Eoff Rolls Stepladder to Win Masters
For the second consecutive year, the five seed has run the table in the stepladder finals of the MBA Masters. MBA newcomer Derek Eoff bested a field of 45 entrants to claim the title in the fifth annual tournament on February 2, 2013.
The tournament was held at MBA City Tournament host Bowl-A-Vard Lanes on the USBC Blue #1 pattern – a pattern which has considerably less volume than the USBC Blue #3 condition used the previous two Masters. The result was significantly higher scores, though no honor counts.
Game 1 was the highest scoring of the day, with the field averaging nearly 220. Jay Heinzelman fired 279 out of the gates to take the early lead, and fifth place was +57 (Marc McDowell). The cut to cash – 15 with 45 bowlers (1:3) – was +38 (Rich Banker).
In game 2, the field averaged nearly five pins less than the first game. The cut numbers softened, as they are prone to do. The cut to cash rose to +62 (Chris Loret) and the stepladder cut for fifth place went to +84 (Cody Ramsden). Jonathan Schalow took the lead at 514 on games of 247 and 267.
Scoring picked up slightly in game three, about a pin a game. It took +79 (Tony Cenite) to make it above the cash line. The cut average to make the top five went up just under one pin, with the number at +128 (Jonathan Schalow). Defending champion Cody Ramsden jumped into the lead at +742. The top 10 scorers all had 710 or better for their opening sets.
The second highest scoring game for the field was game four, and the cut the cut to cash reflected it. Mike Hoffman took over the lead in qualifying – a lead he would not relinquish – at +208, a 252 average. The cut to the top five moved to +160 (Derek Eoff) and the cut to cash was +116 (Jim Fosdick).
The lowest scoring game of the day was game five, where the field averaged under 210, and the lines – though still high – dropped. Hoffman led at +244. The stepladder cut went up 27 to +187 (Jeff Prein), and the cut to cash was +139 (Rich Banker).
The final game was the second lowest scoring for the field, and it ultimately took an average of just over 225 (+152) to cash (Cody Ramsden). The cut to the top five was +221 (Derek Eoff), nearly a 237 average. Hoffman led with +280, averaging almost 247.
In the first match, Eoff managed a 235-208 victory over fourth seed Jay Heinzelman (+236). Eoff opened with a 10 pin, and followed it up with a six bagger. Heinzelman stayed in the match and actually had a glimpse of a chance following a 2-8-10 split in the ninth frame gave by Eoff. Heinzelman was looking at a possible 238 finish with the last five strikes, but didn’t carry in the ninth frame.
MBA Hall of Famer Jeff Prein was the third seed at +256 on the strength of a 268-247-256 finish in qualifying. In this match, Eoff started with the first four. Prein was game through five frames and had a shot at taking the lead in the sixth – until he met with the first of what would be four 10 pins in the second half of his game. Prein mustered a 212 to Eoff’s 254.
The semifinal match featured Eoff against second high qualifier Herb Kimpel (+263). This match would be the closest on the day – 246-243. Eoff was solid through his first seven frames with six out of seven strikes. Kimpel kept pace, though an errant shot in the third left him down 15 pins after seven. A spare in the eighth frame by Eoff opened the door for Kimpel, but he missed in and left the 3-5-6, converted it, and struck in the ninth. Eoff missed again in the ninth frame, but converted and struck out to lock out Kimpel and advance to the final match.
In the championship match, tournament leader Mike Hoffman (+280) matched Eoff’s double in the first two frames. Eoff split the third frame, then doubled again. Hoffman left a couple seven pins over the next three frames, and held a four pin lead in the sixth frame. But then Hoffman erred in the seventh, chopping one pin off the 3-5-6, and trailed by eight after Eoff struck in the eighth and spared in the ninth. Hoffman was now looking at retaking the lead with a strike in his ninth. Hoffman spared, and sought to put pressure on Eoff in the tenth, but managed only the first strike. Eoff needed only to fill the tenth, which he did, and won the match 202-194.
Congratulations to Derek Eoff, who won $510.00, two tickets to the MBA Hall of Fame Dinner and Bowler Recognition ceremony in August, one ticket to the Dinner with the Champions in October, and the crystal Eagle Trophy.
Match 1: #5 Eoff def. #4 Heinzelman 235 – 208
Match 2: #5 Eoff def. #3 Prein 254 – 212
Match 3: #5 Eoff def. #2 Kimpel 246 – 243
Match 4: #5 Eoff def. #1 Hoffman 202 – 194