'Ritchie' Wolfe storms back to edge Justin Mong for York County Match Play bowling title

Richard "Ritchie" Wolfe, left, accepts the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship trophy from Sean Lemmon, manager of Laser Alleys, right.  Wolfe also won $1,000 for his victory.
  • Richard "Ritchie" Wolfe won the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play bowling title.
  • Wolfe defeated Justin Mong in the championship match, 269-204.
  • The former Professional Bowlers Association Tour member earned $1,000 for the win.

Entering the final day of match play on Sunday at Laser Alleys, Richard "Ritchie" Wolfe,  who trailed Justin Mong by 152 pins, just wanted an opportunity to have a shot at winning the title.

Wolfe got the opportunity he wanted, and he made the most of it. He defeated Mong, 269-204, in the championship match to earn the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship.

Wolfe, a southpaw who competed on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour from 1986 through 2010, finished 56 pins ahead of fellow lefty Mong, 1,417 to 1,361. He also collected $1,000 for the victory.

"I just wanted to get close enough to have a chance to win," Wolfe said. "I got off to a good start and that helped me close the gap."

Stellar Sunday: He averaged 262 on Sunday, rolling games of 257, 269, 256, 245, 279 and 269. He won four of his six matches.

Going into the championship match, Wolfe trailed Mong by 39 pins, and he said he knew he had to beat him by 10 pins to win the title. (In match play, bowlers receive 30 bonus pins for a win).

"I'm fortunate things went my way," he said. "It's been a long time since I've won a tournament, so this is a big deal for me."

Wolfe joined the Suburban Bowlerama staff in February, and it didn't take him long to hear about the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship.

"This is a great tournament," he said. "There are so many talented bowlers in York County, and the competition was excellent. I really enjoyed it."

Sixth frame was key: Wolfe led Mong, 119-98, after five frames. The sixth frame, however, proved to be fatal for Mong. He left the 2-4-7-10 and had to settle for an eight-count. Wolfe responded with a strike and proceeded to finish with an eight-bagger.

"The sixth frame was definitely the key," Mong said. "Lane 14 was rough for me. When I saw my ball reaction on 14, I knew I would need some help from Wolfe to win."

While Wolfe got off to a strong start on Sunday, Mong struggled. He registered games of 212, 224 and 188, winning one of his three matches.

Feeling the pressure: Mong admitted he felt the pressure of leading the tournament by more than 150 pins. He said there might have been less pressure if his lead had been only 30 or 40 pins.

"I definitely felt like the wheels were coming off in the first three games," he said.

Wolfe slipped into the lead after the third game, but Mong wrestled the lead back when he rolled a 300 on lanes 13-14 in the fourth game.

"The 300 couldn't have come at a better time," said Mong. 

Even though Mong returned to lanes 13-14 for the championship match, he couldn't match his previous performance.

Final results: Here are the final results of match play and point totals: 1. Wolfe (1,417); 2. Mong (1,361); 3. Adam Baer (1,274); 4. Paul Wolfram (1,215); 5. Josh Coleman (1,083); 6. Cody Shoemaker (1,058); 7. Mike Spangler (1,052); 8. Andy Carson (1,029); 9. Eric Smith (959); 10. Kevin Appnel (917); 11. Terry Miller (894); 12. Scott Schnur Jr. (884).

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com.