Motown Muscle Earns No. 1 Seed as PBA League Quarterfinal Elimination Round Set for Tuesday on FS1

by Bill Vint  |  Monday, July 15, 9:58 AM

PORTLAND, Maine ­– The Motown Muscle averaged 241.63 during Monday’s eight-game Baker format seeding tournament at Bayside Bowl to earn the No. 1 seed for the quarterfinal elimination round of the seventh annual PBA League Elias Cup competition that begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET live on FS1.

The Motown team, managed by PBA Hall of Famer Del Ballard Jr., outscored the No. 2 Brooklyn Styles by 85 pins to open its  bid for its first PBA League title. Monday’s seeding round also gave Ballard an opportunity to move players around in his lineup for the Baker format competition, which requires each of the five players to bowl two frames in each game, and he decided his lineup for the opening match against No. 8 New York City KingPins will include PBA Tour veteran Josh Blanchard bowling leadoff followed by AJ Chapman, rookie Mykel Holliman, two-hander Anthony Simonsen and former PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett.

The three-time Elias Cup winning Go Bowling! Silver Lake Atom Splitters will open their bid to defend their title from the No. 5 seeding position against the No. 4 L.A. X when the annual five-player team tournament gets underway Tuesday.

The Atom Splitters, led by two-time Mark Roth MVP Chris Barnes, will try to become the first four-time Elias Cup champions. Barnes’ teammates will include Sweden’s Jesper Svensson, Tom Daugherty, AJ Johnson and DJ Archer.

In the first six years of PBA League competition, the Atom Splitters (three titles), Dallas Strikers (two titles) and New York City KingPins are the only teams to hoist the Elias Cup. That means the hometown favorite Portland Lumberjacks along with L.A. X, the Philadelphia Hitmen, Brooklyn Styles and Motown Muscle all will be trying to win the event for the first time.

In an unfortunate first for the PBA League, the Philadelphia Hitmen’s Shawn Maldonado was forced to withdraw due to injury. The team bowled the seeding round with four players, taking “nine-spare” in Maldonado’s slot in the lineup, while PBA Tour titlist Jake Peters of Henderson, Nevada, was flying to Portland to replace Maldonado for the start of competition Tuesday.

The PBA League, for the first time, will air live for three consecutive nights in prime time on FS1 as part of the PBA’s inaugural season of FOX Sports coverage. PBAL coverage begins on Tuesday with coverage of all four quarterfinal round matches, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Tuesday’s winners will advance to the semifinal round on Wednesday at 9 p.m., with the two finalists bowling for the Elias Cup Thursday at 9 p.m.

2019 PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP FINALS
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, July 15-18 (all times EDT)

Seeding Tournament Final Standings (after 8 games, including match play bonus pins)
1, Motown Muscle, 4-4, 2,053.
2, BROOKLYN STyLES, 5-3, 1,968.
3, Dallas Strikers, 5-3, 1,945.
4, L.A. X, 4-4, 1,923.
5, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, 5-3, 1,907.
6, Philadelphia Hitmen, 2-6, 1,877.
7, Portland Lumberjacks, 2-5-1, 1,826.
8, NYC KingPins, 4-3-1, 1,821.

Tuesday, July 16 (Quarterfinal Round pairings, live on FS1)
7 p.m. – Quarterfinal Match One: No. 1 Motown Muscle vs. No. 8 NYC KingPins.
8 p.m. – Quarterfinal Match Two: No. 5 Silver Lake Atom Splitters vs. Team 4 L.A. X.
9 p.m. – Quarterfinal Match Three: No. 2 Brooklyn Styles vs. No. 7 Portland Lumberjacks.
10 p.m. – Quarterfinal Match Four: No. 6 Philadelphia Hitmen vs. No. 3 Dallas Strikers.
Wednesday, July 17 (live on FS1)
9 p.m. – Semifinal Match One: Winner Match One vs. Winner Match Two
10 p.m. – Semifinal Match Two: Winner Match Three vs. Winner Match Four
Thursday, July 18 (live on FS1)
9 p.m. – Elias Cup Championship: Winner Semifinal One vs. Winner Semifinal Two

2019 PBA LEAGUE TEAM ROSTERS
● Portland Lumberjacks (manager Tim Mack): Ryan Ciminelli, Wes Malott, Kyle Troup, Kris Prather, Mitch Hupe’.
● L.A. X (manager Andrew Cain): Jason Belmonte, Stuart Williams, Jakob Butturff, Dick Allen, Anthony Lavery-Spahr.
● Brooklyn Styles (manager Johnny Petraglia): Walter Ray Williams Jr., Sean Rash, Rhino Page, Andres Gomez, Brad Angelo.
● New York City KingPins (manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard): Pete Weber, Marshall Kent, BJ Moore, Kyle Sherman, Darren Tang.
● Motown Muscle (manager Del Ballard Jr.): EJ Tackett, Anthony Simonsen, Josh Blanchard, AJ Chapman, Mykel Holliman.
● Dallas Strikers: Player-manager Norm Duke, Tommy Jones, Bill O’Neill, Andrew Anderson, Brad Miller.
● Philadelphia Hitmen (manager Jason Couch): Dom Barrett, Tom Smallwood, Matt Sanders, x-Shawn Maldonado, Patrick Girard, x-Jake Peters.
● Go Bowling! Silver Lake Atom Splitters (manager Mark Baker): Chris Barnes, Jesper Svensson, Tom Daugherty, DJ Archer, AJ Johnson.

x-Peters replaced Maldonado who withdrew due to injury.

HISTORY OF PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP CHAMPIONS
2013    NYC KingPins (Tommy Jones, Jack Jurek, John Szczerbinski, Scott Norton, Pete Weber, Kelly Kulick).
2014    Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Bryon Smith, Chris Barnes, Dom Barrett, Wes Malott, Tommy Jones).
2015    Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Barnes, Craig Nidiffer, Tom Daugherty, Dick Allen)
2016    Go Bowling! Dallas Strikers (Norm Duke, Bill O’Neill, Shawn Maldonado, BJ Moore, Tommy Jones)
2017    Dallas Strikers (Bill O’Neill, Norm Duke, Rhino Page, BJ Moore, Tommy Jones)
2018    Go Bowling! Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Jesper Svensson, Dick Allen, AJ Johnson, Tom Daugherty, Chris Barnes)