Mike Spangler enjoys dominant triumph at BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship

BARRY SPARKS
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Mike Bair, proprietor of Hanover Bowling Centre, right, presents the 2022 BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship trophy to Mike Spangler.

Mike Spangler eliminated any suspense from the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship on Sunday.

He built an insurmountable 253-pin cushion over second-place Eric Smith entering the final game at Hanover Bowling Centre.

Spangler averaged 249 for eight games on Sunday and won seven of his eight matches. Saturday, he averaged 227 and won seven of his eight matches at South Hanover Lanes.

In the championship match, the relaxed Spangler notched a 249-192 win over Smith. The steady right-hander collected $1,000 for the victory. 

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Spangler finished with a 334-pin margin, one of the largest in the 26-year history of the tournament.

"It was nice to be able to enjoy the last game and be able to relax," said Spangler, who also won the Match Play crown in 2016. "The second title is definitely special. I really wanted to win again."

The tension-free atmosphere was in contrast to 2016 when Spangler rolled a 159 game in the championship match and had to hold on to win by four pins.

"I much prefer not having to deal with any pressure in the final match," he said.

Spangler is just one of six bowlers who have won more than one Match Play title. Adam Baer leads with five titles, while Dave Zelger, Steve Carbaugh, Greg Bruff and Eric Smith each have two.

While there wasn't any suspense at the end of the tournament, there was, for a brief suspenseful time, earlier.  After the first game, Spangler slipped out of first place. Newcomer Nick Ryncewicz took over the top spot with a three-pin lead.

Spangler, however, regained the lead after the second game and steadily pulled away from the crowd.

"I made a ball change after game two, and that was key," Spangler said. "I switched to a stronger ball, one that hits harder in the pocket and generates more carry."

Rolling the new ball, Spangler responded with games of 268, 259 and 279.

Smith, the defending champ, made a valiant charge. He averaged 256 for his first seven games, but was hurt by three losses.

"I knew I had an outside chance, and when I opened with a 279 that pumped me up," Smith said. "But, there aren't any easy matches in Match Play. Those losses hurt me.

"Mike (Spangler) bowled great all weekend. He definitely deserved to win. It was another great tournament," Smith said.

 The final standings and scores are: 1. Spangler (1,668) 2. Smith (1,324) 3. Adam Baer (1,259) 4. Mike Runk (1,244) 5. Nick Ryncewicz (1,232) 6. Ritchie Wolfe (1,194) 7. Greg Bruff (1,161) 8. Jeremy Haines (1,153) 9. Paul Wolfram (1,115) 10. George Kostjal (1,091) 11. Andy Carson (1,062 ) 12. Rick Graham (1,004) 13. Steve Burkins (986) 14. Chris Green (902) 15. Jerred Poff (882) 16. Jen Sparks (819).

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.