Darrell Coonrad turned in the best clutch performance of his bowling career Sunday.
In one of the most dramatic finishes in major local tournament history, Coonrad rallied to beat Ray Cyr in a two-frame roll-off, 60-48, in the finals of the sixth annual Joe Donato Scratch Singles tournament at Sportsman’s Bowl.
Coonrad, a 34-year-old Waterford resident, was down 34 pins
after three frames in the final match. And he looked completely lost.
Cyr, a regional pro who runs his own pro shop in Utica, started with three strikes in a row. Coonrad struggled early, failing to make a 3-9-10 split as well as leaving a pair of multiple-pin spares.
But Cyr, who was bowling a deep inside line, lofting the ball from in front of the ball return, failed to convert a 4-9 split in the fourth frame and then made a 10-pin spare in the fifth frame before tossing a pair of strikes.
Coonradt moved deeper inside himself, and finally found the line with five consecutive strikes. His 20-pin count in the 10th frame forced Cyr, who left back-to-back
9-pins, to mark in the final frame. Cyr made the 3-6-10 spare, and needed only eight pins to close out Coonrad. Instead, Cyr left another 3-6-10, and the game went to a ninth- and 10th-frame roll-off.
Cyr went first in the roll-off, and carried a swishing strike. Coonrad then carried four strikes in a row. Cyr got another late-mixing strike on his first shot in the 10th, but his next shot left a 4-pin, giving the win to Coonrad.
“He’s awesome,” said Coonrad of Cyr. “He bowled very well. I had to make a big move. I probably moved seven boards left from where I started in the final game. This pair was [hooking] a lot more than any other pair I played on today.”
Coonrad said that even though he fell behind early to a tournament-tested opponent, he didn’t give up.
“I kept trying, but I thought my strikes were too late,” he said. “I was down by a lot, but I got lucky. I finally found a spot where I was getting a good roll on the ball.”
Coonrad earned a first-place check for $4,000, while Cyr took home $2,000.
A solid scratch bowler for many years, Coonrad carries a 230
average in the Mechanicville City league at Hometown Lanes, as well as a 226 average in a league at
Cohoes Arena. He also has three Huck Finn bowling titles to his credit, and owns 25 perfect games as well as 13 800 triples.
But he said the Donato Scratch Singles title is the most important tournament victory of his career.
“This is by far my biggest check, and it’s definitely my first roll-off win. I’m speechless,” said Coonrad, who works at CDPHP. “I can’t
believe I had the chance to win. Somebody up there blessed me.”
Cyr, who knocked off Bill Webb, 246-231, in the semifinals, is a graduate of Erie Community College.
“I guess I didn’t bowl well enough,” he said when asked about his success with his deep-inside angle of attack.
The Donato Scratch Singles tournament drew 469 entries over the last two weeks. Ninety-one bowlers qualified for the semifinals, where they bowled four more games.
The top 22 bowlers made the finals. The highest two seeds
received two byes for match play, while the next two seeds earned one bye for match play. All semifinalists received a minimum of $120.
The event drew many of the top bowlers in the Northeast, including PBA legend Mark Roth, who failed to earn a spot in the semifinals.
Nick Bouyea of Plattsburgh was the top qualifier in the semifinals with a four-game total of 921. He and former champion Steve Wagoner of Broadalbin earned two byes for match play, while Coonrad (870) and Webb (868) got one bye apiece.
Qualifiers — Nick Bouyea 921, Steve Wagoner 913, Darrell Coonrad 870, Bill Webb 868, Ray Cyr 860, James Mack 858, Dave Jecko 852, Joe Mazuryk 852, Craig Taylor 847, Dan Kryzak 838, Jason Baker 828, Mark Kepner 825, Jeff Young 823, Dustin Paupst 822, Mark Taylor 814 Ryan Abel 813, Bob Caputo Jr. 813, Matt Sherman 811, Pete Dougherty 809, Dave Soulier 804,Nick Miseno 802, Gary Bingham 801. All qualifiers receive at least $125.
Other top bowlers — Mike Rose 800, Jim Iaconio 796, Scott Rogers 793, Rick Mochrie 793, John Furey 792, George Gorman 791, Warren Guernsey 788, Lee Aiezza 787, Dale Brooks 780, Mark James 778, Jim Turner 777, Sonny Dorstek 775, Robert Northrup 775, Dan Ahl 774, Eric Kepner 773, Tim Banta 772, Mike Drexel 771, Shane Companion 765, Jesse Knapp 763, Nate Roberts 761, B.J. Lawyer 759, Gil Jimenez 758, Rob Daigneault 756, Gary Cordi 749, Mark Dragoon 749, Ron Gardner 749, Jeff Zielonko 748, tom DiBell 747.
First round — M. Kepner def Caputo,
211-182; Kryzak def. Dougherty, 197-147; Paupst def. M. Taylor, 206-179; Miseno def. Mazuryk, 200-190; G. Bingham def. Jecko, 211-179; Baker def. Sherman, 216-194; C. Taylor def. Soulier, 226-192; Abel def. Young, 229-201.
Second round — Webb def. G. Bingham, 235-161; C. Taylor def. Abel, 222-166; Cyr def. Baker, 231-206; Coonrad def. Miseno, 212-181; Kryzak def. Paupst, 236-219; Mack def. M. Kepner, 230-179.
Quarterfinals — Webb def. C. Taylor, 215-155; Cyr def. Bouyea, 257-186; Coonrad def. Kryzak, 247-213; Mack def. Wagoner, 246-236.
Semifinals — Cyr def Webb, 246-231; Coonrad def. Mack, 224-206.
Finals — Coonrad def. Cyr, 208-208 (60-48 in roll-off). Coonrad wins $4,000; Cyr wins $2,000.