Victory in PBA Scorpion Championship revives DeVaney's career


    2009-10 PBA Tour #5

    Pluhowsky records back-to-back titles with PBA Women's Series victory

    200910PBA05MikeDeVaney2.jpg200910PBA05ShannonPluhowsky.jpgSan Diego's Mike DeVaney (pictured left) salvaged his bowling career when he defeated Australia's Jason Belmonte, 189-170, to win the Professional Bowlers Association's Scorpion Championship at Thunderbowl Lanes.

    In the Women's Scorpion Championship that also aired Sunday on ESPN, Shannon Pluhowsky (right) of Phoenix defeated Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., 192-177, for back-to-back PBA Women's Series presented by BOWL.COM victories.

    DeVaney, a 36-year-old journeyman, won his second career PBA Tour title in a contest that saved him and his family from possible financial ruin. Strikes in the eighth and ninth frames, followed by a spare and strike in the 10th, rallied DeVaney to victory over Australia's two-handed bowling sensation.

    Along with a $25,000 first prize, DeVaney also locked up an exemption to bowl on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour for the 2010-11 season and he earned a spot in the end-of-season PBA Experience Showdown presented by BOWL.COM.

    "I came in (to the PBA World Series of Bowling) with all the pressure in the world," DeVaney confessed after his win. "I'm looking at going back home and living on the streets if I don't make any money here.

    "Bowling for a living is a difficult thing to do. To be honest, I lived in my car for two weeks before the World Series started to save enough money to be able to afford to get here," he added. "My wife and two-year-old son stayed with her parents in a retirement community where only one guest is allowed, so I lived in my truck so we could afford to get here.

    "I never had much money as a kid, and what money I have made, I've spent stupidly. Sometimes you have to make a lot of mistakes in your life before you wake up. This is a real blessing for me. I'm extremely fortunate to win this tournament and get back on my feet."

    200910PBA05SeanRash.jpg200910PBA05MikeDeVaney.jpgDeVaney's revelation was surprising based upon his composure under intense pressure during a difficult, low-scoring 182-162 victory over Sean Rash (pictured left) of Wichita, Kan., in the semifinal round before an equally demanding title match. But the difficult scoring conditions, he said, actually played into his plans.

    "Younger bowlers like Sean and Jason aren't used to bowling at a 190 pace," DeVaney (right) said. "They're always looking for 230s. They're not used to bowling low games. I was happy shooting a 190, and if they beat me, they beat me. I knew from the first ball I threw that my scores weren't going to be very good, so I just wanted to throw 10 good shots and leave it out there.

    "I'm not bowling the other guys. I'm bowling the lanes and the pins for a score. If I get caught up in dancing around and all that stuff, then what I'm trying to do isn't going to work. The mental ability to not allow your opponents to affect what you're doing is monumental at this level.

    "I knew I was going to have to grind it out. I think I can play that game pretty well. Today the result was awesome," DeVaney said. "To have things go my way today was a surprise."

    200910PBA05JasonBelmonte.jpg200910PBA05ThomasSmallwood2.jpgDeVaney trailed Rash by 35 pins after six frames, but Rash opened his final four frames while DeVaney threw four strikes and converted a pair of seven-count spares to complete his comeback victory. The title match was similar. Belmonte had a 16-pin lead after six frames, but opened in the eighth and 10th frames while DeVaney filled his final four frames.

    Belmonte (pictured left) won his berth in the title match with a 222-175 win over newcomer Thomas Smallwood (right) of Saginaw, Mich., in the semifinal round. Belmonte opened in the first frame, but then threw six strikes in a row to ruin Smallwood's television debut.

    In the Women's Scorpion Championship, Pluhowsky built a 39-pin lead after seven frames and survived open frames of her own in the ninth and 10th frames to become the first PBA Women's Series presented by BOWL.COM competitor to win three career titles. She also joined Michelle Feldman of Auburn, N.Y., as the second to win back-to-back titles, a feat Feldman accomplished during the 2008-09 season.

    200910PBA05ShannonPluhowsky2.jpg200910PBA05LizJohnson.jpg"I'm glad there weren't many more frames. I'm not sure what would have happened," Pluhowsky (pictured left) said. "It was a bad ending for the great time I had at the World Series. I was fortunate to win.

    "I figured Liz would find a way to win because that's what great players do. Fortunately, she didn't."

    Johnson (right), with a strike in the ninth frame, could have won with a double in the 10th frame, but she left the 3-6 on her first attempt in the final frame.

    Because Pluhowsky, Johnson and 3rd placed Kelly Kulick had previously won titles to qualify for the end-of-season PBA Women's Series Showdown presented by BOWL.COM, Feldman earned the Women's Scorpion Championship berth based upon her fourth-place finish.


    Lumber Liquidators PBA Scorpion Championship

    Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich. (Sept. 6, 2009)

    Mike DeVaney, San Diego ($25,000) def. Jason Belmonte, Australia ($13,000), 189-170.

    DeVaney def. Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan. ($7,000), 182-162.
    Belmonte def. Thomas Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich. ($7,000), 222-175.


    PBA Women's Series presented by BOWL.COM Scorpion Championship

    Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich. (Sept. 6, 2009)

    Shannon Pluhowsky, Phoenix ($10,000) def. Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y. ($6,000), 192-177.


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