Via surges for PBA Open victory


By JOHN BASSETTI

sports@vindy.com

STRUTHERS

Chris Via climbed from 13th place entering Sunday’s round-robin matchplay before squaring off against Patrick Dombrowski in a match that Via won to claim the third Taylor Kia PBA Central-East Region championship at Holiday Lanes.

In Sunday’s 12th and final game, the 27-year-old Springfield resident beat Dombrowski, 242-203.

“I wasn’t bowling very well and I had 240 and 230 my last two games [on Saturday], then only made it by five pins, so I barely snuck in [to Sunday’s round of 16 qualifiers],” Via said. “Then I took advantage of the opportunity I had and came after it.”

Via struggled Sunday morning.

“Fresh [oil application on lanes] was not very good to me,” he said. “I couldn’t figure out what I needed to do. I had a 180 in the first game on Saturday, then I tried something else and shot a 160, so it definitely wasn’t the right play.

“I kind of abandoned that plan and went back to what I was successful with Saturday. It was a little earlier than I wanted, but it ended up working out.”

Kia was Via’s second regional championship since he became a PBA member in 2017.

He placed third in the Hubbard Open in March after Dombrowski beat Via in the step-ladder stage.

Between Hubbard and Holiday, Via had regional finishes of fifth in Grove City and third last weekend in Richmond, Va.

“I’ve been trying to stay busy bowling some tournaments,” said Via, a full-timer on the national tour.

Although Dombrowski, of Parma, had a few bumps along the way in Sunday’s first 11 games, he led by 49 pins heading into the title game. However, the first few frames against Via on lanes 15-16 were his undoing.

“I had to stay ahead 14 pins and win the match, but couldn’t get good results for it,” Dombrowski said. “I had to throw better shots, especially the first couple frames. I left a 2-10 [split] in the third frame and seemed like I got a little quick.

“Then I couldn’t make it and Chris doubled-up and I couldn’t catch him,” the 40-year-old Dombrowski said of falling behind, 77-48, in the third frame.

In addition to six regional wins, Dombrowski has titles in five singles events and one doubles event. In addition to his runner-up finishes in Hubbard and Holiday, Dombrowski was fourth in Grove City.

Via earned $2,500, followed by Dombrowski with $1,300, then third-place and non-PBA member Shawn McKee of Niagara Falls ($1,000), fourth-place B.J. Moore of Greensburg, Pa., ($950), and fifth-place J.R. Raymond ($900). Raymond, of Clinton Twp., Mich., won Holiday’s inaugural crown in 2017.

Kia’s defending champion, Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., was sixth. Matt O’Grady, a four-time Hubbard Open winner, placed 10th.

“I was in the lead after the seventh game today [and 15th overall including Saturday], but never really had the ball-action I needed,” said O’Grady, emphasizing that slips by a few opponents enabled him to stay in the mix.

“I felt like, physically, I wasn’t making 100 percent of the best shots that I could. Unfortunately, it caught up to me and my opponents started bowling really good down the stretch,” O’Grady said of his fall from atop the standings with a 7-1 matchplay record to 7-5 in the end.

Since a 49th-place finish at the T. of C. in February, O’Grady has laid off the national tour until straightening out his game to the level needed against top-notch competition week-in and week-out.

NOTES

The youngest spectator Sunday was B.J. Moore’s five-month-old daughter, Brayleigh, held by her mother, Tnia Moore.

Holiday held a PBA national tour – the Youngstown Open in 1967, when Mike Durbin won.

Holiday’s Tom Eframedes will celebrate 32 years as proprietor in August. Holiday, which opened in 1960, had its wooden lanes replaced with synthetic in 2013.

Some customers had to be turned away because of the presence of the pros, but 21-year-old twins Matt and Michael Kulka of Struthers didn’t mind. “Not at all,” said Matt. “They’re great people here. We’ll be back during the week because Michael is getting ready for the Pepsi state finals in Columbus.”

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