In dramatic finish, former PBA bowler wins York County Senior Match Play championship


Ritchie Wolfe staved off Dave Zelger's dramatic charge to capture the York County Senior Match Play Championship by four pins at Lion Bowl on Saturday.

After eight games of qualifying, Wolfe entered Saturday's bowling action with a 129-pin lead over second-place Mike Menges and a 315-pin advantage over Zelger, who was 15th, which was last among the final qualifiers.

The 62-year-old Zelger, however, averaged 251 for six games, rocketing up to second place after five games. Trailing by 97 pins, Zelger had a chance to overtake Wolfe.

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Mike Zelger, right, of Lion Bowl, congratulates Ritchie Wolfe, center, for winning the York County Senior Match Play Championship.  Dave Zelger, left, placed second.

In the final game, Zelger rolled a 268 and tallied 103 bonus pins, while Wolfe rolled a 210 and earned 10 bonus pins. Wolfe eked out a 678-674 overall victory.

In modified match play, the seven bowlers with the highest score each game receive a descending number of bonus pins (40, 35, 30, etc.) and plus or minus the number of pins over or under 200 each game.

"I was fortunate to win today," said the 54-year-old Wolfe, a veteran of more than 300 Professional Bowlers Association tournaments. "Dave bowled great. He competes regularly at Lion Bowl, and I expected he would do well. I just had to grind it out and make sure I filled frames."

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Wolfe, who earned $420 for the victory, said he couldn't afford to panic.

"The pressure of Dave's charge was palpable," said the southpaw. "Dave definitely had the momentum. But, I had to make sure I focused on what I wanted to do and make my shots." 

Zelger, who won a PBA East Region Senior title in 2010, said: "I didn't think I had a chance when we started today. I was in 15th and my goal was to move up to 14th. I never thought about first place."

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Although his charge fell short, the right-hander said he couldn't be disappointed by his finish.

"As the day progressed, my goal became to finish in the top five. It was an incredible day. Ritchie is such a solid bowler, and it makes me feel good to compete at this level once again."

Zelger rolled games of 214, 244, 256, 269, 258 and 268. Wolfe tallied games of 211, 238, 258,192, 204 and 210.

Wolfe now has won York County trifecta: Wolfe, who moved to York in 2019, has now won the York County trifecta — the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship (2019), the York County Masters (2019) and the York County Senior Match Play (2022).

"All these titles are very meaningful to me," he said. "Whenever I'm in a tournament, I'm in it to win it. I haven't stopped being competitive just because I'm no longer on the PBA Tour."

Wolfe hopes to utilize his local tournament experience when he competes in the PBA50 Bud Moore Classic in Sterling, Virginia, from May 13-16. 

"I've worked on my mental game a lot the past several years, and I think that will help me," he said.

The tournament, sponsored by Regal Plumbing, attracted 43 bowlers. The field was cut to 15 after eight games of qualifying.

Here are the final results: 1. Wolfe (678); 2. Zelger (674); 3. George Kostjal (564); 4. Dave Kareis (500); 5. Kevin Sollenger (474); 6. Brian Hahn (474); 7. Joe Andreone (460); 8. Bryan Rohrbaugh (455); 9. Guy Johnson (401); 10. Bill Kuntz (345); 11. Don Dariano (337); 12. Mike Menges (315); 13. Bob Weitkamp (285); 14. Don Saum (250); 15. Randy Hogg (240).     

Reach Barry Sparks at or on Twitter at @ydsports.