Steve Wagoner didn’t take it easy on good friend Matt Fazzone, even though Fazzone drills up all of Wagoner’s bowling equipment.
Wagoner, the only right-hander on the show, defeated Fazzone, 244-219, in the championship game of the 13th annual Huck Finn Jack Scaccia Sr. Memorial Sunday at Boulevard Bowl. The Scaccia Memorial, the final event on the Huck Finn/Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York’s “Capital Region Bowling Show” season, is considered the unofficial area championship. It’s named after the late Jack Scaccia Sr., a member of the Schenectady Bowling Association Hall of Fame and the former proprietor at Boulevard Bowl.
Wagoner, from Broadalbin, earned $2,400, while Fazzone took home $1,200. Wagoner defeated Tony Palumbo of Schenectady, 259-247, in the semifinals, while Fazzone, from Rotterdam, stopped Rich Strath of Rensselaer, 244-171, in the other semifinal. Palumbo and Strath each earned a check for $650.
In the championship match, Wagoner picked up a 10-pin spare on his opening toss and then fired six consecutive strikes. Fazzone started with a split, which he failed to convert, and then fired a four-bagger to get back into the match. But a 4-6-7 split in the sixth frame hurt his cause.
Wagoner left an 8-10 split in the eighth frame, but he marked in the ninth and then struck out in the 10th to close the door on Fazzone.
“It was a house shot in the [TV] finals, but I’m fortunate that I’m on the Ebonite staff, and they let me drill up any balls I wanted. It gave me an advantage,” said Wagoner. “I used a Hammer Bad Intention in the finals after using a Track 715 during the qualifying.”
Wagoner said he prefers the more challenging oil pattern used during qualifying, but he said he was happy when he saw he was the only right-hander on the show.
“Matt has beaten me a few times on television, and he was two-up on me, so I owed him one,” said the 37-year-old Wagoner, who has 56 perfect games and numerous other area titles to his credit, including several Huck Finn championships and many Northern Bowlers Association crowns.
Although he had his hands full in the finals, perhaps his most difficult test of the day occurred in the quarterfinals, when he beat Joe Mazuryk, 40-35, in a rolloff after both finished with 235 games.
Fazzone, 23, agreed with Wagoner that he would have preferred a tougher lane condition for the finals, but he only made a few errant shots. The two splits in the championship game cost him dearly.
“I guess there was a comfort level with the other guys on the TV show,” he said. “But you still have to stay focused and competitive.”
Like Wagoner, Fazzone is a member of an equipment staff, called Global, which provides their bowling equipment to him free of charge.
Before Sunday, Fazzone’s best performances on the lanes were finishing seventh in both the Super Bud Bowl and the Michelob Lite Challenge. He also finished 32nd in the 2011 Storm Bowler Journal.
All four bowlers in the finals are members of the DV Greco Insurance City League at Towne Bowling Academy.
Palumbo, who won last week’s Kenny Hall Tournament of Champions, had a clean game in his semifinal, but Wagoner’s seven strikes in a row put him away.
Fazzone finished his semifinal with seven strikes in a row to beat Strath, who started his game with back-to-back splits and never recovered.