North American Bowling News

Grohs Collects $10,000 at Longmeadow Bowl's Final Event

DPBA $10,000 Winner, Paul Grohs

The 2009 Longmeadow Bowl DPBA Tour Stop marked the end of a sensational and impactful run in the sport of duckpin bowling. Frank Turner's Longmeadow Bowl in Hagerstown, Maryland closed its doors for good after the climax of the above-mentioned DPBA tour stop. The tournament was a fitting end for Longmeadow Bowl as the ladder competition featured a thoroughly impressive and top quality series of performances from the duckpin game's best players.

The action in the stepladder finals was a real treat for all in attendance, and a show that bowling center proprietor, Frank Turner, can be proud of. Each match during the 2009 ladder finals featured unmatched professional level performances.

The stepladder finals began with 2 bowlers hungry for their first DPBA 'star'-- Baltimore, Maryland's young veteran Danny Dorrett vs. Easton, Massachusetts' rising sun, Scott Sponheimer. The bowlers went at it, trading marks back and forth throughout the course of the match. At the end, Sponheimer was the last to bowl his 10th frame, and was faced with needing a mark and a count to win. Scott came through with flying colors, to secure the 143-136 win.

Sponheimer advanced to the next match to face a former DPBA Bowler of the Year, Wink Bartley. Again the match spotlighted strong efforts, but the difference in this contest was that Sponheimer was able to gain a lead over Bartley throughout the middle to latter stages of the game. The game was still close in the waining moments, and Sponheimer was to finish first. Scott needed a mark in the 10th frame to shut out Wink. Again, the youngster from Massachusetts was up to the challenge, hitting his spare and applying the appropriate count to seal his second victory on the ladder, 151-119.

Next in line was 8-time pro tour winner, Mitch Lewinski, and the match was viewed with great anticipation from all those in attendance. Lewinski, who is notoriously well-acquainted with high profile contests, was primed and ready as the match began. The two bowlers fought tooth and nail in a close match, exchanging blows throughout the entire game. Mitch finished first, and put the pressure on Sponheimer, forcing Scott to have to mark to advance to the next rung on the ladder. In the most pressure-packed moment of the day up to this point, Sponheimer proceeded and rolled a solid ball in the 1-3 pocket, in which he left the 7-pin single pin spare break. The tension was at its peak. Scott made his delivery and nailed the single pin. Still needing a big count to win, Sponheimer didn't let up, as he planted another devastating ball in the pocket, and came away with the necessary huge count to attain his 3rd victory, 154-150.

Sponheimer had captured 3 tough wins, and now with only a potential 3 matches to go, the tournament was within his grasp. But the formidable figure of Rhode Island's Steve Iavarone, an 11-time tour winner, was momentarily blocking Scott's path. Match #4 opened, and by the middle of the game, Sponheimer had a slim lead. But Iavarone rose to the occasion, as he had done 3 times in past years in capturing Hagerstown DPBA tour titles. Steve put on a charge, while Sponheimer met with a couple of splits in the latter stages. By the end of the game, with Steve finishing first, he had not quite closed the door on Sponheimer, but made it as difficult as possible. Sponheimer was now faced with needing a double-header to capture his fourth victory. 'Pressure' was now a companion to Scott on this day, and he took the reins. Sponheimer rolled his first ball, knowing he needed a double-header. The ball was another stellar pitch on the headpin, but this time the magic wasn't there as the strike wouldn't go, thus making Iavarone the victor in Match 4, 139-122.

Now it was Iavarone, who could see a light at the end of the tunnel as he now only needed 2 more wins to claim 2009's richest title. Steve's opponent was a fellow New Englander--Torrington, Connecticut's Paul Grohs, a 2-time pro tour winner. Grohs was an early headliner at the beginning of the day, after advancing in a 3-way roll-off for 1 of the last 2 match play spots, based on a trio of bowlers tieing for the final 'cut' position after Saturday's qualifying round.

Iavarone and Grohs took their positions and proceeded in the intriguing semi-final. Iavarone's reputation alone would be enough to normally give him an early advantage, being a multi-tour winner and an extremely accurate fireballer. However, Grohs seemed impervious to the circumstances--the pressure of the 2nd seed ladder position, the accolades of his opponent, and the potential $10,000.00 payday on the line. Demonstrating a supreme confidence in his game, Paul opened the contest and soon strung a line of marks with hefty counts, and continued his onslaught up through the middle stages of the game. If there was ever a case of a bowler generating his own momentum, this was it. Iavarone had gotten off to a bit of a slow start, although he kept himself in contention with marks at key points. Paul had accumulated a somewhat comfortable lead as the contest was winding down, and Steve needed to finish with a flourish to put the pressure back on Grohs. Iavarone couldn't quite muster the necessary offense, and in the meantime, Paul added a little insurance, and ended with an impressive victory, 149-128.

Taking the baton of ladder victory from Iavarone, Paul Grohs was now in high gear and ready to face tournament leader, Mark Callahan. Although Callahan hadn't yet attained any DPBA 'stars', his credentials during the past several seasons have been nothing less than superb, having made numerous 'cuts' and ladder appearances, and was a recent multi-winner on the heralded 'Pop Whitten' pro tour circuit. The match began, and Grohs was awesome. Still red hot on his ascent up the ladder, Paul strung another impressive run of marks in his half of the scoresheet, while Mark was a little cold and struggled early from the top seed position. In spite of Paul's dominating performance from the previous match, he had saved his best effort for last, leaving no stone unturned and never looked back as he continued to rack up the marks. While Callahan made a gallant effort to try to get something going, with Grohs bowling the way he did throughout the beginning to the middle stages, by the last couple of boxes, victory for Paul was inevitable. Grohs was absolutely sensational, and capped the final game at Longmeadow with a monstrous 186 effort. For Grohs, his 3rd pro tour win ranks as one the most memorable performances in pro tour history, as he closed down Long Meadow Bowl in a fitting end to a remarkable 48-year span of great bowling memories for one of Hagerstown's prime landmarks.

43 'STARS': Hagerstown proprietor, Frank Turner, surrounded by some of Duckpins' best bowlers

Pictured in the center of this photo is Frank Turner, the man who put Hagerstown on the bowling map. Turner, owner of 3 bowling establishments in Maryland and 1 center in neighboring West Virginia, is an icon for the Duckpin Pro Tour, contributing over a half million dollars to the cause over the years. Surrounding Frank are 4 DPBA Hall-of-Famers with 43 pro tour wins between them: Jeff Pyles (18 wins), Mitch Lewinski (8 wins), Steve Iavarone (11 wins), and Mike Steinert (6 wins).

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