This week I would like to discuss the exciting events that took place during this week’s Pepsi PBA Elite Players Championship. The top 4 seeds for this event were Norm Duke, Jason Belmonte, Mike Scroggins, and Mike DeVaney. The scoring pace was extremely high for a television show, and ironically all the players were throwing a completely different line to the pocket.
In the first elimination match Norm Duke was eliminated due to poor pin carry. Norm was playing the outside line between the first and second arrow running around the 6th board. Duke started the match with a pocket 7,10 in which he opened, as well as another pocket 7,10 in the 8th as well. Duke only threw one poor shot all day and it was in the 9th frame where he went through the nose, and left the big four. Norm closed out the match with three in a row, to shoot a 222. Crazy to think a 222 gets you eliminated out of 4 bowlers, but sometimes you don’t lose the match you just get beat.
In the second eliminator match Mike Scroggins needed a strike in the tenth to advance. Scroggins left the greek church, and handed Belmo a ticket to the finals. Scroggins seemed to be lined up pretty well until that last frame where he missed inside and paid dearly for it. Scroggins was the only score below 200 on the day, shooting a 190.
The finals came down to an impressive Mike DeVaney who shot 257, 234 against a struggling Jason Belmonte who shot 237, 205. Before we get into the match, I would like to elaborate on a comment that was made prior to the match by Mike DeVaney in the pre-match interview. DeVaney made a comment “I won’t be watching Belmo, he doesn’t impress me, I’m not interested. I don’t care. I throw it the right way. I put my thumb in there the way I was taught and how everybody should throw it.” While I am a fan of the traditional one handed approach I believe it is sometimes better to let your bowling do the talking. DeVaney had to eat those words later, when he lost to Belmonte in the championship match 255 to 238.
Although Belmonte won the Pepsi PBA Elite Players Championship, he did not have the best overall series, to again back up my point that the best bowler does not always win in this eliminator format, and there is no advantage to being a higher seed in these tournaments. The final series are as follows: Mike DeVaney 257, 234, 238 – 729, Jason Belmonte 237, 205, 255 – 697.
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