L.A. X, Hometown Favorite Portland Lumberjacks Advance to PBA League Elias Cup Title Match
by Bill Vint | Wednesday, July 17, 8:37 PM
PORTLAND, Maine – The PBA League will have a new Elias Cup champion Thursday night when L.A. X and the hometown-favorite Portland Lumberjacks will face off in the seventh annual team championship round at Bayside Bowl.
No. 4 seeded L.A. X, led by Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, eliminated the No. 8 New York City KingPins in a two-game sweep in Wednesday’s semifinal round while the No. 7 Lumberjacks, anchored by former PBA Player of the Year Wes Malott, needed three extra frames to oust the 2016 and ’17 Elias Cup champion and No. 3 seeded Dallas Strikers in the second match.
The semifinal round got off to fingernail-biting start when L.A. X seemingly had game one of the “race to 2 points” Baker team match locked up. Working on a string of four strikes heading into the 10th frame, L.A. X anchor bowler Dick Allen left a 10 pin and missed the spare, giving New York City KingPins’ anchor Kyle Sherman a chance to roll three strikes for a tie and force a one-ball roll-off. After getting the first strike, however, Sherman left the 3-6 on his next attempt, giving L.A. X a 225-213 win and the first point in the match.
Jason Belmonte and friends then sewed up L.A. X’s first trip to the Elias Cup championship game with a 224-221 win over the inaugural Elias Cup champions to complete the two-game sweep. England’s Stuart Williams, bowling third in the L.A. X lineup, struck on all four of his chances across the two games and in each case, his strike resulted in at least a double to keep L.A. X’s momentum going.
Belmonte, Allen, Williams and teammates Anthony Lavery-Spahr and Jakob Butturff will try to give L.A. X its first Elias Cup Thursday night against the Lumberjacks’ Malott, Kyle Troup, Mitch Hupé, Kris Prather and Ryan Ciminelli. The Elias Cup will be decided in two “race to 2 point matches” with one-ball sudden death roll-offs deciding any ties.
Portland also took the upper hand with a 226-213 win in game one of their semifinal match against the two-time Elias Cup champion Dallas Strikers. A string of three strikes in the middle of the game kept the Lumberjacks close and two strikes in the 10th frame by Malott, following Ciminelli’s strike in the ninth frame, clinched the first point.
The experience-heavy Strikers answered the challenge, winning the second game, 249-201, to force a one-ball roll-off to decide the second point. Bill O’Neill struck for Dallas and Malott answered. On the second roll-off attempt, Strikers player-manager Norm Duke struck, and Portland’s Ciminelli forced a third roll-off attempt. Dallas’ Tommy Jones sent his shot wide, leaving a 2-10 split and Troup then left a 10 pin for the win.
The PBA League’s live coverage of the Elias Cup finals airs Wednesday on FS1 at 9 p.m. ET.
PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP SEMIFINAL ROUND RESULTS
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, July 17
(Race to 2 Points Baker Team Format; losing teams each earned $35,000)
Semifinal Match One: No. 4 L.A. X (Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Jakob Butturff, Stuart Williams, Jason Belmonte, Dick Allen) def. No. 8 NYC KingPins (Darren Tang, Pete Weber, Marshall Kent, BJ Moore, Kyle Sherman), 2-0 (225-213, 224-221.
Semifinal Match Two: No. 7 Portland Lumberjacks (Kyle Troup, Mitch Hupé, Ryan Ciminelli, Kris Prather, Wes Malott) def. No. 3 Dallas Strikers (Andrew Anderson, Norm Duke, Brad Miller, Bill O’Neill, Tommy Jones) 2-1 (226-213, 201-249, 10-10, 10-10, 9-8).