In the Pocket: Fazzone captures second New England Bowling Association title

Matt Fazzone, standing next to fiancé Natasha Bidwell, won his second New England Bowling Association title Sunday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Matt Fazzone, standing next to fiancé Natasha Bidwell, won his second New England Bowling Association title Sunday.

With the best season of his career winding down, lefty Matt Fazzone has some sage advice for conquering the lanes under tough conditions in major tournaments.

“I just concentrate on making good shots and making my spares,” the 29-year-old Mohonasen High School and Hudson Valley Community College graduate said. “Making spares are the biggest thing. You’ve got to grind out games sometimes. It’s hard to do that, but you must make your spares. I throw it very hard on my spares. I throw them with a flat hand and with a plastic ball. I try to take the lane conditions out of play when I do that.”

The Action Bowling Supply pro shop operator at Towne Bowling Academy put another memento on his trophy case by winning his second New England Bowling Association title at Nutmeg Lanes in Connecticut last Sunday. The NEBA tour is considered the top regional tournament schedule for scratch bowlers.

“I really have no idea why I’m bowling so well this season,” Fazzone said. “I guess all the time I’ve been putting in with hard work and practice is finally paying off. I needed a little bit of luck in the finals over the weekend. [Sunday], I was lucky.”

Fazzone, who was plus-133 in qualifying, marched into the finals by averaging 223.6 on a low-scoring, 34-foot oil pattern and then closed out the championship game with a pair of strikes and a 9-count fill ball. His opponent, Jesse Gibson, needed a mark in the 10th frame to win, but threw his first shot in the channel to allow Fazzone to escape with the hard-fought 197-196 victory. Fazzone earned $1,500.

It was the second sparkling performance in a NEBA event this year after he finished third previously this season. Fazzone has been on fire the entire 2020-21 campaign. He secured what he called the biggest win of his career by capturing the NYS Masters at East Greenbush Bowling Center and recently teamed up with Kenny Livengood to win the inaugural John Drexel Memorial Doubles Tournament at Town & Country Lanes.

He now has two NEBA wins, one Huck Finn title, one Towne Team Tournament victory and a triumph in the Uncle Nick Doubles Championship with partner Jim Geiger. He’s rolled 39 perfect games to go along with 24 800 triples. This season, he finished with a 230 average in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League Monday nights at Towne Bowling Academy and is averaging 234 in the Capital District All Star league Thursday nights at Sportsman’s Bowl. He also fills in occasionally in other leagues and regularly competes in tournaments on weekends.

Fazzone learned the game from his father but picked up valuable lessons along the way from Bob Tedesco Jr., Kenny Hall and Larry Lichstein.

“I’ve had a lot of good help over the years,” Fazzone said.

Next up on his busy tournament schedule is the USBC Nationals May 16-17. The USBC Nationals are famous for outrageously demanding lane conditions. He will bowl the team competition with his fiancé, Natasha Bidwell, Marty and Debbie Capullo and Tom Earl. Nick Galusha will be his partner in doubles.

“I’ve bowled in the nationals a couple of times and shot in the 1,800s for the all-events,” Fazzone said. “My high was a 1,901 a few years ago. My last 27 games at nationals I’m averaging 203, which I’m pretty happy about. It’s a totally different ball game there, and with a much different atmosphere.”

Although his own game has continued to shine, Fazzone’s job in the pro shop forces him to stay on top of all the newest equipment to help his customers.

“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t know how busy I would be, especially with the pandemic,” Fazzone said. “The first month and a half was steady, but not as busy as usual. Once October hit, we were busier than ever through the holidays. People kept buying stuff. But in February, the business slowed down, and that’s typical of this time of year.”

But with so many spring and summer leagues available at local centers, Fazzone is expecting another possible surge in business.

“I think we might get some more business. I’m optimistic,” he said. “I’m thinking it might involve mostly juniors, as their parents might be buying them a ball for the summer tournaments.”

Fazzone is primarily a Storm/Roto Grip equipment guy, but he will help anyone with any type of equipment desired.

“I do a lot of research as a pro shop operator,” he said. “Sometimes, people ask for the newest ball on the market, and they don’t always work for them. I have multiple brands on my shelf. I might not have the biggest selection of other brands because of a lack of space, but I can order anything that anyone wants.

“I really enjoy that part of the business. It’s a different challenge every day fitting a bowling ball to a customer. Nobody throws the ball exactly the same. When I have a new customer and I don’t know their game, I typically have them throw some shots for me if the lanes are open. I try to get as much information as I can about their games. Sometimes, you’ve got to think outside the box with different layouts and different types of surfaces to find the right ball for the customer. There is a level of trust between the customer and the pro shop owner that I really enjoy.”

NYS USBC OPEN UPDATE

The 96th annual NYS USBC Open Championship continues this weekend with squads Friday (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.), Saturday (10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m. and 1 p.m.). The tournament takes Mother’s Day weekend off and concludes with the same Friday-Sunday schedule May 14-16.

The following squads are sold out: Saturday at 2 p.m.; May 15 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Contact Tournament Manager Angelo Corradino (518-363-1374) for more information.

Here are the tournament leaders:

Team handicap Division 2 — Crooked Pines (Pittsford) 2,871, The Family (Rochester) 2,777, Cardinal Lanes No. 2 (Newark Valley) 2749.

Team handicap Division 1 — FPI Mechanic (Ravena) 3,430, Hooks Pro Shop (Cicero) 3,285, Burnst Books II (Cicero) 3,274.

Team scratch — Hooks Pro Shop (Cicero) 3,285, Burnst Books II (Cicero) 3,274, Paterno’s Pro Shop (Staatsburg) 3,205.

Doubles Handicap Division 2 — Liz Criscuolo-Sarah Krager (Endwell) 1,408, John Sickles-Tony Cacckello (Ravena) 1,233, Iagnatius Vaccaro-John Amico (Rochester) 1,194.

Doubles Handicap Division 1 — Mike Spirito-Michael Vincenzi (Shrub Oak) 1,115, Josh Watson-Holly Watson (S. New Berlin) 1 ,107, Matt Fagant-Alan Earley (Gloversville) 1,105.

Doubles Handicap Division 2 — Tony Cacckello-Matt Sherman (Ravena) 1,432, Patrick Kohansi-Scott Stachnik (Cicero) 1,413, Zac Geneile-David Meyer (Staatsburg) 1,387.

Doubles Scratch — Patrick Kochanski-Scott Stachnik (Cicero) 1413, Zac Gentile-David Meyer (Staatsburg) 1,387, Ray Cyr-Steve Archart (New Hartford) 1,379.

Singles Handicap Division 2 — Mike Vincenzi (Shrub Oak) 688, Shawn Davis (Rochester) 673, Shannon Rhodes (Newark Valley) 662.

Singles Handicap Division 1 — Matt Cleary (Webster) 781, Steven O’Dell (Rochester) 765, Nicholas Perrone (Mahopac) 748.

Singles Scratch — Nicholas Perrone (Mahopac) 748, Matt Cleary (Webster) 741, Nicholas Wells (Staatsburg) 738.

STRIKES & SPARES

In her first pro event of the season, Liz Kuhlkin finished 15th in the Professional Women’s Bowling Association’s Twin Cities Open at Cedarvale Lanes in Eagan, Minnesota, this week. She knocked down 3,797 pins and earned $1,100.

Nicole Graham defeated Bill Barthelmas 174-165 in the semifinals, and then knocked off Charles Gray 210-166 in the championship game to win the Amateur League Bowling Association of New York’s season-ending Main Event Sunday at Spare Time Latham. There were 70 entries, and 35 bowlers cashed. Following are the leaders: Nicole Graham ($600), Charles Gray ($300), Bill Barthelmas ($200), Dave Morrissey ($150), Marv Meher Jr. ($120), Kati-Lyn Meher ($100), Kim Wilson ($90), CJ Northrup ($80), Ken Graham Jr. ($70), Eric Kaminski ($60), Jerry Rider ($50), Alan Anderson Jr. ($50), Michelle Paulsen ($40) and Thomas Skorupski ($40). The next six bowlers received $30 each, and the next 15 received $25 each. Low to cash was a 630 handicap triple.

Although there won’t be a Schenectady USBC Hall of Fame and Awards banquet this year because of pandemic large-gathering challenges, nominations are still being accepted for the 2020-21 Hall of Fame class. Copies of the nomination form are available on the Schenectady USBC Website. For more information, contact Chet Ciembroniewicz at 518-577-8562.

The ninth annual TNBA Albany Senate Doubles Tournament concludes Saturday and Sunday at East Greenbush Bowling Center. Squad teams will be 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day. Entry fee is $65 per team. Handicap will be 80% of the difference of the team’s average and 440. The tournament is also conducting a food drive for the Northeastern Food Bank in Latham. For every $5 donation or five non-perishable food items given, bowlers will receive one free entry into a Hammer Black Widow 2.0 ball raffle. For more information, call Natalie Samuel (518-364-0080) or Robert Danzy (518-507-2218).

Towne Bowling Academy’s Kentucky Derby Tournament will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. Top prize will be $1,000, based on 50 entries. Entry fee is $45. The field will be limited to the first 60 bowlers. Each bowler will roll two games on a challenge pattern in the opening round. To advance, bowlers must roll at least 420, but if they don’t, they have the option to buy into the second round for an additional $15. In the second round, all bowlers roll one more game, and they need a 215 or better to advance. Once again, if they don’t get at least a 215, they can buy into the third round for another $15. In the third round, bowlers must roll at least a 220 to advance. They can buy into the next round unless they have already used two buy-ins. Following the third round, the cut will increase by five pins, and the tournament will continue until there is a winner.

Uncle Sam Lanes is hosting its inaugural Season Ending Singles Tournament May 16 at noon. Entry fee is $50, and the top prize is $500, based on 70 entries. There will be scratch and handicap brackets. Contact Will Cunningham (518-400-0836) or Uncle Sam Lanes (518-271-7800) for more information.

Town & Country Lanes will offer the TNC Summer Series every Thursday night from May 13 through July 15 at 6 p.m. Each night will be a separate tournament. Entry fee will be $20, plus a $5 membership fee. There will be four games of qualifying across four pairs, with the top four bowlers advancing to a seeded single-elimination bracket. Call 518-456-1113 for more information.

The Electric City 600 Club is hosting the NYS Women’s 600 Bowling Club Tournament June 11-12 at Boulevard Bowl. The annual meeting will be June 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the Rotterdam Elks. Entries close today (April 30). This is the first time in 53 years that Schenectady is hosting this tournament. For additional information, go to the NYS website at www.nys600club.com.

MAJOR BOWLING

J & F Lawn Care won a one-game roll-off with Vito Sindoni & Son for the second-half title, Ryan Karabin ripped a 296-796 triple to slip past Joe VanDerLinden for the average title after both finished at 238, and Ronnie Zadrozny rolled a perfect game as the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League closed out its season Monday night at Towne Bowling Academy. Rick Speckhardt (765) and Ken LaBelle (756) rounded out the top three shooters.

Mike Piotrowski blasted a 268-774, Jamie Diamond drilled a 279-763 and Kevin Palmer shot a 279-758 to lead the Sportsman’s Majors Monday night at Sportsman’s Bowl. There are two weeks remaining in the season.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL CITY LEAGUE

Standings

J & F Lawn Care 33-15, Vito Sindoni & Son 33-15, Downs Roofing 32-16, DeCrescente Distributing 30-18, 20 North 30-18 ,TSS Printing & Awards 25-23, Team 4 24-24, Towne Bowling Academy 23-25, Syron’s Meat Market 23-25, Action Bowling Supply 22-26, Rollarama 21-27, KKV Recovery 16-32, D & D Lawncare 15-33, Home Tech Electronics 9-39.

———

Match summaries

DeCrescente Distributing (3)

Jessica Aiezza 279-192-278 — 749, Mark Kuhlkin 209-209-191 — 609, Scott Rogers 242-267-238 — 747, Liz Kuhlkin 289-235-218 — 742. Totals: 1,019-903-925 — 2,847.

Towne Bowling Academy (0)

Tom Earl 298-204-181 — 683, Lindsey McPhail 217-205-249 — 671, Marty Capullo Jr. 201-208-236 — 645, Debbie Capullo 248-217-209 — 674. Totals: 964-834-875 — 2,673.

———

TSS Printing & Awards (2)

Dwayne Coonradt 162-226-256 — 644, Paul Dumas 220-211-199 — 630, Rick Speckhardt 256-243-266 — 765, Steve Wagoner 213-223-246 — 682. Totals: 851-903-967 — 2,721.

Team 4 (1)

Marc Fowler 259-188-255 — 702, John Mauceri 279-211-238 — 728, Cassius Boyd 162-201-219 — 582, Charlie Provost 225-236-168 — 628. Totals: 925-835-880 — 2,640.

———

Rollarama (0)

Jeff Kallner 246-224-215 — 685, Keith Lawyer 195-201-206 — 602, Mike Voss 235-238-214 — 687, Dan Rotter 182-193-234 — 610. Totals: 859-856-869 — 2,584.

Syron’s Meat Market (3)

Ken Wilkins 224-277-216 — 717, Brandon Wolf 252-206-201 — 659, Ken LaBelle Jr. 247-267-242 — 756, Chad Propper 191-232-222 — 645. Totals: 914-982-981 — 2,777.

———

Action Bowling Supply (3)

Bob Messick 246-257-248 — 751, Natasha Bidwell 258-215-211 — 684, Matt Fazzone 198-224-225 — 647, Matt Kallner 212-209-199 — 620. Totals: 914-905-883 — 2,702.

KKV Recovery (0)

Nick DiCerbo 194-169-151 — 514, Bob Evans 238-196-206 — 640, Vinny Struffolino 246-200-232 — 678, Scott Zalud 229-212-185 — 626. Totals: 907-777-774 — 2,458.

———

D&D Lawncare (3)

Karrie Blake 235-223-268 — 726, Laura Rotter 211-238-211 — 700, Bill Judge 206-212-181 — 599, Patti Tenyenhuis 290-202-215 — 707. Totals: 942-915-875 — 2,732.

Home Tech Electronics (0)

Jenn Schissler 198-177-200 — 575, Chuck Schissler 190-190-189 — 569, Ronnie Zadrozny 220-300-172 — 692, Gabe Criscuolo 235-207-235 — 677. Totals: 643-874-796 — 2,513.

———

Vito Sindoni & Son (1)

Scott Chastenay 223-236-191 — 650, Mike DiCerbo 226-214-209 — 649, Rich Strath 236-244-257 — 737, Joe VanDerLinden 268-207-235 — 710. Totals: 953-901-892 — 2,746.

J & F Lawn Care (2)

Jason Brown 269-269-171 — 709, R.J. Martinez 265-228-244 — 737, Nick Stricos 237-236-206 — 679, Steve Hallenbeck 222-231-225 — 678. Totals: 993-964-846 — 2,803.

———

20 North (0)

Tommy Donato 234-179-226 — 639, Kenny Livengood 269-213-246 — 728, Joel Donato 228-216-226 — 670, Chris Radliff 186-258-223 — 667. Totals: 917-866-921 — 2,704.

Downs Roofing (3)

Nick Barnes 216-227-269 — 712, Ryan Karabin 225-296-275 — 796, Billy Wigand 267-192-261 — 720, P.J. Derenzo 248-217-266 — 731. Totals: 956-932-1,071 — 2,959.

SPORTSMAN’S MAJORS

Schedule

Universal Auto Parts 41-15, Muny Grille 36-20, Next Level Detailing 36-20, Bob’s Pro Shop 36-20, Café One-Eleven 33.5-22.5, Rollin’ Smoke BBQ 30-26, Metroland Photo 30-26, The Appliance Specialist 30-26, Mike’s Hot Dogs 28.5-27.5, Klonowski’s Pro Shop 13-43, G & Dz Pizza 13-43, I.D.I.D. 9-47.

———

Match summaries

Muny Grille (2)

Jay Diamond 227-223-208 — 658, Dave Bingham (absent) 216-216-216 — 648, John Musto Jr. 226-259-216 — 701, Jamie Diamond 237-247-279 — 763. Totals: 906-945-919 — 2,770.

Mike’s Hot Dogs (2)

Doug Semerad 247-207-239 — 693, Tammy Sader 252-244-194 — 690, Rich Rogaski 227-206-206 — 639, Kevin Palmer 279-258-221 — 758. Totals: 1,005-915-860 — 2,780.

———

Metroland Photo (0)

Lee Quivey 213-175-179 — 567, Steve Renzi 269-212-209 — 690, Mike Gallitelli 236-193-212 — 641, B.J. Smith Jr. (absent) 228-228-228 — 684. Totals: 946-808-828 — 2,582.

Next Level Detailing (4)

Mike Guidarelli 256-266-213 — 735, Jim Bassotti 237-213-235 — 685, Tom Siatkowski 236-259-236 — 731, Matt Swiatocha 247-234-268 — 749. Totals: 976-972-952 — 2,900.

———

The Appliance Specialist (3)

Melissa Bogholtz 170-169-166 — 505, Steve Fawcett 194-266-210 — 670, Zach Gravell 246-224-236 — 706, Chris Fawcett 226-247-224 — 697. Totals: 836-906-836 — 2,578.

I.D.I.D. (1)

Tony Fernandez 205-179-234 — 618, Joe Gordon 167-206-202 — 575, Jim Valentino 229-180-210 — 619, A.J. Perone (absent) 208-208-208 — 624. Totals: 809-773-854 — 2,436.

———

Universal Auto Parts (1)

Andy Smith 182-216-194 — 593, Bill Heaphy III 257-238-214 — 709, Chris Smith 239-244-195 — 678, Chris Fedden 216-220-183 — 619. Totals: 895-918-786 — 2,599.

Bob’s Pro Shop (3)

Fred McMahon 194-187-183 — 564, Earl Lawrence Jr. 237-214-238 — 689, Bob Tedesco Jr. 202-234-220 — 656, Mike Smith 279-236-204 — 719. Totals: 912-871-845 — 2,628.

———

Café One-Eleven (4)

Joe DiBiase 256-221-245 — 722, Rob Mengel 220-198-211 — 629, Cory Buckley 227-259-236 — 722, Tyler Mochrie 236-234-223 — 693. Totals: 939-912-915 — 2,766.

Klonowski’s Pro Shop (0)

Bob Mock 226-270-181 — 677, Jackielynn Noble 199-190-169 — 558, Jim Petronis 161-214-236 — 611, Tom Gorsin 208-160-173 — 541. Totals: 794-834-759 — 2,387.

———

Rollin’ Smoke BBQ (3)

John Leone 225-256-215 — 696, Bill Carl 219-246-244 — 709, Kalynn Carl 239-251-195 — 685, Justin Carl (absent) 233-233-233 — 699. Totals: 916-986-887 — 2,789.

G & Dz Pizza (1)

Zach Phillips 201-210-218 — 629, Ernest Laduke Jr. 158-194-191 — 543, Rich Ellis 217-259-242 — 718, Mike Piotrowski 257-268-249 — 774. Totals: 833-931-900 — 2,664.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].

Categories: Sports

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