Tom Yadanza learned from a very early age not to be intimidated by some of the best bowlers in the world.
He’s squared off against — and beat — former PBA Tour regulars such as Dave Ferraro, George Pappas and Don Genalo. And he used to regularly roll alongside such legendary keglers as Mark Roth and Teata Semiz.
That’s why the 55-year-old Saratoga Springs resident might be the X-factor when the Huck Finn Jack Scaccia Senior Memorial Championship is contested May 1 at Boulevard Bowl. The live television broadcast will be shown on FOX23 at 11 a.m.
Joining Yadanza on the final show of the season will be Bob “Goose” Faragon of Schenectady, Matt Sherman of Delmar and left-hander Rich Strath of Altamont.
At stake will be a $4,000 first prize. The runner-up will earn $2,000, while both the third- and fourth-place finishers will take home $1,000.
Born in Queens, Yandanza moved to the Capital Region in 1980, but as a young man, he honed his game against the best bowlers on Long
Island and in metropolitan New York.
“I’ve been bowling for 40 years,” Yadanza said. “When I bowled in the U.S. Open qualifier in 1976, first place was a spot in the U.S. Open, of course, but the runner-up got a berth in the Long Island Open. I finished second, and I got to meet Mark Roth and Teata Semiz. I grew up bowling against old-time pros like Dick Battista and George Pappas. I used to bowl home-and-home jackpots with Don Genalo before he ever went out on the PBA Tour, and I wondered why he was going out there if he couldn’t even beat me.
“I’ve come across a lot of the all-time greats on my travels. There were a lot of great bowlers in Queens, where I grew up, and on Long Island, where I did most of my bowling.”
After Yadanza moved to the Capital Region, he continued to work in the dry cleaning business, the same business he helped his father with when he was a kid. He eventually got into the horse racing business as a trainer, but it was a tough way to make a living.
“I met Jim Caputo from Hi-Roc Lanes in the middle 1980s, and he asked me if I would like to work for him. I jumped at the chance,” he said.
Yadanza ran Hi-Roc, now Saratoga Strike Zone, for eight years and became one of the toughest competitors on the area lanes.
Owner of 32 perfect games and 11 800 triples, Yadanza defeated Farraro to win the 2005 Hi-Roc Scratch Challeng, and a check for $5,000. He also has six Northern Bowlers Association championships under his belt to go along with several appearances on the Huck Finn Capital Region Bowling Show.
Yadanza finished second three times in PBA regional competition, and once teamed up with good friend and regional pro Karl Wolf to bowl a perfect 600 in a summer doubles league.
He’s currently a salesman for an automotive supply company and spends quite a bit of time on the road. But when he’s home, he’s usually at the lanes.
“I’ve always been in businesses where I’ve dealt with people, whether it be in the dry cleaning business, training horses or at Hi-Roc Bowl,” he said.
And besides his wife, Kathy, and his bowling friends, Yadanza said he enjoys being around horses.
“Heck, my horse was my best man at my wedding.” he said. “I had him in my backyard for 20 years, and he finally died a few years ago at age 30.”
Yadanza will have quite a formidable group to beat in the final four, including Sherman, who lost to Yadanza in the semifinals the last time they met on a Huck Finn show.
Sherman, a 29-year-old insurance adjuster, has 15 perfect games and three 800 triples. The former Saint Peter’s College standout has several Huck Finn appearances on his resume, and won’t be affected by the bright lights.
Strath, who has appeared on the Capital Region Bowling Show three times this year and once last season, has 20 perfect games and 10 800 triples. He has won back-to-back Huck Finn titles.
Faragon is the most decorated bowler in the field. The 52-year-old Colonie High School graduate has 29 NBA titles and numerous appearances on the Capital Region Bowling Show. He won the old Capital District Match Game Championship, which served as the local qualifier for the U.S. Open, twice, and he has competed in 17 Senior PBA Tour events, including a third-place finish in Hammond, Ind., two years ago.
Owner of 101 perfect games and 60 800 triples, Faragon holds the Schenectady Bowling Association record for highest triple (889).
BOB GUILD SET
The Northern Bowlers Association’s Bob Guild Memorial Championship will be held Saturday — not the usual Sunday morning schedule — at 9:30 a.m. at Del Lanes.
Based on 55 entries, first place for the five-game sweeper will be worth $1,100, with the runner-up earning $600. Third place will be worth $450, and there will be a total of 16 cashers. Seventy bowlers are eligible to compete.
Also at stake will be the Cuby Cup. Only five points separate leader Joe Mazuryk (805) and Brian LeClair (800). Rounding out the leaders are Steve Wagoner (645), Sherman (550), Mike Drexel (515), Faragon (360), Jason Baker (350), Craig Taylor (340), Dan Furman (260), and Kyle Haines (255).
Since 1986, there have been 24 different winners of the Bob Guild Memorial Championship. Only left-hander Gary Bingham has won the event twice, in 1995 and 1999.
Here the former winners: Steve Wagoner (2010), Dan Furman (2009), Dustin Paupst (2008), Tim Banks (2007), Lee Aiezza (2006), Al Roth (2005), Drexel (2004), Will Leavitt (2003), Bob Macey (2002), Jamie Diamond (2001), Vince Cicchinelli (2000), Bingham (1999), John Walther III (1998), Nick Miseno Jr. (1997), Ron Priester (1996), Bingham (1995), Rit Carney (1994), Warren Schreiber (1993), Kenny Hall (1992), Dave Adams (1991), Fred McMahon (1990), Skip Vigars Jr. (1989), Dave Frascatore (1988), Len Reygoudt (1987) and LeClair (1986).
STRIKES AND SPARES
u Happy 100th birthday to Emma DiGeorgio, who is one of the all-time greats in area women’s bowling. DiGeorgio was inducted into the Schenectady-Scotia Women’s Bowling Association’s Hall of Fame for superior performance in 1988 and is the matriarch of the Capullo family that runs Towne Bowling Academy.
u The Shrapnels, including John Lawyer, Blaise Lawyer, Joe Paone and Ryan Gahan, shot a 2,945 to win the team event in the annual Blizzard Bowl at Boulevard Bowl. JP’s Gang (2,916) and Cribs Crushers (2,912) finished second and third, respectively. Craig Smith and Paone shot a 1,371 to win the handicap doubles, and Blaise Lawyer won the scratch singles with a 765. The handicap singles hasn’t yet been verified. Checks will be sent to team captains in about three weeks.
u The 78th annual Schenectady USBC Bowling Association’s City Championship Tournament will be held Wednesday through May 7. The team event will be held at Rolling Greens Wednesday at 10 a.m., April 29 at 6:30 p.m., April 30 at both 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., May 1 at noon and 4 p.m. and May 2 at 6:30 p.m. The doubles and singles tournament is scheduled for Tippy Lanes in Ballston Spa on May 4 at 6:30 p.m., May 5 at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., May 6 at 6:30 p.m. and May 7 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Entry fee is $20 per person for the team, doubles and singles events. All-events is an additional $5. Handicap will be 90 percent of 240. First place in the team handicap event is $1,200, and first place in the team scratch event is $600. For more information, contact tournament directors Steve Renzi (399-2942) or Lloyd Denny (355-5632).
u The 87th annual New York State Open Championships will be held at Fishkill Bowl on Route 82 in Fishkill May 1 and May 14-15. Entry fee for the five-person team event is $175 per team. Singles and doubles events are $35 per person. Handicap will be 100 percent to 230. For more information, contact Mike Pettinella at (585) 343-3736 or at [email protected]
u Jordan’s Birthday Bowling Bonanza, to benefit Camp Fowler Christian Camp and Retreat Center, will be held May 15 at 3 p.m. at Boulevard Bowl. Entry fee is $20 per person or $100 for a five-person team. Fee includes shoes, games, pizza, music, prizes and more, including a silent auction. To register, call Hank Dodge at 377-9569, Jordan at 469-8560 or contact [email protected]
u Area women bowlers, as usual, fared well in the New York State Queens, held over the weekend at Thruway Lanes in Cheektowaga. Kate Messemer of Troy finished third and took home $405, while Patti Tenyenhuis of Kingston was fourth ($308), Helen Waite of Glens Falls was fifth ($253) and Denise DeCarlo-Johnson was 10th ($167).
u The next NorthEast Senior Tournament stop will be May 7 at 11 a.m. at Sunset Recreation. It will be sponsored by National Planning Group. Not only will this tournament be run on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, but also the entry fee has been sliced from $100 to $50. All bowlers who qualify for match play will be guaranteed $100. One in four bowlers will advance to match play in their own age division: 50-59, 60-66 and 67-plus. Qualifying has been cut down from five games to four. For reservations, visit [email protected] or call Tom Newman at 496-8814.
u The Spot Bowlers won the KAPL Mixed league championship. Members of the winning team were Rickie Gageway, Linda Kintner, Pat Clark and Ray Fagel.
u The Pin Kings won the Daily Gazette league’s roll-off over Les is More. Members of the winning team were Gary Hillabrandt, Carol Hillabrandt and Larry Scranton. Bill Douglas won the high average award with a 222.
u The Capital District All Star league is looking to expand for next season. The league has three-person teams and uses a pro-scoring system. It bowls Thursday nights at 8:45. Next season, there will be a weekly team series prize of $75 per team, as well as a weekly elimininator, clean pot and brackets. Call Mike Smith at 365-2392 or Sportsman’s Bowl at 355-4330 for more information.
u The Sportsman’s Majors is also looking to expand for next season. The league bowls Monday nights at 6:20. The format is four-person teams. Call Steve Renzi at 399-2942 for more information.
u The Tuesday Night Men’s League at Sportsman’s Bowl is looking for members for next season. The league bowls at 6 p.m. and has four-man teams with handicap. If interested, call Tony at 356-4567.
u Rolling Greens is forming a mixed summer league Tuesday nights at 7. It will run for nine weeks, beginning May 3 and ending June 28. The four-man teams will have a 90 percent handicap. Entry fee is $7 per week. Call 381-4848 for more information.
u The Rolling Greens Classic is looking for bowlers with at least a 190 average to compete for the 2011-12 season. A league meeting will be held Aug. 30 at 8:30 p.m. at the lanes. The league draft will be held Sept. 6, and the league will begin Sept. 13 at 8:30 p.m. Call Dick Peckham at 355-7807 for more information.
u Sportsman’s Bowl will host a PBA Experience League this summer on Thursday nights, beginning May 5 at 7 p.m. The week will run for 10 weeks. League bowlers will get the opportunity to compete on the Cheetah, Shark, Chameleon, Viper and Scorpion patterns. Dues are $10 a week for this three-person-team league. Call Sportsman’s at 355-4330 for more information.
u This is the final bowling column of the season. See you next September.