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Silver Lake Atom Splitters win third PBA League Elias Cup

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The Go Bowling! Silver Lake Atom Splitters became the first team to win three OceanView at Falmouth PBA League Elias Cup championships, winning in a dominant performance over the Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

The two match, best-of-two-game finals, part of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule, aired Sunday as the PBA Tour’s final telecast on ESPN.

Silver Lake, the winner of back-to-back Elias Cups in 2014 and ’15, ended a two-year dry spell in a sweep over the Hitmen, who had never bowled in the Elias Cup finals. After a dominant semifinal round win over the Barbasol Motown Muscle, the Atom Splitters’ Jesper Svensson, Dick Allen, AJ Johnson, Tom Daugherty and Chris Barnes had only one close call in a four-game sweep.

From left to right: Barnes, Svensson, Allen, Daugherty and Baker, with PBA’s Kimberly Pressler and Tom Clark.

After winning the opening game, 248-189, on the strength of seven strikes in the first eight frames, game two came down to a 10th frame showdown where Atom Splitters’ anchor Barnes threw three strikes to force Matt Sanders to match the effort to force a roll-off. Sanders ran the Hitmen’s string of strikes five, but on his final ball in the 10th frame, Sanders left a 9 pin and Silver Lake claimed a 216-215 decision.

With match one secured, and Philadelphia running into spare-shooting difficulties, Silver Lake easily won game three, 202-163. The Atom Splitters completed the sweep by throwing the first six strikes in game four, winning again, 246-192.

“We went undefeated, but on every shot, you do the math in your head and take it one shot at a time,” Silver Lake manager Mark Baker said.

“My guys really bowled well. Really well. We played the lanes a little differently than everyone else, and our shot wasn’t going away. Jesper (above left) was Jesper. Dick Allen (right) bowls great in this place. Daugherty, except for the solid 8, struck on about every ball. Putting Chris (Barnes) last relaxed (Dick) and I think that was the big difference.

“This is so much fun,” Baker continued. “It’s hard to explain to anyone who has never been here what the atmosphere is like. The first shot thrown (in the final round) gave me goosebumps. I don’t bowl any more. It wasn’t even my team, but that’s how electrifying it is here.”

While the entire Atom Splitters team bowled well, the decision to award the Mark Roth PBA League Most Valuable Player Award came down to Chris Barnes’ three-strike, 10th frame performance in game two of the Elias Cup finals. Barnes (left) also won the inaugural Roth MVP award in 2014, making him the first two-time winner.

“That’s pretty cool, but I look at it as more of a team thing,” Barnes said. “We all struck a lot. We only had a couple of close games. I struck out to win one. It was a big one to win, but if it hadn’t been for a stone 8 (by Daugherty, right), we wouldn’t have been in a position where I needed to do that.

“Our guys were really clicking for the most part. We never had more than one person in between strikes and even then, we were all lined up,” he added. “(Philadelphia) just couldn’t get all of its guys going at the same time, and that’s always the issue here.” (pictured left is AJ Johnson)

At the conclusion of the event, PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark announced the PBA League will return to Bayside Bowl in 2019 as part of the PBA’s new television package with FOX Sports. Details will be announced later.

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Silver Lake Atom Splitters from left: Jesper Svensson, Tom Daugherty, Dick Allen, Mark Baker, Chris Barnes and AJ Johnson.

Oceanview at Falmouth PBA League – Championship Match

Single-elimination, two best-of-two-game Baker format matches

Go Bowling! Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Jesper Svensson, Dick Allen, AJ Johnson, Tom Daugherty, Chris Barnes) def. Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen (Ronnie Russell, Chris Loschetter, Tom Smallwood, Dom Barrett, Matt Sanders), 2-0 (248-189 and 216-215; 202-163 and 246-192).

2018 PBA League Final Standings

Final position based on match play records followed by total pinfall

1, Go Bowling! Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Jesper Svensson, Dick Allen, AJ Johnson, Tom Daugherty, Chris Barnes; manager Mark Baker), $60,000
2, Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen (Ronnie Russell, Chris Loschetter, Tom Smallwood, Dom Barrett, Matt Sanders; manager Jason Couch), $50,000
3, Shipyard Dallas Strikers (Bill O’Neill, player-manager Norm Duke, Kyle Sherman, Tommy Jones, Rhino Page), $35,000
4, Barbasol Motown Muscle (Josh Blanchard, Shota Kawazoe, Francois Lavoie, Anthony Simonsen, EJ Tackett; manager Del Ballard Jr.), $35,000
5, GEICO NYC WTT KingPins (Sam Cooley, Anthony Pepe, Pete Weber, BJ Moore, Marshall Kent; manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard), $25,000
6, OceanView at Falmouth Brooklyn Styles (Walter Ray Williams Jr., Parker Bohn III, Jason Sterner, Sean Rash, Matt O’Grady; manager Johnny Petraglia), $25,000
7, bowlingball.com L.A. X (Stuart Williams, Martin Larsen, Osku Palermaa, Jason Belmonte, Jakob Butturff; manager Andrew Cain), $25,000
8, Port Property Management Portland Lumberjacks (Ryan Ciminelli, Jojoe Yannaphon, DJ Archer, Kyle Troup, Wes Malott; manager Tim Mack), $25,000.

Author: Herbert Bickel
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