The 2019 PBA League bracket got underway Tuesday night at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, as four teams advanced and four were eliminated.
The four winning teams moved into the semifinals, which will take place Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern live on FS1 (in the United States) and FloBowling (international).
Here’s a recap of each of the quarterfinals matchups:
No. 8 NYC Kingpins 2, No. 1 Motown Muscle 0
In the opening match of the quarterfinals, the NYC Kingpins had little trouble in sweeping the Motown Muscle, 2-0, to advance into the semifinals.
The Kingpins took the first game 245-235 and then completed the sweep with a 238-205 win.
Kingpins manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard elected to put young star Kyle Sherman in the anchor spot and the move paid off in the first game. Sherman struck out in the final frame to put maximum pressure on Muscle anchor EJ Tackett.
Tackett needed a double and nine pins to take the first game for his squad but went high and left a 6-10 to lose.
“I thought they were a little crazy, honestly,” Sherman told FS1 sideline reporter Kimberly Pressler about being placed in the anchor spot. “When your teammates believe in you like they do, it makes it so much easier out there.”
The second game was a runaway as Darren Tang, Pete Weber, Marshall Kent and BJ Moore all struck to give the Kingpins a four-bagger and 24-pin lead to start.
Anthony Simonsen, who bowled in the No. 4 spot for the Muscle, struggled in the match and failed to strike on any of his four shots.
No. 4 L.A. X 2, No. 5 Silver Lake Atom Splitters 1
After splitting a pair of blowout games, the L.A. X and Silver Lake Atom Splitters saved all the drama for the one-ball sudden-death tiebreaker.
The Atom Splitters took the first game 228-186, while the L.A. X rebounded to take Game 2, 287-187, and force the tiebreaker.
Jason Belmonte, who did not anchor the L.A. X the first two games, went first and came up light. Although it appeared for a split second he would leave the 2-4-5 combination, the headpin bounced off the wall and knocked out the four. The four then took out the two and the headpin took down the five for a strike.
Barnes then needed a strike to match and extend the tiebreaker to a second shot but came up light and left a 2-10 split to lose for his squad.
“We’ve had a couple of unfortunate breaks throughout the years and that was one coming back for us,” Belmonte told Pressler. “It wasn’t my best shot but sometimes you don’t need to have your best shot to strike. This time, we got lucky.”
L.A. X manager Andrew Cain elected to put two-time PBA League MVP Dick Allen in the anchor spot instead of Belmonte, who is easily the front-runner for 2019 PBA Player of the Year honors.
Belmonte looked solid in the second game with a pair of strikes on the right lane, so Cain decided to let him have a shot in the tiebreaker. The move paid off with a little luck.
No. 7 Portland Lumberjacks 2, No. 2 Brooklyn Styles 0
The Portland Lumberjacks had little trouble advancing into the semifinals with an easy 2-0 win over the Brooklyn Styles.
The first game of the match was the closest with the Lumberjacks winning 233-218. Portland never trailed in the game, while Brooklyn failed to put together enough consecutive strikes.
By the time the final frame rolled around, Lumberjacks anchor Wes Malott needed just a mark in the final frame and he buried a strike to secure the win.
The second game was a total blowout as Portland routed Brooklyn, 257-197, in a game that was just about over by the seventh frame.
After four pin leaves by Kyle Troup and Mitch Hupe to start the game, the Lumberjacks strung together seven consecutive strikes to roll to the victory.
No. 3 Dallas Strikers 2, No. 6 Philadelphia Hitmen 0
The final match of the quarterfinals turned out to be one of the biggest blowouts of the night as the Norm Duke led Dallas Strikers crushed the Philadelphia Hitmen, 2-0.
The Strikers never trailed in either game as they swept the Hitmen, 258-224 and 246-161, to move into the semifinals.
Andrew Anderson, Duke and Brad Miller helped Dallas get out of the gates quick with three consecutive strikes to build an early lead in the first game. Anchor bowler Tommy Jones just needed nine pins in the final frame to secure the win and popped a strike.
The second game was a total blowout from the start as Dallas started with seven consecutive strikes before Miller came up light and left the 2-8.
The Hitmen were trying to overcome adversity as their first-round draft pick Shawn Maldonado was sidelined with a hamstring injury yesterday. They flew in Jake Peters as a replacement.
Although Peters struggled in the match, opening in all four of his frames, the Hitmen were simply outmatched up and down the lineup.
The Kingpins will face the L.A. X, while the Lumberjacks take on the Strikers in the semifinals. Those matches will take place Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern live on FS1 (in the United States) and FloBowling (international).