|PWPT Champ at Southside Bowl, John Biederman|
The Pop Whitten Pro Tour returned to Southside Bowl in Hagerstown on the weekend of April 20-22. The 2011-2012 season marked the first 'fiscal year' that the number of Hagerstown stops was reduced to a mere one visit to the Tri-State area of Maryland.
Southside, the traditional host establishment for the PWPT Masters event, but now just another stop on the tour schedule, drew a healthy 102 entries, despite the fact that the DPBA tour's opening event would be the following weekend in April.
John Biederman of Orchard Beach, Maryland, added another bullet to a fabulous year on his bowling resume, notching his 3rd win on the PWPT tour as he defeated the top seed, Mike Steinert of Hanover, Pennsylvania.
The preliminary round was highlighted by Frederick, Maryland's Bernie Hipkins, who tallied a monster 6-game block of 994, in which his last 5 games ranged in scores from 160 to 179. Baltimoreans Randy Farlow and Chris Frye were solid with scores of 968 and 952 respectively, and Stevenson- ville, MD's Susan Phillips, who made her debut on the PWPT, scored an impressive 940 block total.
The Sunday head-to-head round had its share of headlines, as well. Mike Steinert earned the top seed position with an undefeated 5-0 record with 773 pinfall to lead the field. John Biederman had the only other unblemished mark of 5-0 to gain the 2nd seeding. Tony Zangla and Danny Dorrett both went 4-1 and John Deantoniis nipped Virginia's 13-time winner, Donnie Stanley in the last divisional match to top his division at 3-2—a record which was shared by 4 bowlers in the division. The wildcard, Susan Phillips, nearly went undefeated in her division, but lost a close last match to the eventual winner, Zangla. Phillips' 748 pinfall was more than enough to secure the wildcard spot.
The opening match on the stepladder featured Deantoniis vs. Phillips. As fate would have it, Susan caught John at the peak moment of a Deantoniis strike-fest, as Deantoniis posted 2 triple-headers en route to a 206-159 victory.
Next, John would face Danny Dorrett. Deantoniis got off to a quick start, but Dorrett fought back, and trailed by only 7 pins at the halfway mark. The second half of the contest was uneventful score-wise, as both men fell victim to a few unforced errors. At game's end, to achieve victory, Dorrett needed the first strike in the 10th to add to his foundation strike in the 9th. Danny then proceeded to rip out the middle, ultimately resulting in a 143-119 Deantoniis win.
Stepping into the spotlight for ladder match #3 was Tony Zangla. Tony started somewhat fast in the match, but appeared to lose his sharpness in the middle stages of the contest. John took advantage, marking at key times. Deantoniis kept a step ahead of Zangla, winning out with a 146-129 score.
With three wins under his belt, Deantoniis would face fellow Baltimore 'pro-league' nemesis, John Biederman. The physically imposing Biederman caught an early double-header in the 3rd and 4th frames of the contest, and was able to keep Deantoniis at bay. However, as was the case in Deantoniis' earlier match with Danny Dorrett, a repeat scenario surfaced, in which unforced errors plagued both players throughout the middle to latter stages of the contest. It was just 'one of those games' for Biederman as he went by a spare in the 10th which left the door open for his opponent. Needing a mark and a 1-count to tie, Deantoniis made a strong pitch on his first ball in the 10th frame, leaving the 4-7 spare break. The tension was at its highest at this point, and John threw his next ball. With the ball on its way to nail the 2-pinner, Deantoniis reacted a little too much and unconsciously lurched forward, resulting in him stepping on the foul line with his right foot (the foot opposite his slide foot). The foul resulted in a 10 frame instead of a spare, leaving Biederman as the winner, 129-128.
Sometimes a little good fortune is necessary on the road to victory, and Biederman was probably most deserving of a break after having to grind out his divisional play on the tougher-scoring, low end of the Southside bowling center.
After a lengthy wait since the end of his divisional play, the top seed, Mike Steinert, who was chronologically the last in line for the PWPT title, had finally seen his time arrive, and was ready to face the advancing Biederman. Mike opened the match, but was met was a 2-6-10 split, leading to a 10 frame. John opened with a single pin spare conversion, and with each man having 2 splits apiece in the first 3 frames, Biederman led by 8. The match would seesaw starting in the 5th box. Steinert struck at the halfway point to close the gap to 2 pins, but Biederman answered with a strike in the 6th. John regained a 12-pin lead after Mike's 7-9 split in that frame. Steinert then rebounded with a strike and spare in the 7th and 8th and was now zoned in. Biederman stayed focused and again countered by striking in the 8th to maintain a 4-pin advantage. The foundation 9th frame would prove to be the key frame in the championship. Steinert was all over the headpin but left the dreaded 7-10 split. Biederman on the other hand went a bit wide on his first shot in the 9th, but then made a quality delivery, perfectly converting the tricky 1-3-4-7-9 break for a spare. Finishing first, Biederman bared down and seized the opportunity, striking in the 10th to shut out Steinert. Mike finished in professional style, but John Biederman was the winner in a tough 144-131 triumph.
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