Dallastown bowler captures his second York County Match Play Championship

Eric Smith, center, accepts the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship trophy from Mike Zelger of Lion Bowl, left, while Terry Miller of BowlerMaxx Pro Shop, looks on. Smith also won $1,000.

Dallastown's Eric Smith had a 128-pin cushion going into the final match of the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship on Sunday at Lion Bowl.

The cushion, however, wasn't enough for him to completely relax.

Mike Spangler, who was in second, had a chance to beat Smith if he topped him by 99 pins and added the 30 bonus pins for a win in match play.

"I had a cushion, but it certainly wasn't over entering the final match," said Smith, who won his second Match Play title. "Anything is possible. I knew I needed at least a 170."

Smith, a smooth right-hander who averaged 253 for six games at Lion Bowl, knew he had to avoid splits and make his spares.

Spangler, the 2016 champion, put plenty of pressure on Smith. He started with the first four strikes, while Smith opened with four spares. The complexion of the match changed suddenly in the fifth frame when Spangler left the 3-10 split and failed to convert it.

That allowed Smith to close within 17 pins. Although Spangler closed with a seven-bagger, Smith struck from the seventh frame through the first ball in the 10th. Spangler won the game, 264-226, but finished 60 pins behind Smith.

Smith became the fifth bowler to capture multiple Match Play titles. He joins Dave Zelger, Steve Carbaugh and Greg Bruff as two-time champs. Adam Baer is a five-time champ.

"The second title speaks volumes," said Smith, who won his first crown in 2018. "The tournament is 25 years old and there are only a handful of guys to win it more than once. That's very special."  

Looking back on the crucial fifth frame, Spangler said: "I threw the ball where I wanted but it didn't hook. I should have moved a board or two right before the shot. I struggled all day and couldn't get anything going."

When asked about his failure to strike early against Spangler, Smith said: "I had bowled well all day and I knew I was capable of coming back. I told myself to stay calm and positive. I knew if I got a double (back-to-back strikes) I would be OK."

Smith collected $1,000 for the victory.

The final standings are: 1. Smith (1,392); 2. Spangler (1,332); 3. Terry Miller (1,235); 4. Jerred Poff (1,125); 5. Josh Coleman (1,084); 6. Cody Shoemaker (1,018); 7. Chuck Crone (1,011); 8. Jacob Hawkins (1,009); 9. Brandon Maxfield (814); 10. Chris Green (810); 11. Chris Lakatosh (798); 12. Jeremiah Reichert (619).

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com.