Smithsburg, Maryland's Mark Nigh visited College Park, Maryland on the weekend of September 17th and 18th and came away with his first career win on the PWPT circuit. Nigh, a 2-time DPBA tour champion was brilliant in the divisional play round and carried forward his momentum to the all-important title game.
The stepladder finals featured 4 matches, opening with McSherrystown, PA's Mike Steinert taking on Hagerstown, MD's Steve Rudisill. The dynamic Steinert was sharp from the outset, winning impressively, 163-139 over the game Rudisill.
The highlight pairing of the day was about to unfold in the 2nd match on the ladder when Steinert faced Vic Stein. The Stein-Steinert match was a classic, as both bowlers traded offensive barrages up until the end. Vic looked to be in control as he headed into the 10th frame, but a crushing double-header from Mike in the 9th and 10th brought Steinert from behind to take a lead into the 10th with a 171 game. Needing a 10 frame to tie or a mark to win the contest, Stein left a spare break in the closing moments but in an uncharacteristic moment in time, Vic was unable to convert on his final 2 throws, and thus he came up a pin shy of Steinert, finishing at 170.
In the next to the last ladder match, Steinert was pitted against the 2nd seed, Mark Klingelhofer from Baltimore. In a lopsided yielding of spare breaks between the two players, Klingelhofer started fast with a string of marks, while Steinert couldn't buy a break until midway through the contest. Mark finished the game solidly in a 170-112 win.
Prior to the stepladder finals, there was drama in Game 5 of the divisional play. Klingelhofer and the eventual top seed Nigh were both 4-0 in their respective divisions, with substantial pinfall totals. Klingelhofer, who had blitzed the field on Saturday with a 996 total for his 6-game qualifying block, was roughly 10 pins ahead of Nigh for top-seed honors, and then posted a strong 160+ effort. But Nigh was totally zoned in, and passed Klingelhofer with a magnificent 197 game to earn the #1 seeding, 839 to 815 in pinfall (both bowlers ended with 5-0 won/lost records).
With the 'title match' at hand, Klingelhofer was primed and ready after his 170 game on the ladder, as was the awaiting top seed, the experienced Nigh, who then stepped up. In a match that was closely contested throughout, Klingelhofer had an edge going into the last 2 frames. But an untimely chop, resulting in a 2-count on his 8th frame spare would prove to be a lethal blow in the match. Nigh then, like a cat that's camped out waiting for his opportunity to pounce, did just that. Nigh spared twice with big counts in both the 9th and 10th frames, which ended up putting his opponent on a double-header to win the contest. Klingelhofer couldn't come through, and Nigh won the war, 141-128.
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