Anthony Simonsen and Danielle McEwan Complete Comeback to Win Storm PBA/PWBA SABC Mixed Doubles Title
When qualifying concluded on Saturday evening at Copperfield Bowl in Houston, Anthony Simonsen and Danielle McEwan sat in 30th place, more than 250 pins behind the tournament leaders.
But rather than run from the massive deficit, they ran straight at it.
“Hey, I get it was a rough day, but tomorrow's a new day,” Simonsen said he texted McEwan on Saturday night. “And it’s more enjoyable to run the lead down than it is to lead and try to hold on.”
Simonsen and McEwan embraced the challenge and emerged with the 2023 Storm PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles tournament title.
This marks Simonsen’s 13th career PBA Tour title and third of the season. McEwan earns her eighth career PWBA Tour title and first of 2023; she also won the last time she competed in this event in 2021 with EJ Tackett.
“We have heart,” McEwan said. “That’s what we kept saying all day.”
Simonsen led all match play advancers by averaging 243.15 for his 13 games during the semifinals and finals, while McEwan paced the women with a 208.46 Sunday average. That’s how they turned a 252-pin deficit into a 118-pin victory.
Despite the final margin, two teams were within striking distance heading into the position round. The defending champions, EJ Tackett and Diandra Asbaty, trailed by 82 pins in third place; Tommy Jones and Shannon Pluhowsky sat just 61 pins back with a head-to-head matchup and 30 bonus pins in front of them.
Moreover, Jones and Pluhowsky had just defeated Simonsen and McEwan by 20 pins on the same pair where the position round would be held. And McEwan’s ball reaction had disappeared — she clawed out a 186 that game while never knocking down more than eight pins on any of her final four first-balls.
The 11-time Team USA member remained resilient, starting the final game with a spare and three consecutive strikes.
“I definitely thrive off bowling with a team and having a teammate,” McEwan said. “Especially in today's situation, even when I was lost, I had somebody to pick me up and to talk to when I wasn't seeing it clearly instead of having to listen to your own thoughts. I was able to have a conversation with somebody and figure it out and that helped me tremendously.”
“I felt like I had a really good ball reaction, so as long as she can keep us close, I can keep us moving up,” Simonsen said.
Simonsen's ball reaction was illustrative of how the 26-year-old has rewritten the PBA record books over the past 10 years.
While other players chased the lane transition on the 41-foot pattern left of the sixth arrow, Simonsen did the opposite. He moved nearly 20 boards right and fired his fill ball about four miles per hour faster up the 8-board to close the fifth game of match play. He told McEwan he was going to commit to that move the next game.
"I had full trust in him," McEwan said. "It goes back to our familiarity bowling around the world with each other for at least six years. When he knows what he’s doing, he knows how to make it work."
Simonsen shot 298, which propelled them into the lead for good.
With the first-place finish, Simonsen earned his 16th top-10 finish in 16 PBA Tour title events in 2023. He’ll have one final test at the Storm Lucky Larsen Masters in September.
McEwan closes out the 2023 PWBA Tour next month in Iowa.
- Anthony Simonsen and Danielle McEwan, 8,873
- Tommy Jones and Shannon Pluhowsky, 8,755
- EJ Tackett and Diandra Asbaty, 8,664
- Packy Hanrahan and Madison Janack, 8,639
- Nate Stubler and Breanna Clemmer, 8,607
- Sean Rash and Stephanie Zavala, 8,595
- John Janawicz and Missy Parkin, 8,536
- Ildemaro Ruiz Jr. and Caitlyn Johnson, 8,371
- Anthony Simonsen and Danielle McEwan, $25,000
- Tommy Jones and Shannon Pluhowsky, $12,500
- EJ Tackett and Diandra Asbaty, $8,000
- Packy Hanrahan and Madison Janack, $6,500
- Nate Stubler and Breanna Clemmer, $5,500
- Sean Rash and Stephanie Zavala, $5,000
- John Janawicz and Missy Parkin, $4,750
- Ildemaro Ruiz Jr. and Caitlyn Johnson, $4,500
More information on the Storm PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles tournament is available here.