Chameleon. Bowling on five different PBA lane conditions, Ciminelli was averaging 230.4 after Saturday’s matches.
Ciminelli went 4-4 in his second round of matches on Sunday and 4-4 on Sunday night.
Besides Tackett and Ciminelli, the other stepladder finalists for Thursday night are: Gary Faulkner of Memphis, Tenn., Norton of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Rhino Page of Orlando, Fla.
The five finalists are all left-handers except Tackett, who was the 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year.
Also, best-of-five elimination matches began Monday in Cheetah and Viper championships.
John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, who was seeded 22nd, lost his match in the first round to Hall of Famer Norm Duke.
Brad Angelo won his first match in the Viper, then ran into Ciminelli in the second round. Ciminelli won the match, 3-1, with games of 193, 203, 258 and 241. Angelo shot 202, 200, 237 and 180.
Silver medal for Liz
Sunday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga reached the Masters finals of the World Bowling Women’s Championship only to lose the gold medal to Jung Dawun of Korea, 256-183.
Johnson was the top seed for the medal round by more than 200 pins. In the semifinal, she defeated Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, 238-213.
Despite the ending to the tournament, the event overall was a success for Johnson, who won four medals – gold in team, silver in all-events and Masters and bronze in trios. There were five 300 games bowled in the week and Liz had two of them.
“It was a great week, and we accomplished what we came here to do, and that was win the team event,” Johnson said.