Ravenna man comes up short in bowling tourney

By Persh Rohrer Record-Courier bowling writer Published:

Sean Berry ran the table in Sunday's Portage County Open Singles Tournament - until his final shot went awry. The Ravenna bowler needed a strike and a good count to emerge the winner but instead a 6-7-10 split ruined his opportunity. This paved the way for Gary Brobson, a Canton entrant, to cart home the top prize of $1,000, 233-228, in the event at AMF Twin Star Lanes that lured 109 players. Brobson, the No. 1 seed, trailed Berry after a 6-7 split stopped a four-strike start. But he fired a closing three-bagger that forced Berry to at least double. "I knew I had a chance when he left a pin in the ninth frame,'' offered Brobson, who very nearly left the lanes after the qualifying round when he missed the cut by three pins. The Canton letter-carrier decided to re-enter on the second squad and it paid off. "That helped me to get lined up for the rest of the tournament," Brobson explained. His 289-266_555 led the 10 survivors who rolled two games each in a bid for the stepladder finals. Although he won the Canton Masters in 1998 and the Barger Memorial in 1999, Brobson said he hasn't done much tournament bowling this season. "When I awoke this morning, I told my wife there was a tournament scheduled at Kent," Brobson recalled. "She said 'why don't you go up there and bowl." Most of Brobson's bowling is done at the College Bowl in Canton but he does venture into the Akron area for tournament competition. "I told my wife today I felt I was going to win this tournament," said Berry, who grabbed the No. 5 seed despite a closing 173 game. "There was a great shot out there today, probably the best I've seen. But you don't take anything for granted. My elbow was out on my last shot." Berry started impressively in the finals, carving out eight straight strikes against No. 4 Mike Benton of Newton Falls to win, 267-213. He then ousted young Frank Testa of Silver Lake, 225-184. Berry salvaged a 243-212 victory over No. 2 Jeff Tyson of Cuyahoga Falls, when Tyson failed to strike on his first ball in the 10th, after needing a three-bagger to win. Berry collected $700 for runnerup; Tyson, $496; Testa, $300, and Benton, $200. Tyson rolled an unusual block in the opening qualifier, posting a 256 game followed by three straight 258 games and a 1,026 total. The format for this first-time tournament, directed by Matt Tennant, called for four games of qualifying with one of every nine players advancing to the next level. Twenty-two players then bowled two games (total pins) to cut the field to 10, capped with another two-game set that determined the stepladder finalists. High game for the tournament was a 298, bowled by Brian Walinski in the first qualifying game. Ryan Gierke's 278 was top game for the second squad.

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