There is a good reason why the 12th annual Joe Donato Scratch Singles tournament is one of the most grueling tests for elite bowlers.
The tournament’s late namesake wouldn’t have it any other way.
Joe Donato, who once dreamed up a scoring system that took off points for crossover strikes and lucky hits, was arguably the greatest bowler in Capital Region history. The Donato family has kept his name in the spotlight with one of the area’s most challenging events.
When the finals wrap up Sunday night at Towne Bowling Academy, the winner will have thrown at least four games during qualifying — many more if he tried to qualify more than once — three more games in the semifinals Sunday afternoon, two more games in the two-game eliminators featuring the top 24 bowlers from the semifinals and then, depending on their seeding, one or two more games in the stepladder finals. All games rolled under pressure and on demanding conditions.
It’s a good bet that the winner will sleep well Sunday night.
Former champions include many of the area’s best bowlers, as well as several regional pros from outside the Capital Region. Local winners dominated early, with Steve Wagoner of Broadalbin winning the inaugural event in 2003, followed by Mike Drexel of Duanesburg in 2004 and Gene Speenburgh of Hudson in 2005. Regional pro Jerry Brunette Jr. (2006), Lee Aiezza of Albany (2007), Darrell Coonrad of Waterford (2008), regional pro Ray Cyr (2009), former PBA touring pros Mike Lichtstein (2010) and Mike Rose (2011), PBA senior tour regular Steve Ferraro (2012) and Charles Millard (2013) complete the past winners.
Top prize is $3,500 guaranteed.
If you are still interesting in qualifying, there will be a qualifier tonight at 9:30 at Saratoga Strike Zone, as well as two more Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. at Towne Bowling Academy. Qualifying continues Sunday at 9 a.m. and noon, with the semifinals beginning at 3:30. All semifinalists are guaranteed $130.
ROYALS EYE REPEAT
The Schenectady County Community College men’s bowling team will try to retain its National Junior College Athletic Association national title when the Royals compete in Buffalo today and Saturday.
“We should be competitive,” said SCCC head coach Ray Ross, who, along with assistant coaches Lou Devoe and Will Coons, has put together a juggernaut.
“Everybody is peaking at the right time. I would say we have maybe only one bowler who has been on a little downward slide recently, and we’re trying to get him turned around.”
Zach Doty (209 average) and Casey Schoonmaker (202) continue to lead the Royals in average through most of the recent tournaments. A.J. Welch was the MVP of the regional tournament, and is averaging 204.
Rounding out the top six are Ryan Karabin (192), Jake Rivers (191) and Corey Buckley (191).
“They usually have 43 feet of oil at the nationals, and we’ve got a good mix of styles on our team,” Ross said. “We have three guys who turn the ball quite a bit. We’ve got three tweeners, and we’ve got one guy who bowls straight up. And we’ve got a left-hander. I’d be surprised if everybody gets shutout. Somebody will hit the shot they put out.”
Ross said all competitors are limited to bringing five bowling balls to the competition.
“There will be random testing to make sure you are using one of your registered bowling balls,” Ross said. “I pretty much give everyone leeway as far as what balls to bring, but all of them will declare one plastic ball for spares.”
LOCALS AT STATES
The Section II bowling teams, including the Mohonasen boys, the Colonie girls and two section teams, will be vying for state titles this weekend in West Babylon.
The Mohonasen team is coached by Bob Tedesco Jr. and includes Steve Bennett, Peter Konrad, TJ Marr, Malik Myers, Zack Porter, Jovanni Scaccia, Brandon Wolf and Ron Zadrozny. The Colonie team, coached by Pete Grugan, consists of Ashley Bailey, Amanda Chrzanowski, Tiera Gulum, Alexa Jackson, Caitlyn Kelly, Hannah Mochrie, Danielle Niles and Natalya Porcello.
The girls’ section team, coached by John Dennis of Mohonasen, includes Samantha Kinglsey of Lansingburgh, Kasey Kosier of Columbia, Jenna Lemke of Bethlehem, Alyssa Pancake of Saratoga Springs, Lauren Piotrowski of Schenectady and Lindsey Rosen of Mechanicville. The boys’ section team, coached by Len Reyngoudt of Catskill, includes Justin Carl of Colonie, Evan Carrier of Averill Park, Ben Govel of Guilderland, Alec Matuszak of Schalmont, Ryan Thomas of Ballston Spa and Austin VanBuren of Guilderland.
Porter has the highest average on the Mohonasen boys’ team (229), while Carl’s 228 average tops the boys’ section team. Gulum’s 205 is the best average for the Colonie girls, and both Pancake and Piotrowski are averaging 209 for the girls’ section team.
STRIKES & SPARES
Start planning now for the 81st annual Schenectady USBC Bowling Association’s City Championship, to be contested April 5 through April 25 at Boulevard Bowl. Top prize for the four-person team event will be $1,200. There also will be a special team scratch competition, with the top prize worth $600, plus 100 percent of the money collected on the special scratch squad April 21 at 6:30 p.m. Handicap for the handicap events will be 90 percent of 240. Entry fee will be $20 per event, and $5 for all-events. The squads will be April 5 (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), April 6 (3:30 p.m.), April 12 (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), April 19 (2 p.m.), April 21 (9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.), April 23 (9:30 a.m.), April 24 (6:30 p.m.) and April 25 (6:30 p.m.). For more information, contact Keith Lawyer (300-0209).
The 19th annual Blizzard Bowl begins March 8 at 9:45 p.m. at Boulevard Bowl. Other squads are March 16 (11:45 a.m.), March 23 (11:45 a.m.), March 30 (11:45 a.m.), April 6 (11:45 a.m.) and April 12 (9:45 p.m.). Entry fee will be $80 per four-person team. A continental breakfast or hot buffet is included in the entry fee. If anyone wants to compete in doubles and singles, they should check with the tournament office. Top prize for the team event is $2,000. Call Boulevard Bowl at 374-4171 for more information.
Kenny Livengood, bowling for Sunset Recreation, rolled a perfect game during the Junior boys’ division of the Joey Schmidt Capital District Junior Pro-Scoring League last weekend at Boulevard Bowl.
Jessica Brockmyer (902) and Kara Struffolino (954) combined for an 1,856 and split $600 at the 44th annual Women’s Doubles Invitational at Boulevard Bowl. Other top teams included Rita Heffern with Tammy Sader (1,804, $350), Priscilla Mehalich with Rebecca Barringer (1,718, $250), Patti O’Connor with
Julie Drexel (1,716, $150), Denise Lamphere with Jessica DeVellis (1,704, $100), Allene Doriski with Jodi Musto (1,653, $80) and Misty Yando with Kris Impellizzeri (1,650, $70).
Ryan Gahan beat lefty Mark James, 206-170, in the Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show’s” same-day taping Sunday at Towne Bowling Academy. Gahan won $1,000.
Towne Bowling Academy will host the next New Era Women’s and Senior tournament March 8 at 2 p.m.
The 17th annual Robert Guild Senior Trio tournament will be held March 14, March 15, March 16, March 21, March 22 and March 23 at Alpha Lanes in Troy. Entry fee is $90 per team. Top prize is $1,200 per team. Call 235-4941 for reservations.
Sportsman’s Bowl will host the 40th annual Electric City Club tournament March 16 at 1 p.m. Call Marianne Hogle at 393-8907 for reservations.
Christian Brothers Academy won the Big 10 tournament with 3,807 points, edging second-place Schenectady (3,669). Chris Radliff and Zeph Kozakiewicz represented the Brothers on the league’s first-team all-star unit and were joined by Zachary Schellenger of Schenectady, Billy McGaffin and Marc LeBahn of Amsterdam and Janelle Irwin of Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons. Radliff was the league MVP, and Schellenger won the exceptional senior award.