Suburban bowling team redeems itself with sudden-death win

The Suburban No. 1 team finally captured the Mike Elicker Memorial Team Challenge after three straight second-place finishes.

Barry Sparks
For The York Dispatch
The Suburban No. 1 team captured the Mike Elicker Memorial Team Challenge and earned $1,800. Team members are: foreground, Eric Smith (holding trophy); back row, from left to right, Ritchie Wolfe, Mike Spangler, Paul Wolfram and Chris Greene.

After seven hours of bowling Sunday at Lion Bowl, the winner of the Mike Elicker Memorial Team Challenge came down to a sudden-death roll-off.

In the finals, Suburban No. 2 won the opener, 244-205, and Suburban No. 1 bounced back with a 233-216 win.  That set up sudden death. Mike Runk led off with a strike for Suburban No. 2, exerting pressure on Suburban No. 1's Eric Smith. Smith, however, responded with a strike, extending the showdown.

Suburban No. 2's Mark Fuhrman left a 10-pin, opening the door for Mike Spangler of Suburban No. 1. Spangler calmly delivered a solid strike to secure the victory.

As soon as the ball crashed into the pins, Smith ran from the concourse to the approach, embraced Spangler and yelled, "We won! We won!" The strike unleashed a mountain of emotions. 

The Suburban No. 1 team of Ritchie Wolfe, Chris Greene, Paul Wolfram, Spangler and Smith had waited a year for a chance to redeem itself. Last year, the squad lost a one-ball, sudden-death roll-off against a Hanover team. It marked the third consecutive year Suburban No. 1 finished second.

But on Sunday, the team received redemption with its win over the Suburban No. 2 squad of Beth Kostjal, George Kostjal, Runk, Fuhrman and Terry Miller.

Afterward, Spangler said, "I felt comfortable on Lane 3 and I was ready to go.  There was a lot of pressure, but we're used to bowling under pressure."

The team collected $1,800 for the victory.    

"We really wanted to win this tournament," Smith said.  "I was tired of finishing second.  Winning was even sweeter because of how we lost last year."

He added: "We bowled great all day.  We led by almost 300 points after 12 games of match play. We maintained our focus and determination."

After three league-format games, teams rolled 12 games of Baker-type match play, where each team member rolls two frames (the first bowler rolls frames 1 and 6, the second rolls frames 2 and 7, and so forth).  The top three teams advanced.

In the semifinals, Suburban No. 2 defeated the Hanover No. 1 team of Joe Pickett Jr., Brian Hahn, Cody Shoemaker, Josh Coleman and Adam Baer in a one-ball, sudden-death roll-off. Baer led off with a 7-count for Hanover and Runk responded with a 9-count.

The two finalists split a pair of games to set up the roll-off. Suburban No. 1 won the opener, 232-200, and Suburban No. 2 captured the second game, 221-193.

The standings and points after 12 games of qualifying were:

  1. Suburban No. 1 (1,055);
  2. Hanover No. 1 (783);
  3. Suburban No. 2 (762)
  4. Colony Park No. 2 (700)
  5. Colony Park No. 1 (572)
  6. Lion Bowl (466)
  7. South Hanover No. 2 (389)
  8. Suburban No. 3 (178)
  9. South Hanover No. 1 (155)
  10. East Lincoln (101)
  11. Laser Alleys (99)
  12. Hanover No. 2 (75)