|Lisa Huber, flanked by White Oak Lanes proprietor Ralph Curry, and WNDA's Jackie Adams|
Fresh from her first major win of the year, the Ladies All-Star event back in March, Lisa Huber of Baltimore, Maryland successfully claimed her 3rd overall WNDA pro tournament, defeating fellow Baltimorean Janet Sauter in a thrilling final. Held at White Oak Lanes in Silver Spring, Maryland, the WNDA's 3rd official stop of the year was the central location for a number of spectacular performances over the weekend of July 17 and 18.
While the Saturday qualifying round featured a number of notable efforts, the day would eventually be known as the birth of one of the young lionesses of the duckpin game--Walkersville, Maryland's Stephanie Adams. Adams caught the attention of all in attendance as she rolled back-to-back 190+ games in her 4th and 5th games of the block (including an all-mark 194 effort in the 2nd '190' game), allowing her to easily coast in to the Sunday semi-finals. Adams had a dazzling weekend overall, starting with the Saturday qualifying round, and during the ensuing semi-final match play, she was involved in a pivotal, competitive game against her mom, Jackie Adams--a game that would significantly decide a ladder berth for whoever won the contest. Stephanie trailed Jackie by a few pins after 8 frames in the head-to-head contest, but threw a double-header in the 9th and 10th frames to secure a narrow victory.
The stepladder finals opened with a strong set of contestants, and the first match featured Stephanie Adams against Chris Primozic. Adams got the early jump, but Primozic hung tough throughout the game. By game's end, Stephanie was able to open enough of a lead to stay just far enough in front of Chris to finish with a 156-141 victory.
In the next game, Adams was raring to go, with the number 3 seed, the formidable Susan Phillips ready to step into combat. In a highly intriguing match, this time it was Susan who, after a virtual even start between the two, got an edge by the middle of the game. Phillips, a former tour winner, was no stranger to big matches, and used her experience to pick up key marks at crucial times during the match, and thus finished with a 132-122 victory.
Patiently waiting her turn on the ladder, Lisa Huber now took the lanes to face Susan. Phillips and Huber started out pretty much even at the outset, but Susan ran into some adversity in the early to middle stages of the game. Huber added marks in the meantime, but couldn't quite put the match away. Susan made a late charge, rallying valiantly as the game wound down, but was unable to put a finishing touch on her comeback, and Lisa finished out with an impressive 141-123 win.
Now the top seed, Janet Sauter was all that stood in Huber's way to claiming her 3rd WNDA star. Sauter earned her top seed position with a magnificent match play record of 5-0. Janet also had a little extra going for her in that in a past tour at White Oak, she topped the '200' mark in a qualifying round, so she was certainly comfortable at proprietor Ralph Curry's establishment. The match opened, and as was the case in the previous match, both women started out pretty much even in the early going. By the middle of the game, Lisa was able to gain a somewhat comfortable, but not insurmountable edge. Trailing by a little more than a mark, Janet fought off the jitters and went into action as the game progressed to its climax. After chopping the middle in the 8th frame, things started to look bleak for Janet. But Sauter made a tremendous effort on her spare attempt, converting the split with pinpoint accuracy. The tables had turned, after Janet broke 9 in the 9th frame, and subsequently picked up the 10-pin single for a spare. Huber then opened her half of the 9th frame. Coincidenally, Sauter's pro tour banner was now noticeable, as it just happened to be hanging on display on the support beam in the bowlers' circle of the championship pair of lanes. The name "Janet Sauter" was looming large. At this point, with destiny on her side, it looked like Sauter was in command to attain her first WNDA victory.
With her back now against the wall in the match, Huber showed the heart of a champion in the 10th frame, delivering a crushing strike, and counted full on it to put the game back in doubt. The task for Sauter had now materialized in full focus. She needed a 9 count on her first ball to secure victory. However, in the game of duckpins, nothing is ever assured. Sauter pressed on, and put a little extra on the ball to avoid tensing up in the pressure situation. However, she may have given the ball a little too much zip, as she crossed over the headpin, and took out the 2-8. With the low count on her first ball, Janet now needed to convert the flock shot for a spare to resume her opportunity for victory. Sauter studied the shot, and delivered a superb 2nd ball, but couldn't quite come away with the necessary spare, leaving Lisa Huber with a 143-136 victory in the championship game.
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