King Pins capture Men's Summer Trio League title
Larry Mason

Aug. 15, 2006 - Thursday's play at Classic Lanes was somewhat anticlimactic. The King Pins came into the Men's Trio League final night of play, the championship round, holding a five-game lead over the No. 2 team, the Odd Bunch, and a six-game lead over the third place team, Get-Er-Done. The King Pins started Thursday's competition leading the Odd Bunch by 1,230 pins in total pin fall, and Get-Er-Done by 1,910. 

All the King Pins had to do was show-up to bowl, and the summer men's title was theirs. The sixth place team in the standings when Thursday's championship round began was the team known as Odd Man Out. They trailed the King Pins by nine games, but they only trailed the fourth place team, Double H Pro Shop by 2.5 games, and the fifth place squad, Campbell's Soup, by one game. They didn't trail either when the night's play was completed.

Michael Fletcher, Mark Smith and Jason Keller didn't have to win any of Thursday's five game points to win the league championship, but they did.  But before the King Pins won a point, The Odd Bunch, Dewayne Roach, Larry Siegert and Mike Gilliland, had taken Game 1 from the King Pins, 586 to 557, and took Game 2, 623 to 591. At this point, it appears that the King Pins decided enough was enough, because they captured Game 3, 661 to 607, and took Game 4, 580 to 579. The Odd Bunch won total pins 2,395 to 2,389, finishing the night by taking three of the five points available.

Michael Fletcher was the top shooter for the King Pins, rolling a 669 series for his first three games, finishing with an 833 series for four. Fletcher's games were 214, 247, 208 and 164. The top performer for the Odd Bunch was Mike Gilliland, who produced a 620 series in three games, and an 823 for four. Gilliland shot games of 230, 200, 190 and 203.      

Those three points taken by the Odd Bunch weren't going to be enough to overtake the King Pins, but they were instrumental in keeping the Odd Bunch in second place in the standings. Actually, the Odd Bunch and Get-Er-Done were destined to finish the league with identical won/loss records of 33-22, but the Odd Bunch kept second place by virtue of total pins. The Bunch felled 25,798 pins for the summer, compared to Get-Er-Done's 25,275, a difference of 523 sticks.        

The Get-Er-Done crew, Red Skelton, Buddy McClendon and Doug Brann, started Thursday in third place, one-half point in front of Double H Pro Shop and two points ahead of Campbell's Soup. Skelton's group had to bowl Double H, while they kept an eye on those soup fellas. The easiest way to guarantee one's team won't slip in the standings is to win all of the night's points. Failing this, the next best thing is to take four of the five points available. That's what Get-Er-Done did.

Buddy McClendon turned in his best three game set of the summer, a very impressive 689, a series that propelled him from not even being on the three-game high series chart, into a seventh place tie.

Buddy shot 212 in Game 1, 219 in Game 2, and 258 in Game 3. He wasn't done. In Game 4, Buddy shot a 268, finishing with a 957 series for four games.  It moved McClendon to fourth place on the four game high series chart.  Buddy's fourth game, the 268, jumped him up to the No. 7 position on the high game list. McClendon's teammate, Doug Brann, pitched in a 664 three-game series, and an 832 four-game series to go along with Buddy's effort.  They captured Game 1 by 47 pins (608 to 561), lost Game 2 by 28 pins (617 to 589), then went on to take Games 3 and 4 by 46 and 27 pins, respectively.  They took total pins by 102 sticks, and won four of the night's available five points, guaranteeing them a third place finish.

The crew from Double H shot pretty well on Thursday, but they just couldn't keep up with McClendon and Brann. Jason Parmer shot a 684 series in his first three games, and finished the night with an 836 series for his four games. The biggest surprise for Double H had to be the performance of Justin Haggerty. Frankly, Mr. H is rather blasé about his bowling. If he wins, that's fine; if he loses, that's fine, too. He must have wanted to win Thursday, because he surely tried. Justin shot games of 224, 187, 234 and 212 off of a 172 average. Justin was 169 pins over his four-game series average for the night.    

The squad who moved the most in the standings after Thursday's championship round was Odd Man Out, the team comprised of members David Strain, Darreyl Dixon and Ace Wiginton. They started Thursday's play in sixth place. This group took four points from the Campbell Soup team, jumping them past Campbells in the final standings. But, not only did they climb over the soup people, they also overtook Double H Pro Shop, allowing them to finish the league in fourth position. Ace Wiginton shot a 630 three-game set for Odd Man Out, and an 830 four-game series for his team. David Strain booked a 624 for his first three games, and an 844 for his four games.

The night's best team performance came from WSS, Cliff Whitney, Neldon Smith and Nevil Solomon. Seven of the 12 games they bowled were 200s or better - 228, 225, 223, 201, 215, 204 and 201. The threesome shot series of 870 for Whitney, 810 for Solomon, and 783 for Smith. They shot a scratch team series of 2,463. Their closest competition came from Get-Er-Done, who shot a scratch 2,456. 

The league's top averages belonged to Jason Keller, 217, David Strain, 208, and Neldon Smith, 207. The top three-game series belonged to Jason Keller, 759, Cliff Whitney, 729, and Mike Fletcher, 714. The league's top four-game series totals came from Jason Keller, 1,013, Cliff Whitney, 975, and Bo Duncan, 962. Keller and Duncan, both of whom shot identical 289s this summer, shared the high game scratch award. The Most Improved Bowler award went to Cliff Whitney and his 12.42 increase in average over the course of the summer. Jason Parmer finished second, improving his average 11.32 pins, while third place went to Adam Thompson who raised his average by 11.01 pins.

From a team perspective, Roy's Bargain Shop shot the highest scratch game, a 757. They were followed by WSS with a 724 and the King Pins with a 702. Roy's also claimed the league's highest scratch series, a 2,664. Second place went to the King Pins, 2,646, and Odd Man Out claimed third place honors with a 2,637. 

The Men's Commercial League will have its formation meeting Aug. 24, and will commence play on the 31st. Come by or call the center to reserve your spot before they are all gone. There aren't very many available.         

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Larry Mason writes a weekly column on the bowling leagues at Classic Lanes. His column appears on Tuesday.

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