by David Yamauchi
NORWALK – The Junior Amateur Tour kicked off their 2017-2018 Season with an event at Keystone Lanes last Sunday. 65 bowlers took to the lanes including 12 in the newly-created Preps Division geared toward bowlers 140-165 average. Scoring was high as the bowlers came out of with their striking shoes on!
Thanks to a generous grant from the Bowling Centers of Southern California (the local association of bowling proprietors) the newly formed Preps Division took the lanes for the first time. With the sponsorship, the 140-165 average Preps bowl three games for only a $10 entry fee and have the chance to earn SMART Scholarship funds for their efforts. $275 in scholarship funds were awarded to our Preps. The first Preps Champion was Luke Mercado with a 525 series earning him a championship plaque and $75 scholarship. Other cashers included Louis DePero- 488 (plaque + $65 scholarship), Emily Schrider- 472 (plaque + $55 scholarship), Kaitlynn Yukihiro- 455 ($45 scholarship) and Aidan Contraras- 437 ($35 scholarship). We hope to see more bowlers come out and get some tournament experience in the new Preps Division in upcoming events!
In the JAT Farm Club (averages 165-190), a field of 30 bowlers took the lanes. After 5 games of qualifying, southpaw Brandon Howard led the pack at +64 followed closely by Allexander Zieg +25 and Andrew Chan +22. Low to advance was Zachary Alayra at -145. Matchplay saw the same three leaders extend their leads as Brandon Howard’s 4-1 r
ecord and 120 bonus pins catapulted him to +339 followed by Chan at +306 and Zieg at +173. In the stepladder, Zieg stayed hot taking out 2nd seed Chan 233-202 to advance to the championship match against wire-to-wire leader Brandon Howard. In the final it was Allexander Zieg taking the match 236-187 to earn him his first JAT Farm Club title. Congratulations Allexander!
In the Open Division the high-average juniors showed their stuff as soon as the lights came on. Ryan Lee wowed the crowd with a 10-pinspare-sheet 290 to start, followed by another 290 game and a 228 for an 808 series to pace the field at +322 for his 6 games of qualifying. Nick Caner was close on his heels with a 247-279- 264-246 run in the middle games to get him to +286 and Kevin Banaag was 3rd at +159. Low-to-qualify was Clifford Baltazar at +40. In the best-of-three bracket the top-4 took a bye while the bottom 8 battled in the Elimination Round. David Schneider defeated Eric Phillips in two, Nolan Am Khong took out Clifford Baltazar in two, Costa Gastouniotis cruised past Leoj Chin in two and Marquan Rivers upset 6th seed Solomon Salama in three. In the Quarterfinals the top-4 seeds stepped back in and 1,2 and 4 took care of business with the only upset being spoiler Rivers defeating Kevin Banaag in two. Ryan Lee swept past Schneider, Nick Caner cruised past Gastouniotis and Reigh Abaoag took three games to get past Am Khong. In the Semifinal Round, Caner ran through Rivers in two to set his spot in the finals while Abaoag needed a tie breaker and a third game to squeak past Lee to meet Caner. In the Finals, it was an exciting match as Nick Caner came out striking for a game one win 235-201 but Reigh Abaoag stormed back and put on a show for the crowd with the front-11 in a 298-205 win setting up a one-game winner-take-all. In the final game, a couple missed spared and a few timely shots boosted Nick Caner to a 204-184 win and his first JAT Open Division title. Congratulations Nick!
Special thanks to our tour Title Sponsor Brunswick Bowling for their support of junior bowling and the JAT. Our next event will be Sunday, September 24th at La Habra “300” Bowl in La Habra. Check-in time is 8:30 and we hit the lanes at 9:00. Join our Facebook group for more information at facebook.com/groups/bowljat for up-to-the-minute information. Hope to see you all on the lanes at La Habra!