In the Pocket: Smith eases off on fastball, finds success

Photo providedLefty Chris Smith leads the Sportsman’s Majors league with a 245 average.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Photo provided

Lefty Chris Smith leads the Sportsman’s Majors league with a 245 average.

Former baseball pitcher Chris Smith loves power and speed, but he discovered this season that taking just a little off that fastball and concentrating more on the curve can produce big scores when competing on the bowling lanes.

The 30-year-old left-hander is having his best 10-pin season, averaging a robust, league-leading 245 in the Sportsman’s Majors Monday nights at Sportsman’s Bowl. A loyal fan of Hammer equipment, Smith uses the Web 2.0 on Monday nights, but he also owns plenty of other Hammer equipment, including many of the Redemption series balls, when he competes in his other two leagues at Town & Country Lanes. In those two leagues, he averages 235 and 227, respectively.

Smith normally fires his bowling balls with tons of revs and speed (19.5 mph), but he tweaked his game just a little before this pandemic-plagued season.

“I made a change in my game at the beginning of the year,” said the Colonie High School and SUNY Oneonta graduate. “I usually roll the ball as fast as I can, but I moved to the right of the lane and began to swing the ball and slow it down just a little. I’ve probably carried the best I ever have. It’s been a nice first half of the season, and I thought my average would come down a little, but it hasn’t. I’ve been locked in there on Monday nights.”

Smith learned the game from his dad, regional standout Andy Smith, who runs Universal Auto Parts and has sponsored many bowling events over the years.

“I’ve bowled since I was 3 or 4 years old,” the younger Smith noted. “I started bowling at The Bowlers Club, and my mom worked the front desk. My dad taught me how to bowl, even though he’s a right-hander and I’m a lefty. Our styles are very different. I’ve pretty much been a cranker my whole life.”

Although he’s always loved bowling, baseball was Smith’s true passion growing up, and many of his baseball skills helped his bowling game.

“Baseball was my life,” Smith said. “But a shoulder injury took me out of the game. I was a pitcher at Colonie and at Oneonta, but my senior year in college, a shoulder injury ended my baseball career.”

Smith not only excelled in high school and college, but he also was a star for the Albany Twilight League’s Albany Athletics, who won the Stan Musial World Series during his run with the team.

“Baseball was always No. 1 for me,” he said.

The multi-talented Smith tossed a career-best 848 triple at Spare Time Latham during a 1,105 four-game series there. Despite the fact that he took five years off from bowling to devote to his baseball career, he’s collected 18 perfect games and 12 800 triples. Before this season, his highest average was a 238 at Town & Country Lanes.

Smith won the inaugural Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York Huck Finn Junior Championship as a youngster, but he hasn’t had time to notch any other major tournament wins just yet.

“I don’t have any big tournament wins yet, but I haven’t been to that many, especially this season,” he said. “My goal is to try and get in more tournaments. There are a lot of them coming up in March and April.”

But despite his love of the game, Smith said he won’t bowl during the summer.

“That’s when I play a lot of golf and softball,” he said. “Since my shoulder injury, I play the extra hitter in softball. In golf, I mainly play with friends. I’m not a serious golfer. I usually play with my dad, Rich Rogaski and Jim Mueller [son of multiple Schenectady Classic champion with the same name].”

Smith is currently the assistant service manager for Homestead Funding Corporation, but he’s dabbled in numerous pursuits since graduating from college, including serving as the brokerage coordinator and internal wholesaler at MassMutual, working at both Golf Galaxy and Key Bank, and twice serving as an intern helping to run camps and clinics for the Tri-City ValleyCats .

His dad is already a well-known local kegler with plenty of accolades under his belt. Look for the powerful Smith to continue to make a name for himself in local and regional bowling circles.

STRIKES & SPARES

The Schenectady USBC Open Championship, previously known as the annual City Tournament, will be held over two weekends at Sportsman’s Bowl. The first weekend dates will be Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 27 at 2:30 p.m. and Feb. 28 at noon and 3 p.m. The second weekend will be March 12 at 6:30 p.m., March 13 at 2:30 p.m. and March 14 at 2 p.m. Entry fee will be $25 for the three-person team event, plus $10 for optional handicap singles or scratch singles, as well as for scratch team. The tournament is open to all bowlers, but those bowlers sanctioned in other associations must pay the $7 transfer fee. Handicap will be 90% of 240. Top prize for the team event will be $1,200, based on 80 teams. Scratch and handicap brackets will be available. For more information, contact association manager Lloyd Denny (518-370-0614) or Schenectady USBC president Bill Nolan (518-210-3639)

Lefty David Wolf recorded a 935 handicap triple to capture the Amateur League Bowlers of New York’s annual Valentine’s No-Tap Tournament over a field of 70 bowlers Sunday at Town & Country Lanes. Wolf earned $400. Rounding out the top prize list were Kim Wilson (908, $200), Bill Barthelmas (906, $100), Adam Hadden (892, $90), Earl LeMay (892, $85), Trey Meher (890, $80), Lefty Douglas (882, $75), Brian Collis (866, $70), Ken Graham Jr. (864, $65), Bill Douglas (864, $60), Charles Northrup (855, $50), Bud Burton (851, $50) and Nicole Graham (843, $50). Bill Douglas bowled as both a right-hander and left-hander. He also earned three of the 25 bonus pots for handicap no-tap 300 games. Three others earned $40 gift cards to The Warehouse at Huck Finn. The next event will be March 14 9:30 a.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl.

The Clifton Park team of Jackson Brewer, Matthew Rogers, Jonathan Bauer and Andrew Bauer shot 3,017 to win the Class A title in the New York State Team Qualifying Tournament last weekend at Sportsman’s Bowl. The Hilltop Bowl team of Olivia DeCitise, Leigha Henkel, Devyn Riffelbach and Lauren Buess shot 2,970 to win the scratch title, while the Towne Bowling Academy team of Zachary Gilbert, Parker Lachanski, Dominick Salamone and Matthew Rogers shot 2,215 to win Class B.

Anthony Scaccia and Kyle Haines have started a new bowling talk show called “Down Lane Podcast” Thursdays at 7 p.m. It’s available on YouTube and will have PBA star Bill O’Neill on this week.

Kirk von Krueger, his wife, Mary von Krueger, and Gary Mage have been elected to the PBA Hall of Fame for meritorious service. Mage was a veteran regional director, while the von Kruegers were mainstays on the PBA Tour in several capacities. Kirk von Krueger was the national tournament director for many years.

The New York State USBC will hold a couple of its major tournaments in the Capital Region. The NYS Open Championship for teams, doubles and singles will be held at Boulevard Bowl beginning April 23, while the NYS Masters Championship is set for East Greenbush Bowling Center on March 6 with two five-game qualifying squads, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (already sold out). Entry fee for the NYS Masters is $100. Top prize is $2,000 plus an entry into the 2022 USBC Masters.

The Danzy for King Trio Tournament will be held Feb. 27-28 at Town & Country Lanes. TNBA membership is required. There are two squads each day (noon and 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 28). Saturday squads are already sold out. First place will be $1,500, based on 80 entries. Entry fee per team is $105 plus an optional singles event for $10. Handicap is 90% of 230. Call Robert Danzy Jr. (518-507-2218) for more information.

Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center in South Glens Falls is hosting a Scratch Doubles Tournament Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. First place will be $2,000, based on 50 entries. There will be five games of qualifying across 10 lanes, with one team in five advancing to the one-game bracket finals. Entry fee is $180 per team. Call Tom Earl (518-763-2734) for reservations.

The 47th annual Electric City 600 Club Tournament will be held March 7 at 1 p.m. at Towne Bowling Academy. Entry forms are available at Towne Bowling Academy, Boulevard Bowl and Sportsman’s Bowl or by contacting Marianne Hogle (518-393-8907).

Sportsman’s Bowl is hosting its annual Tavern Tournament March 21 and March 28 at 1 p.m. each day. The format will be five-person teams (men’s, women’s or mixed) and only one team will bowl on each pair of lanes. Handicap is 100% of 220. Entry fee is $125 per team. First place will be $550 guaranteed, based on 28 teams. One in six teams will cash. For more information or to reserve your spot call 518-355-4330.

Hilltop Bowl is offering a King of the Hill Tournament Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. Top prize will be $800, based on 60 entries. Entry fee is $45. There will be a four-game scratch qualifier, with the top 16 bowlers advancing to match play. Call John Rosario (518-912-6179) for reservations.

The popular Blizzard Bowl is back for its 26th edition every Sunday in March and on April 11 at Boulevard Bowl. All squads begin at 11:45 a.m. Entry fee is $100 per player ($25 per bowler). Contact Boulevard Bowl (518-374-4171) for more information.

Hilltop Bowl is hosting its 43rd annual Capital District Volunteer Firemen’s Invitational Team Bowling Tournament on the weekends of March 19-21 and March 26-28. Entry fee is $100 per five-person team. Handicap will be 80% of the difference between the team’s entering average and 1,150. Call 518-235-4148 for more information.

MAJOR BOWLING

Schenectady USBC Hall of Famer Joe VanDerLinden banged out 765 triple, Vinny Struffolino shot a 279 game during a 747, R.J. Martinez slammed a 739 and Liz Kuhlkin tossed a 257-722 in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League Monday night at Towne Bowling Academy.

John Musto Jr. ripped a 278 game during a788 triple, and Tammy Sader recorded back-to-back 279 games en route to a 768 in the Sportsman’s Majors league Monday night at Sportsman’s Bowl.

Ryan Karabin delivered a 268-971, and John Mecca tossed a 268-960 to pace the Frank DePalma Boulevard Classic Tuesday night at Boulevard Bowl.

John Askew fired a 290 game and an 815 triple during a 1,059 four-game series, his teammate, Chris Allen-Valenzuela ripped a 258-984; Jackie Malone shot a 289-982, Tom Earl collected a 258-977 and Liz Kuhlkin tossed a 976 in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial Mixed Doubles league Wednesday night at Towne Bowling Academy.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL CITY LEAGUE

Standings

DeCrescente Distributing 13-5, J&F Lawn Care 13-5, Vito Sindoni & Son 12-6, 20 North 12-6, Downs Roofing 11-7, Team 4 11-7, Towne Bowling Academy 10-8, TSS Printing & Awards 10-8, Rollarama 8-10, KKV Recovery 7-11, Syrons’s Meat Market 6-12, Action Bowling Supply 6-12, Home Tech Electronics 4-14, D&D Lawncare 3-15.

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Match summaries

Towne Bowling Academy (1)

Tom Earl 192-188-239 — 619, Jeff Kallner 237-210-205 — 652, Marty Capullo Jr. 227-203-222 — 652, Debbie Capullo 206-204-173 — 583. Totals: 862-805-839 — 2,506.

Rollarama (2)

Joe Mitchell 257-191-224 — 672, Keith Lawyer 224-241-234 — 699, Jody Becker 232-195-169 — 596, Dan Rotter 223-190-172 — 585. Totals: 936-817-799 — 2,552.

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20 North (1)

Tommy Donato 225-205-179 — 609, Kenny Livengood 225-228-219 — 672, Joel Donato 201-201-210 — 612, Chris Ratilff 229-191-165 — 585. Totals: 880-825-773 — 2,478.

Downs Roofing (2)

Chris Tinkle 174-210-214 — 598, Nick Barnes 182-235-224 — 641, Ryan Karabin 279-226-193 — 698, Billy Wigand 204-214-237 — 655. Totals: 839-885-868 — 2,592.

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D&D Lawncare (1)

Karrie Blake 182-176-225 — 583, Laura Rotter 207-237-218 — 662, Lindsey McPhail 202-215-246 — 663, Bill Nolan 170-201-253 — 624. Totals: 761-829-942 — 2,532.

Home Tech Electronics (2)

Jenn Schissler 215-222-186 — 623, Chuck Schissler 164-221-195 — 580, Ronnie Zadrozny 246-237-233 — 716, Gabe Criscuolo 184-233-232 — 649. Totals: 809-913-846 — 2,568.

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DeCrescente Distributing (1)

Jessica Aiezza 258-202-247 — 707, Mark Kuhlkin 234-205-239 — 678, Scott Rogers 249-280-199 — 728, Liz Kuhlkin 248-217-257 — 722. Totals: 989-904-942 — 2,835.

Vito Sindoni & Son (2)

Scott Chastenay 226-233-265 — 724, Joe DeVellis 225-227-232 — 684, Rich Strath 211-222-246 — 679, Joe VanDerLinden 222-267-276 — 765. Totals: 884-949-1,019 — 2,852.

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J&F Lawncare (3)

Jason Brown 208-247-222 — 677, R.J. Martinez 258-235-246 — 739, Nick Stricos 246-247-235 — 728, Steve Hallenbeck 201-259-258 — 718. Totals: 913-988-961 — 2,862.

Action Bowling Supply (0)

Matt Kallner 212-274-201 — 687, Bob Messick 164-210-221 — 595, Natasha Bidwell 258-245-145 — 648, Matt Fazzone 153-179-172 — 504. Totals: 787-908-739 — 2,434.

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Syron’s Meat Market (3)

Ken Wilkins 170-244-266 — 680, Brandon Wolf 217-206-203 — 626, Don Herrington 258-235-215 — 708, Ken LaBelle Jr. 248-206-234 — 688. Totals: 893-891-918 — 2,702.

KKV Recovery (0)

Lee Aiezza 208-238-225 — 671 Jackie Malone 239-273-197 — 709, Bob Evans 151-144-204 — 499, Vinny Struffolino 277-191-279 — 747. Totals: 875-846-905 — 2,626.

———

TSS Printing & Awards (2)

Dwayne Coonradt 244-229-188 — 661, Paul Dumas 219-256-214 — 689, Nick Galusha 167-208-218 — 593, Steve Wagoner 278-232-216 — 726. Totals: 908-925-836 — 2,669.

Team 4 (1)

Cassius Boyd 181-207-201 — 589, John Mauceri 200-212-220 — 632, Charlie Provost 215-182-234 — 631, Marc Fowler 228-244-213 — 685. Totals: 824-845-868 — 2,537.

SPORTSMAN’S MAJORS

Standings

Muny Grille 14-2, Bob’s Pro Shop 14-2, Metroland Photo 11-5, Universal Auto Parts 10-6, Next Level Detailing 10-6, Mike’s Hot Dogs 8-8, Rollin’ Smoke BBQ 7-9, Café One-Eleven 6-10, G & Dz Pizza 5-11, The Appliance Specialist 4-12, I.D.I.D. 4-12, Klonowski’s Pro Shop 3-13.

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Match summaries

The Appliance Specialist (0)

Melissa Bogholtz 238-203-211 — 652, Steve Fawcett 186-185-192 — 563, Zach Gravell 2445-182-231 — 658, Chris Fawcett 298-218-222 — 738. Totals: 967-788-856 — 2,611.

Muny Grille (4)

Jay Diamond 238-236-243 — 717, Dave Bingham 222-200-153 — 575, John Musto Jr. 278-245-265 — 788, Jamie Diamond 258-207-224 — 689. Totals: 996-888-885 — 2,769.

———

G & Dz Pizza (0)

Gary Neumann 213-177-206 — 596, Ernest Laduke Jr. 158-192-179 — 529, Rich Ellis 226-257-234 — 717, Mike Piotrowski 188-227-201 — 616. Totals: 785-853-820 — 2,458.

Bob’s Pro Shop (4)

B.J. Rucinski 276-234-238 — 748, Earl Lawrence Jr. 220-247-182 — 649, Bob Tedesco Jr. 247-290-196 — 733, Mike Smith 238-228-246 — 712. Totals: 981-999-862 — 2,842.

———

Universal Auto Parts (3)

Andy Smith 236-182-256 — 674, Bill Heaphy III 195-242-205 — 642, Chris Smith 217-226-256 — 699, Chris Fedden 234-212-202 — 648. Totals: 882-862-919 — 2,663.

Rollin’ Smoke BBQ (1)

John Leone 192-244-257 — 693, Bill Carl 233-166-199 — 598, Kalynn Carl 185-286-201 — 672, Justin Carl 233-233-233 — 699. Totals: 843-929-890 — 2,662.

———

Next Level Detailing (3)

Mike Guidarelli 236-217-211 — 664, Tom Siatkowski 213-200-202 — 615, Jim Bassotti 235-176-182 — 593, Jim Parker 225-234-172 — 631, Totals: 909-827-767 — 2,503.

I.D.I.D. (1)

Tony Fernandez 182-220-194 — 596, Joe Gordon 192-170-213 — 575, Jim Valentino 190-201-179 — 570, A.J. Perone 296-167-214 — 677. Totals: 860-758-800 — 2,418.

———

Metroland Photo (3)

Lee Quivey 244-213-136 — 593, Steve Renzi 197-224-201 — 622, Mike Gallitelli 204-204-186 — 594, B.J. Smith Jr. 200-211-225 — 636. Totals: 845-852-748 — 2,445.

Café One-Eleven (1)

Joe DiBiase 279-221-157 — 657, Rob Mengel 175-233-187 — 595, Cory Buckley 143-161-205 — 509, Tyler Mochrie 151-201-204 — 556. Totals: 748-816-753 — 2,317.

———

Mike’s Hot Dogs (3)

Doug Semerad 213-205-173 — 591, Tammy Sader 279-279-210 — 768, Rich Rogaski 263-172-226 — 661, Kevin Palmer 197-230-216 — 643. Totals: 952-886-825 — 2,663.

Klonowski’s Pro Shop (1)

Ted Klonowski III (absent) 212-212-212 — 636, Bob Mock 182-266-268 — 716, Ted Klonowski Jr. 161-172-186 — 519, Jim Petronis 269-217-234 — 720. Totals: 824-867-900 — 2,591.

FRANK DEPALMA BOULEVARD CLASSIC

Standings

Derenzo’s Tax Service 11-4, Masons Automotive 9-6, Downs Roofing 8-7, Kalpro 8-7, D.A. Parisi & Co. 6-9, Boulevard Bowl 3-12.

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Match summaries

Derenzo’s Tax Service (3)

P.J. Derenzo 258-216-227-246 — 947, Mark Derenzo 234-218-245-257 — 954, Austin Zullo 178-194-211-209 — 792. Totals: 670-628-683-712 — 2,693.

Downs Roofing (2)

Zach Strachan 225-188-169-170 — 752, Tony Bianchi 238-269-225-212 — 944, Ryan Karabin 238-254-268-211 — 971. Totals: 701-711-662-593 — 2,667.

———

D.A. Parisi & Co. (5)

John Mecca 268-235-226-231 — 960, Jeff Williams 187-184-210-180 — 761, Ken Wilkins 182-213-222-209 — 826. Totals: 637-632-658-620 — 2,547.

Boulevard Bowl (0)

Mike Scaccia 214-181-219-177 — 791, Brian Hart 224-218-222-200 — 864, Cory Bennett 171-201-159-202 — 733. Totals: 609-600-600-579 — 2,388.

———

Masons Automotive (5)

Mark Hansen 247-219-222-216 — 904, Robin Fredenburgh 204-196-179-213 — 792, B.J. Smith Jr. 276-225-236-200 — 937. Totals: 727-640-637-629 — 2,633.

Kalpro (0)

Keith Lawyer 205-210-210-217 — 842, Kyle Williams 192-194-156-163 — 705, Joe Carusone 204-194-225-225 — 848. Totals: 601-598-591-605 — 2,395.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL MIXED DOUBLES

Standings

Team 11 101-39, Sindoni Sausage 92-48, TSS Printing & Awards 91-49, CDMVS 86-54, Broadway Lunch 86-54, Towne Bowling Academy 74.5-65.5, A Touch of Country Florist 73-67, Pete’s Auto 73-67, Rogers MotorSports 72-68, Sportsman’s Bowl 70-70, Loyal Nutrition 69-71, Team Criscuolo 67.5-72.5, Next Level Detailing 67-73, Team 9 65.5-74.5, Revolutions Pro Shop 65-75, 15 Church 61-79, Never Enough Performance 57.5-82.5, Boulevard Bowl 48.5-91.5, J & U 44-96, A-Plus Heating & Cooling 365-103.5.

———

Match summaries

Sindoni Sausage (18)

Liz Kuhlkin 247-245-248-236 — 976, Joe VanDerLinden 256-204-217-224 — 901. Totals: 505-451-467-462 — 1,885.

Towne Bowling Academy (2)

Debbie Capullo 199-191-224-202 — 816, Marty Capullo Jr. 202-197-227-233 — 859. Totals: 416-403-466-450 — 1,735.

———

Boulevard Bowl (2)

Lisa Rathbun-Read 263-219-199-178 — 859, Cliff Ruth 181-204-189-184 — 758. Totals: 477-456-421-395 — 1,749.

Broadway Lunch (18)

Renee Earl 206-211-244-167 — 828, Tom Earl 247-258-249-223 — 977. Totals: 486-502-526-423 — 1,937.

———

Revolutions Pro Shop (8)

Lindsey McPhail 214-215-224-278 — 931, Don Herrington 194-217-246-247 — 904. Totals: 420-444-482-537 — 1,883.

Team 9 (12)

Kaitlyn Barnes 221-226-216-213 — 876, Nick Barnes 198-222-255-186 — 861. Totals: 449-478-501-429 — 1,857.

———

TSS Printing & Awards (14)

Jackie Malone 199-289-238-256 — 982, Steve Wagoner 258-207-215-207 — 887. Totals: 476-515-472-482 — 1,945.

Pete’s Auto (6)

Jenn Schissler 213-258-226-230 — 927, Chuckie Schissler 201-239-189-172 — 801. Totals: 461-544-462-449 — 1,916.

———

A Touch of Country Florist (17)

Janelle Irwin 232-214-193-194 — 833, Steve Irwin 225-215-230-190 — 860. Totals: 500-472-466-427 — 1,865.

A-Plus Heating & Cooling (3)

Michelle Largeteau 144-122-126-136 — 528, Tony Pasquerella 164-181-206-181 — 732. Totals: 425-420-449-434 — 1,728.

———

15 Church (18)

Aliyah Liberatore 200-199-188-226 — 813, Lee Quivey 192-209-204-193 — 798. Totals: 445-461-445-472 — 1,823.

Never Enough Performance (2)

Kate Clark 215-165-184-203 — 767, Jamie Duncan 161-210-157-191 — 719. Totals: 416-415-381-434 — 1,646.

———

Rogers MotorSports (17)

Kelly Chrzanowski 224-243-278-200 — 945, Tom Rogers 237-191-256-231 — 915. Totals: 496-469-569-466 — 2,000.

Next Level Detailing (3)

Kim Swiatocha 205-214-256-181 — 856, Matt Swiatocha 190-287-209-210 — 896. Totals: 414-520-484-410 — 1,828.

———

Team 11 (16)

Kris Impellizzeri 222-211-236-249 — 918, Scott Rogers 245-243-267-212 — 967. Totals: 485-472-521-479 — 1,957.

Sportsman’s Bowl (4)

Erika Poje 212-235-257-189 — 893, Nick DiCerbo 207-189-190-213 — 799. Totals: 464-469-492-447 — 1,872.

———

Loyal Nutrition (2)

Amber Dominic 216-201-191-224 — 832, Vinny Struffolino 190-227-184-201 — 802. Totals: 450-472-419-469 — 1,810.

Team Criscuolo (18)

Elizabeth Criscuolo 157-228-200-202 — 787, Gabe Criscuolo 254-217-233-237 — 941. Totals: 486-520-508-514 — 2,028.

———

CDMVS (19)

Chris Allen-Valenzuela 258-249-247-230 — 984, John Askew 290-245-280-244 — 1,059. Totals: 567-513-546-493 — 2,119.

J & U (1)

Ursula Pasquerella 201-214-225-183 — 823, Lee Aiezza 215-189-223-247 — 874. Totals: 456-443-488-470 — 1,857.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].

Categories: Sports

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