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New Yorker wins PBA regional event at Colony Park North

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
505-5403/@ydsports
  • Thomas Coco Jr. earned his first-ever PBA regional championship.
  • Coco beat Brad Angelo in the finals, 221-187.
  • Coco earned $2,500 for his triumph at Colony Park Lanes North.

The PBA Bowlers Supply/Storm Open this weekend at Colony Park Lanes North had a field filled with high-profile professional tour bowlers.

Guys such as Ryan Ciminelli, Anthony Pepe, Brad Angelo, Ryan Shafer and Danny Wiseman were participants when action began Saturday morning at the PBA regional stop with qualifying.

Thomas Coco, Jr., of Cortlandt Manor, New York, won the PBA Bowlers Supply/Storm Open Sunday at Colony Park Lanes North.

While only three of them — Ciminelli, Pepe, and Angelo — advanced to Sunday’s round-of-16 action, all of them had to be considered strong contenders to walk out of York with the first-place check. So, it wasn’t much of a surprise that all three were still alive when the semifinals started.

The fourth semifinalist, however, was Thomas Coco Jr., a relative unknown from just outside of New York City in Cortlandt Manor. In just his second year as a PBA member, Coco had never won a PBA title previously.

Until Sunday.

The little-known pro made a statement in what he called his best day ever. Coco knocked off Pepe, 232-201, in the semifinals, before ousting two-time national champ Angelo, 221-187, in the final to claim his first title.

The 29 year old also took home the first-place prize of $2,500.

Brad Angelo of Lockport, New York, finished second in the PBA Bowlers Supply/Storm Open Sunday at Colony Park Lanes North.

“Once I got here Friday for the practice sessions I knew that the scores here were indeed going to be high,” he said. “And I said to myself that if I want to make a run at this thing that I have to ensure that I hit the pocket every single time.”

The left-handed Coco was right on the mark all weekend long. The left-handed Ciminelli, who was named the 2016 captain of the All-America Team, edged Coco Saturday in qualifying by three pins before sweeping both his first-round and quarterfinal match-ups Sunday to make it to the semifinal.

Ciminelli’s strong run, though, was upended there by Angelo. The right-handed Angelo bowled a solid game against Ciminelli, who suffered a tough-break split leading to an open frame during the match. That was more than enough for Angelo, a two-time PBA National Tour winner, to claim a 233-220 triumph.

“I showed him that the old guy still has a little left in the tank,” the 46-year old Angelo said jokingly in regards to the 30-year-old Ciminelli. “I said to him, ‘I used to teach you and now I have to beat you.’ But he’s a good kid. He’s obviously one of the superstars of the sport. And it’s more a pride thing whenever you bowl the superstars of the sport.”

While Angelo bowled well in both his quarterfinal and semifinal triumphs, he could never get it going in the final against Coco. Angelo had trouble during the five-minute warm-up session finding the path on both Lane 15 and Lane 16. He threw several gutter balls in search of the perfect groove.

Thomas Coco Jr., of Cortlandt Manor, New York, won the PBA Bowlers Supply/Storm Open Sunday at Colony Park Lanes North. Here, he accepts his trophy from Colony Park North owner Terry Brenneman, left.

His struggles continued into the match. In his second frame, he left a split which resulted in an open frame. He suffered another tough break in frame five when he left the 4-6-7-9-10, known as a "Greek church," for another open.

That left the door wide open for Coco to cruise to the title. The New Yorker had his own spell of bad luck in the fourth and eighth frames, but he converted the split in the fourth. By the time he suffered an open frame in the eighth, the match was all but decided.

“I was just thinking, ‘It’s not over yet. Just go out there and finish it,’” Coco said. “Didn’t want to take anything for granted when you’re bowling against such a great guy like (Angelo).”

While the $2,500 will no doubt be of great use to Coco, he seemed most interested in the first-place trophy.

“I’m probably going to sleep with this thing tonight,” he joked.

Several local champions, such as Adam Baer, Brandon Hinderer, Jimmy Plessinger and Terry Miller, were part of a field that saw 105 entrants. Baer, a four-time York County Match Play champion, tied for 16th in qualifying with Michael Martell. Baer won a one-game roll-off, 183-181, Saturday to make the field of 16, but was ousted by Ciminelli in the first-round. Hinderer finished in 35th place, Plessinger placed 50th and Miller ended up 68th.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.