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Bowling: Even with spring here, plenty still going on

Winter league bowling is in the process of winding down locally. It's the time for awards banquets and local championship tournaments.

Things are just starting to crank up on other fronts. The USBC Open Championship and side events are going full blast in Syracuse. The USBC Women's Championship got underway last week in Reno, Nev. The PBA50 tour for seniors is holding its second tournament of the season in Florida and the Professional Womens Bowling Association's initial tournament of the season began Friday in Las Vegas.

Reno was also the site for the United States Bowling Congress annual convention. Among the events was the induction ceremony for the 2018 USBC Hall of Fame class at the Grand Sierra Resort. The inductees included: Tennelle Milligan of Mansfield, Texas, and Danny Wiseman of Baltimore in the Superior Performance category, Kendra Gaines of Orlando, Fla., and John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Fla., for Outstanding USBC Peformance, Jeri Edwards of Medina, Ohio, for Meritorious Service and Tim Mack of Indianapolis, Ind., in the Pioneer Category.

With the latest inductions, there will be 425 members of the USBC Hall of Fame - 220 for Superior Performance, 118 for Meritorious Service, 50 Veterans, 21 Pioneers and 16 for Outstanding USBC Performance.

The USBC Hall of Fame was created in 2005 by merging the former American Bowling Congress and Women's International Bowling Congress Halls of Fame.

The PBA50 schedule got under way last week with the Lucas Magazine Classic in New Port Richey, Fla. Non-PBA member Warren Eales of Chandler, Ariz., saw his annual bowling vacation to a PBA50 event have a dream finish. Eales defeated 58-year-old Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr., the all-time leader in PBA Tournament titles, 258-247, in the championship match. Eales, a former PBA member who owns four USBC Open championships, struck out to defeat Walter Ray.

"To strike out in the 10th frame to beat Walter Ray, how could you script it any better? It's a once-in-a-lifetime bowling experience," Eales said.

The tour for senior pros moved on this week to the PBA50 National Championship at Spanish Springs Lanes and Radical in The Villages, Fla. Absent from the tournament roster was Buffalo native Tom Baker of King, N.C., a standout on the senior tour in recent years. Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, who competed on the tour last year, also was not entered.

Western New York native Liz Johnson, now living in Palatine, Ill., the three-time PWBA Bowler of the Year, will be trying to win the title she won in 2016 in the PWBA opening event, the Las Vegas Open.

Opening ceremonies for the USBC Women's Championship were held last Saturday at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. but the competition actually began two days before.

The Women’s Championships will feature more than 4,300 four-player teams and 17,000 total bowlers competing in four-average based divisions in team competition and six divisions in doubles, singles and all-events. A break in the action will allow for the stating of the USBC Queens, a major championship on the PWBA Tour from May 16-22 which will conclude with a live broadcast at 8 p.m. on May 22 on the CBS Sports Network.

New ball specs coming
Among items of business at the USBC Convention were new equipment specifications established by a research committee and approved by the membership.

Changes in bowling ball specifications, which will be phased in starting this August, are a lot of technical mumbo jumbo. Changes that are easier to understand is the rule change allowing only a dry towel to clean bowling balls during competition. It will be effective Aug. 1, 2019. It eliminates the use of liquid cleaners during competition. Another change prohibits the adjusting of static weight during competition by drilling grip holes deeper. That goes into effect Aug. 1, 2020.

Specification changes will not eliminate any bowling balls from competition. All current balls will be grandfathered in. Compliance with specifications affecting static weight will go into effect Aug. 1, 2020.

Pin chasers
X-Pete Zmozynski of Depew, who bowled a 300 game in the team event last week in the USBC Open Championship in Syracuse, now stands 13th in singles with 716 and eighth in All-Events with 2,028. Zmozynski and his teammates on Friendly Foes Too are now 25th with a 2,935 total.

X-As of Monday, John Masiello of Kenmore was fourth in Senior Singles and second in Super Senior Singles (60 and over) at the Bowlers Journal Championship in Syracuse. The Bowlers Journal event, an annual side event to the USBC Open is at AMF Strike 'N Spare Lanes in Syracuse. Masiello and George Szczeblewski of West Seneca are tied for ninth in Senior Doubles with 1,274.

X-Bowl For a Cure is the early leader in the Handicap Team division of the Greater Buffalo USBC Open Championship, which started on Tuesday at Kenmore Lanes. Bowl For A Cure put a 2,984 on the board, which is significant because the winning total in last year's City Tournament at AMF Lancaster Lanes was 2,915.

X-Noticably absent from recent PBA Tour events such as the USBC Masters in Syracuse was John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, who has taken time off from the Tour to finish his college degree.

X-The Tonawandas USBC Association 76th City Championships will open on Tuesday at the Tonawanda Bowling Center on Young Street.#

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