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Bowler Adam Baer has his sights set on a sixth York County Match Play Championship

BARRY SPARKS
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  • Over the 22-year history of the York County Match Play event, Adam Baer has won five titles.
  • Baer will attempt to win his sixth championship when the 2018 event begins Saturday, April 21.
  • Two-time Match Play winners include Dave Zelger, Steve Carbaugh and Greg Bruff.

In the 22-year history of the Bud Light York County Match Play Championship, only four bowlers have won more than one title.

Adam Baer

Dave Zelger (1996, 2000), Steve Carbaugh (2003, 2005) and Greg Bruff (2012, 2015) have ech won it twice.

Then there's Adam Baer.

The hard-cranking right-hander has won five titles (2008, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2017) and he's seeking his sixth.

The 36-year-old Baer is coming off a strained right forearm muscle that forced him to the sidelines for four weeks in late February. He recently, however, competed in the U.S. Masters in Syracuse and the Professional Bowlers Association East Region tournament in Towson, Maryland.

"That competition helped serve as a tune-up for Match Play," Baer said. "I hadn't bowled eight consecutive days in a long time. I felt good bowling, and it definitely got me sharper."

Adam Baer won his fifth Match Play title, defeating Mike Spangler by 170 pins in the York County Match Play Championship at Lion Bowl in Red Lion, Sunday, April 30, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Qualifying for the Match Play kicks off with six games at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 21, at Hanover Bowling Centre. Bowlers will roll another six games of qualifying at 10 a.m., Sunday, April 22, at Colony Park North. The top 12 bowlers advance to match play the following weekend.

Baer likes the idea of rolling six games of qualifying at Hanover Bowling Centre. 

"It's definitely an advantage for me. It's my home center. I've bowled there my entire life. I know every pair of lanes and how they react."

Zelger and Carbaugh, who know how difficult it is to win the tournament twice, marvel at Baer's history-making performances.

Baer earns his fifth Match Play title

"Winning one title is hard enough," Zelger said. "Winning five is unbelievable. It's a very meaningful tournament with high-caliber competition. Bowlers definitely get pumped up for the tournament and anyone can get hot."

Carbaugh said: "History proves how difficult it is to win this tournament more than once. Adam has not only won it five times, he's also the only bowler to have won it in back-to-back years. 

"When you look at the list of past winners, you won't find any slouches. You have to bring your 'A' game to this tournament, and you better have your strike ball. It's a tough and demanding format."

Despite his past success, Baer doesn't take anything for granted.

"There's never a guarantee," he said, remembering how he failed to make match play in 2009 after winning the tournament the previous year.

When asked if he was still the man to beat, a slight smile crossed his face and he quietly replied, "Yes."

This story was provided through the York County Bowling Proprietors Association.