At age 17, Anthony Neuer was the youngest bowler in the field of 108 competitors at the Professional Bowlers Association Bowlers Supply/Storm Products Open at Colony Park Lanes North this weekend.
Don't let the age fool you.
The red-headed southpaw from Lewisburg, Union County, compiled an impressive 8-0 record in match play and averaged 238 Sunday to notch his first PBA East Region title.
Neuer's road to the championship wasn't an easy one. He defeated four-time regional champ Anthony Pepe of Elmhurst, New York, 256-247 in the championship match.
Before that, he downed four-time PBA national champ Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, New York, and the tournament's top qualifier, Kenneth Ryan of Farmingdale, New York.
"It feels good to win my first regional title," said Neuer, who earned $2,500 in scholarship money instead of cash because he's still classified as a junior bowler. "I was disappointed with my ninth-place qualifying performance (on Saturday) because I could have done better by making some changes. I had a different mindset (Sunday)."
Neuer's poise and composure belies his age. He has plenty of tournament experience, exposure to the media and success against high-level competition. He captured the Junior Gold title in 2018 and bowled in Paris, France, as part of the World Junior Championships.
In the championship match, he kept the pressure on southpaw Pepe, who spared in the second, fourth and fifth frames. Neuer spared in the third and sixth frames.
Both bowlers finished strong in the high-scoring match. Pepe tallied six consecutive strikes, while Neuer put together five consecutive strikes.
Pepe, who has won the York tournament twice, forced Neuer to roll back-to-back strikes in the 10th for the win.
Neuer, who rolled a 279 game to defeat Shafer in the semifinals, said his approach against Pepe was "to bowl my own game and not focus on what Anthony was doing."
After the championship match, Neuer exhibited the calmness of a veteran. He smiled and he was happy, but he wasn't giddy.
When asked what he thought about his chances when the tournament started this weekend, he said: "I thought I could win it. But, that's the way I usually think."
York Springs' Baer takes 13th: Adam Baer of York Springs finished 13th in the tournament.
He qualified 10th. He lost in the first round of match play, 2-1 against Jake Rollins of Glen Rock, New Jersey. After winning 219-161, Baer dropped the next two matches, 203-189 and 239-185.
Other area bowlers who competed in the tournament include Cody Shoemaker, Scott Schnur Jr., Troy Lehigh, Brent Hunter, Don Dariano Jr. and Craig Horn.
Reach Barry Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was provided through the York Area Bowling Proprietors Association.