The PBA League will have a first-time champion in 2019 after the L.A. X and Portland Lumberjacks advanced to Thursday night’s championship.
The two squads will face off for the league title at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, at 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursday. The finals will be broadcast live on FS1 for viewers in the United States and on FloBowling for international fans.
Here’s a recap of each of Wednesday’s semifinal matchups:
No. 2 L.A. X 2, No. 8 NYC Kingpins 0
The L.A. X took advantage of a late critical error by the NYC Kingpins to complete the sweep, 2-0, and advance into the PBA League finals.
After Los Angeles won the first game, 225-213, they trailed throughout the second game until a major mistake in the ninth frame by New York’s BJ Moore all but handed them a 224-221 win in Game 2.
Leading by 10 pins and having not trailed in the second game, Moore got the ball a little wide and paid the ultimate price, leaving a 2-8-10 split in the foundation frame. The split proved impossible to overcome for the Kingpins.
Jason Belmonte tossed a strike immediately after the split and to give his side a 15-pin lead heading into the final frame. Although Kingpins anchor Marshall Kent struck out, Dick Allen needed just nine, spare, seven to secure the win for L.A. X and he accomplished the task easily.
Allen had a shaky finish to the first game, however, when he missed a 10 pin in the final frame, giving New York hope. Kyle Sherman needed all three strikes to tie the game for the Kingpins. He got the first one but went high on his second shot and left a 3-6 to lose.
One player who was clutch throughout the quarterfinals and semifinals for L.A. X was Stu Williams, who has struck on all eight shots he’s thrown between the two matches.
Williams, Belmonte, Allen, Jakob Butturff and Anthony Lavery-Spahr will look to give L.A. X its first PBA League title in history in the finals.
No. 7 Portland Lumberjacks 2, No. 3 Dallas Strikers 1
In the most drama-filled match yet of the 2019 PBA League, the Portland Lumberjacks defeated the Dallas Strikers, 2-1, after a three-shot sudden-death tiebreaker.
The Lumberjacks won the first game 226-213, and the Strikers evened the match with a 249-201 victory in Game 2 to setup the drama.
In the tiebreaker, Bill O’Neill struck for Dallas and Wes Malott matched it for Portland. Norm Duke took the second shot for the Strikers and buried the pocket, while Ryan Ciminelli matched it for the Lumberjacks again.
In the final sudden-death rolloff, Tommy Jones came in light for Dallas and left a 2-10 split. That gave Kyle Troup a chance to lock up the win for Portland with nine or better, and he left a ringing 10 pin to send his team to the final.
Malott was clutch in the final frame of the first game for Portland. Needing a strike and nine pins, Malott tossed a double to put his team up 1-0.
The second game was a total blowout as Dallas rolled to the victory thanks to six strikes in a row starting in the second frame.
Malott, Ciminelli, Troup, Mitch Hupe and Kris Prather will have a chance to bring the hometown fans their first PBA League title in the championship match.