25th NYS Masters Championship -- RESULTS
Solimine Jr. Wins NYS Masters
LATHAM – Tom Solimine Jr. captured the 25th NYS Masters title on Saturday night at Spare Time Latham by defeating local favorite John Bickel, 387-341, in the two-game championship match to claim the $2,000 first prize plus a paid entry and $200 expense money to the 2016 USBC Masters.
Solimine, a NYS USBC league bowler out of Westchester County, rolled 187 and 200 in the finals, after knocking off defending champion Alex Cavagnaro of Long Island, 476-418, in the semifinals.
In 2014, the 44-year-old right-hander from Danbury, Ct., lost to Cavagnaro in the final match at the Masters in Newburgh.
Solimine said he wasn’t concerned about avenging last year’s defeat, but only about surviving through match play.
“Yeah, it took a while for me to get going,” he said. “I really got lucky in the first match (a 328-306 win over Jacob Rivers of Albany). That was a horror show.”
After that, Solimine defeated Jeff Young of Glenmont, 422-326, and Joe Scianna of Ronkonkoma, 434-345, to set up the rematch with Cavagnaro. Down by five pins after game one, Solimine – using a Roto-Grip Hypercell Skid -- put together a string of strikes for a 277 to pull away.
“He’s (Cavagnaro) great. I knew that he was going to be the toughest match of my draw,” Solimine said.
Against Bickel, Solimine rolled 187 in the first game before starting with four strikes in game two to build a comfortable lead against Bickel, who was unable to find the 1-3 pocket.
Still, Bickel was pleased with his performance in his first NYS Masters.
“It was a hard (lane) condition but it was really good,” said Bickel, who has numerous Albany-area tournament titles to his credit. “I tried to find a place on the lane to stay out of trouble and keep the ball in play.”
Bickel forged a 62-pin lead against Shannon Sellens of Copiague, in the semifinals before hanging on for a 441-426 victory. Before that he defeated Connor Le Clair of West Coxsackie, Damion Ferraro of Saugerties and high qualifier Brian Le Clair of Delmar.
Bickel, a 55-year-old righty, earned $1,000 for placing second.
This year’s event drew 153 entries to the Albany area – the most ever in its history – and paid out more than $10,000 to the 32 bowlers who made it to the match play rounds.
The tournament was contested on the challenging WTBA Seoul oil pattern, which yielded five-game squad cuts of plus-6 on the 9:30 squad (12 of 57 bowlers advanced) and minus-14 on the 1:30 squad (20 of 96 bowlers advanced).
Cavagnaro and Shannon Sellens each won $600 for making it to the semis. Sellens' 3rd-4th place finish is believed to be the best for a woman in NYS Masters history. She will be defending her NYS Queens Open Division title next month in Syracuse.
Brian Le Clair was the high qualifier with 1,179, which included a 299 game. A PBA Regional standout, Le Clair defeated Anthony Pepe of East Elmhurst, 454-448, in an exciting second-round match. Pepe won the PBA Cheetah Championship as part of last year’s World Series of Bowling.
RECENT NYS MASTERS CHAMPIONS
2010 -- Mark Scuderi, Rochester -- Held at Mancuso Bowling Center, Batavia
2011 -- Joe Mazuryk, Delanson -- Held at Boulevard Bowl, Schenectady
2012 -- Jim Emens, Rochester -- Held at Owego Bowl, Owego
2013 -- Alan Felmlee, Russell, Pa. -- Held at Doug Kent's Rose Bowl Lanes, Newark
2014 -- Alex Cavagnaro, Copiague (L.I.) -- Held at Pat Tarsio Lanes, Newburgh