UPDATED 5-11-2002
Here is my report of the PBA regional tournament from Canton, GA. Stoney Baker, who has won several PBA regionals is co-owner of Cherokee Lanes and helped host the tournament along with his partner, Norm Williams

There were 2 squads of players bowling 8 game sets. I was on the 'A' squad which started at 8 am on Sat. 'B' squad started at 2 pm. The lanes were stripped and re-oiled so that the players on each squad were playing under similar conditions. The scores were pretty low as our squad only had 6 players averaging over 200 for the 8 games. 'B' squad did much better as the it took +38 to make the top 16 while the qualifying was led by Chris Haydon with a little over a 225 average.

I started using a shiny particle ball playing around 11 at the arrows going fairly direct with decent speed. I missed the pocket 4 times in the 1st game leaving a 6 pin, 2-5 which I chopped, a 4-7 and a 6 pin to shoot 204. In the 2nd game I missed the pocket twice; a 4-6-7-10 which I missed and the 2-4-5-7-8 which I spared. I finished with 5 strikes in a row after several taps to shoot 224. In the 3rd game I made some more bad shots as I left a 3 pin, a 2-5, the 3-6-10 and I tripped a 4-7-10 in the 10th. Fortunately I made all of spares and had a double and turkey in the 10th for a 213. I started with a double in the 4th game and missed the 1-2-8-10 in the 5th frame. I came bask with a turkey only to miss the 4-9 in the 10th. I picked up the 1-2-8-10 in the 10th frame to shoot 203 in one of my better bowled games. In the 5th game I started with a double and went high in the 2nd frame only leaving the 4 pin. I doubled in the 6th and 7th frame and turkeyed in the 9th and 10th frame for a 237. I had a nice break as I tripped the 2-4-5 in the 10th frame. In the 6th frame I left the 4-7-10 in the 1st frame which I missed and the 2-4-5 in the 2nd frame which I again chopped. I then struck 4 times in a row before some taps in the 7th, 9th and 10th frames to shoot 205. The 7th game was probably my best game as I only missed the pocket once when I went a bit high in the 6th frame leaving a 4-7. I had a 5 bagger after that to shoot 235. In the last qualifying game I had a double in the 3rd and 4th frames before throwing some bad shots; a 6 pin, and the 2-4-5-7-8 which I spared. I then missed the 4-9 and came back with a 6-10 which I spared. Two more taps and I shot 188. I threw the ball pretty well and with the scores being pretty low, my +109 score got me into 5th spot after qualifying.

X9/ X X81 X X9/ X8/9 204
62 X5/9/9/9/ X X XXX9 224
9/8/9/9/ X9/ X X7/XXX 213
X X9/ X63 X X X816/X 203
X X9/ X9/ X X9/ XXX9 237
7172 X X X X9/ X9/9/X 205
X9/8/ X9/8/ X X XXX9 235
X9/ X X9/5/8-8/9/9/X 188

I had 50 strikes in 92 shots. (I had 2 strikes when I missed the pocket, a tripped 4-7-10 and a tripped 2-4-5.) My strike % on pocket shots was 48 of 71 or 68%.
I had 7 opens. 4 splits (4-6-7-10, 4-9, 4-6-7, and another pocket 4-9) one washout (1-2-8-10) and two chopped 2-5's. I did pick up one washout and two 2-4-5-7-8's.
I did miss the pocket 21 times, but considering that the lanes were pretty challenging that isn't too bad.

In match play there are 16 games before the step ladder where the top 5 will compete for the title.

I decided to play up 7 with the same ball I used in qualifying. My first match was against Steve Wilson. We had a very close game with Steve having a chance to shut me out in the 10th. However he missed the head pin on the 2nd shot and spared his unusual 1-7-8 leave. I needed a mark and good count to beat him. I threw a bad shot and was lucky to leave only the 10 pin. My next shot was much better and I struck to win the game 221-220. In the 2nd game I bowled Riga Kalfas. We had a close game also with me having a chance to win the game at the end. I threw a bad shot in the 9th frame leaving a washout which I missed. I then left a 7 pin and struck in the 10th frame. Riga needed a mark to beat me and spared after crossing over on his first shot leaving only the 4 pin (he is left handed) to beat me 201-191. My 3rd match was against Darin Hays. Darin had a lead on me when he missed a 7 pin in the 8th frame. He then left a split in the 10th frame (4-6-8-10). I needed a mark to win and did when I left a 4 pin to shoot 204 to his 191. I bowled Tommy Jones in game 4. He had a few taps and I bowled a good game to win 229-181. In game 5 I bowled Kenny Simard who was the 2001 Southern PBA region player of the year. Kenny had a bit of trouble hitting the pocket, but still bowled a decent score of 195, but I bowled a good game and won with a 224. In the 6th game I bowled Patrick Allen. I bowled a great game, but I had several taps leaving three 10 pins and two 7 pins. Patrick had a couple of breaks to win 217-205. I bowled non PBA member Ron Evans in game 7. He started out with two doubles in which he hit the pocket once. I kept going light, but sparing. He had two opens in the 6th and 8th frames and I strung 4 strikes in a row starting in the 7th frame to win 223-181. My final game of the morning was lucky win of 192-189 over John Hill who drove all the way from Muncie IN to bowl in GA. John left a washout in the 9th frame which he missed. He then threw a couple of bad shots in the 10th frame to lose some count. I struck and spared in the 10th frame to win 192-189. This put me into 2nd place after the morning block. Chris Hayden was in the lead with Patrick Allen, Darin Hays and Steve Wilson were in the top 5.

In the 2nd round of match play I decided to try a different ball and play a similar line. The 9th game I bowled RIn the 2nd round of match play I decided to try a different ball and play a similar line. The 9th game I bowled Ryan Smith and he had a bit of trouble while my only problem was getting tapped. I won the game 203-185. My next game was against Don Best Jr. We had a very competitive game until the very end when I left a 4-6-7 split in the 9th frame and a 4 pin tap in the 10th. Don needed a mark to win and struck out in the 10th frame to win 216-197. I bowled Dennis Rakauskas in the 11th game and he had trouble while I bowled a decent game with a couple of breaks to win 235-187. In the 12th game I bowled Chris Hayden who was leading at the time. I bowled a great game (my best of the tournament) while he had a little bit of trouble striking and I won 257-203. My next game was against Richard Church. We both bowled decent games with Richard leaving a solid 10 on his first shot in the 10th frame which would have won the match outright. I proceeded to leave my 2nd solid 8 pin of the game in the 10th frame to loose the game 196-204. I bowled Patrick Pressley in the 14th game and bowled a good game to win 236-202. In the 15th game I bowled Chris Collins and he had a little trouble while I bowled another decent game to win 224-181. This set up the 16th game which is the position round where the #1 player at the time bowls the #2 player, #3 bowls against #4 and so on. I was in 2nd place and Patrick Allen was in 1st due to his back to back 260 something games. I needed to beat Patrick by 30 pins to take the lead and I was comfortably ahead of 3rd to not drop that far. Patrick and I started out with a strike, a tap, and a turkey. I left a solid 8 pin and followed that with a 2-4-5-7 which I chopped. Patrick added a double and I wasn't able to strike out and lost 204-225.

In the step-ladder Darin Hays won the first two matches and bowled me in the semi-final match. He started out with a strike and I started with a rip 7-10. I then left a 2-8 which I spared. Darin then left a 4-7-10 split which he missed only knocking down the 7 pin. Darin struck in the 3rd frame. I struck in the 3rd frame and left a solid 8 in the 4th frame. Darin added 2 more strikes. I went high in the 5th frame leaving the 4-6-7 split which I missed only hitting the 7 pin. I struck in the 6th frame. Darin struck again in the next 2 shots. I went high again in the 7th frame leaving the 3-6. I spared and then struck in the 8th frame. Darin left a 6 pin the 8th frame and struck to basically lock up the match in the 9th frame. I left a 4 pin in the 9th frame and struck out in the 10th frame to shoot 184 while Darin struck out to shoot 245 and advance to the title match against Patrick Allen. Darin ended up winning the title with a 222-203. I did try a different ball in my last two matches. You might think that I am crazy, but it was a ball I used in the pro-am Friday night in which I had the high score for the pros. I was very happy with the way I bowled during the tournament. The lane conditions were pretty challenging as it took less than a 205 average to make the top 16 and several players in the top 16 averaged under 200 after match play. I was disappointed in my finishing game, but Darin bowled a great game and I would have needed to bowl my best game to beat that.

WRW 9/ X X X X9/7/8/9/9/9 221
SW 9/7/ X9/7/9/ X X XX7/ 220

RK X X X7/ X9/9/9/8-9/X 201
WRW X819/9/ X X X9/639/X 191

WRW 6/ X X9/8/ X72 X X9/X 204
DH 9/ X9/ X X X9/9- X61 191

TJ X8/9/ X819/7/9/9/9/X 181
WRW 9/7/ X X X9/9/ X XX62 229

KS X9/ X729/9/9/ X X9/X 195
WRW 8/9/9/ X X X8/ X X8/X 224

WRW X9/9/ X X9/9/ X9/9/9 205
PA 7/ X X9/ X8/9/ X X9/X 217

RE X X7/ X X629/638/9/8 181
WRW 7/9/7/ X9/8/ X X XX9/ 223

WRW X8/8/8/ X X81 X8/X7/ 192
JH X X X629/9/ X X619/8 189

RS X7/62-79/ X8/ X XX62 185
WRW X X72 X X9/ X8/9/X9/ 203

DB 8/9/9/ X9/9/ X X9/XXX 216
WRW X9/8/ X X7/ X X729/7 197

WRW X9/9/8/ X X X X X9/9 235
DR 8/9/8/9/725/9/9/ XX81 187

WRW 9/ X X X X9/ X X XX8/ 257
CH X9/ X9/ X X9/ X81XX6 203

WRW 8/8/ X7/9/ X9/ X9/9/X 196
RC X X X9/ X639/7/ X9/X 204

PP 9/ X63 X X X9/638/XXX 202
WRW X X8/ X X9/ X X X9/X 236

CC 8/ X X9-7/ X9/7-9/X9/ 181
WRW X X9/9/ X X9/ X5/XX7 224

PA X9/ X X X9/ X X9/9/8 225
WRW X9/ X X X9/63 X9/X8/ 204

Stepladder match:
DH X71 X X X X X9/ XXXX 245
WRW 818/ X9/71 X8/ X9/XXX 181

I had 97 strikes out of 189 shots in my matches. 3 strikes while missing the pocket, 2 tripped 4-7-10's and a tripped 4-6. My strike % on pocket shots was 94 out of 140 (67%) pocket shots as I missed the pocket 49 times in the 17 games. I had 8 opens in the 17 games; 6 splits (6-7,2-4-10,5-7,4-6-7,4-6-7, and the rip 7-10) and 2 spares (1-2-4-10, and I chopped the 2-4-5-7). I did pick one split, a 4-9 and several combination spares including the 1-2-4-6-10 and about eight 2-5 combinations.

My opponents had 81 strikes out of 189 shots. 12 of those strikes were while missing the pocket. Their strike % on pocket shots was 69 out of 115 (60%) pocket shots as they missed the pocket 74 times. They had 19 opens; 10 splits (6-7,4-6-8-10,rip 7-10, 4-6-9,3-6-7-10,4-6-10,2-7,3-6-7-10,4-6-10,4-7-10) and 9 spares (7, 1-2-4-10,1-2-4-8,1-2-8-10,3-6-9-10,Gutter,1-2-4-7,1-2-6-10,and a 10 pin). They also picked up several splits (3-6-7-10,5-10 lefty, 4-6-7-9-10)

I am going to take pictures of my bowling balls and start creating links to the balls I am using in my competition for those of you who would like to see how the balls are laid out.

I also would like to thank those of you who like my hat. I don't normally wear a hat when I pitch horseshoes, but when I am outside for a long time, my light skin is subject to getting sunburn. This hat covers not only my nose and forehead, but also my ears and neck and the little bit of thinning hair on top! My wife doesn't care for the look of the hat, but she doesn't always dress me either.

Walter Ray