KingPins dethrone Lumberjacks, Wonders grind out Muscle in televised Round 2 matches of the PBA Elite League presented by Snickers

As PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes, who spent Game 1 of the New Jersey KingPins' Round 2 match against the Portland Lumberjacks on the bench, stepped onto the approach, he thought about his son Ryan, who made the PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers championship round on this oil pattern.

“I did have a moment when I stood up there where I thought, ‘what would Ryan do?’” Barnes said. “It really made me chuckle because obviously he’d throw it 10 miles an hour harder and it’d come off the gutter and the head-pin would come around three times. So I’m not going to do that.”

The PBA Hall of Famer aced a strike to clinch the Race-to-Two match victory.

To close Round 2 of the PBA Elite League presented by Snickers, the KingPins took Game 1 218-191 before the three-time champion Lumberjacks battled back with a 199-167 Game 2 win. 

Round 1 and the first part of Round 2 were held Jan. 9 at Bowlero Northrock in Wichita, Kan. The Akron Atom Splitters and Las Vegas High Rollers each went 2-0. All six matches were sweeps, which made the roll-off between the KingPins and Lumberjacks all the more momentous.

Players competed on the Wayne Webb oil pattern that was used during the PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers. While the 38-foot pattern produced a torrid scoring pace at Bowlero Northrock in Wichita, strikes were hard to come by at Woodland.

“It was all the same except we used a different oil, a different lane machine and different lane surface,” Barnes said. “It’s kind of like AJ’s pizza: It’s the same pizza except they changed the dough, the sauce and the cheese. It's still pizza, but that's about where the similarity started and ended.”

In the roll-off, each team selected three players to throw a single shot; the highest total pinfall would win the match.

A five-count from Portland’s Wes Malott put the Lumberjacks in a massive hole, but strikes from Kris Prather and Kyle Troup gave Portland a chance.

New Jersey’s Marshall Kent, BJ Moore and Packy Hanrahan rolled shots of eight, nine and eight, leading to a one-ball roll-off between Portland’s Arturo Quintero and New Jersey’s Barnes.

Low scores defined in the opening match between the Waco Wonders and Motown Muscle, a two-game debacle marred by gutter balls.

EJ Tackett guttered in the fourth frame of Game 1, which put Motown in an early deficit. Waco failed to capitalize on the gaffe, with Tom Hess opening in the sixth frame and Stu Wiliams throwing a gutter himself in the ninth.

Motown anchor Anthony Simonsen, the top seed in Sunday’s U.S. Open finals, had a chance to win Game 1 with a double, but split.

The Muscle’s struggles continued into the second game of the Race-to-Two match. Tackett missed a single-pin in the fourth frame, while Simonsen washed out in the fifth.

Waco anchor Ryan Ciminelli, the 2023 Mark Roth PBA League MVP, didn’t need to tap into his “clutch gene” that powered the Wonders to their 2023 Elias Cup victory as Waco completed a routine two-game sweep of the Muscle.

Tackett and Simonsen, plus Portland’s Troup, return to the Royal Pin Woodland on Sunday for the U.S. Open presented by GoBowling finals. The finals air at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on FOX.

Top-seeded Simonsen aims to become the youngest player to win six major championships, while Tackett looks to win back-to-back green jackets.

More information on the PBA Elite League is available here.

Round 2 Results

Waco def. Motown, 2-0 (189-173, 206-157)
New Jersey def. Portland, 2-1 (218-191, 199-167, 25-25 (10-9))


Team, Record, Pinfall

Las Vegas High Rollers, 2-0, 924
Akron Atom Splitters, 2-0, 859
Portland Lumberjacks, 1-1, 923
Lucky Strike L.A. X, 1-1, 895
Waco Wonders, 1-1, 824
New Jersey KingPins, 1-1, 778
GoBowling Dallas Strikers, 0-2, 868
Motown Muscle, 0-2, 725