|PWPT Masters Champion Mark Berends|
On June 14th, Baltimore, Maryland's Mark Berends added another credential to his impressive tournament resume, capturing the prestigious Pop Whitten Pro Tour Masters event at Southside Bowl in Hagerstown, Maryland. Berends climbed the 7-man stepladder from the Number 3 position, and ultimately came away with a nail-biting 139-137 victory over top-seeded Greg Schriefer. Berends opened the final match sharp and built an early lead over Schriefer, who was making his initial appearance in a stepladder finals. Greg hung in and stayed close in the match, and was able to just about even the contest going into the 10th frame. But a split in Schriefer's half of the 10th box renewed Mark's spark, and Berends needed an 8 in the final frame to seal the victory. Berends went ahead, but proceeded to chop the 2-8 on his first ball in the 10th, and then played it a little too safe on his second shot, hitting the 3-6 pocket, but only clearing out the 3-5-6-10. Left with only the 1-4-7-9 on his third ball, Berends needed 2 of these pins for the win. The situation was extremely tense, since the hole between the 1 and the 4 pins loomed awfully large. Berends made the smart play and went after the 4-7. Mark started the ball left, and for a moment, it looked as though his 3rd ball was headed for the hole, but Berends trusted his pitch enough to where he caught the right side of the 4-7, and ended up getting a kick-out on the 9 pin as well, giving him a 139-137 win.
It was very interesting to note that in the last 4 ladder matches of the day, all 4 contests were decided by 2 pins, which made for exciting viewing for all in attendance.
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