Fans erupt in cheers during the first round of the PBA playoffs at Bayside Bowl in Portland on April 8. Semifinals and the championship match of the event will be held this weekend at Bayside. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The top seed, and world’s best bowler, won’t be here. Neither will the second or the third seed.

But that shouldn’t matter this weekend when the Professional Bowlers Association returns to Bayside Bowl this weekend to complete the inaugural PBA playoffs. Four bowlers remain from a field of 24 in a single-elimination tournament that began in Portland in early April.

“Bowling people know these guys,” said Charlie Mitchell, the co-owner of Bayside Bowl. “And one of these guys is about to make a pretty big name for himself very soon.”

The semifinals begin at noon Saturday with fourth-seeded Anthony Simonson playing No. 9 Kris Prather in the first match and No. 7 Bill O’Neill playing No. 6 Sean Rash in the second match. The winners will play for the $100,00 first-place prize at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. All the matches will be shown live on FOX.

Prather is clearly the upstart in these matches, where a bowler has to win two points. In his fifth year on the PBA tour, he upset top-ranked Jason Belmonte in two games – 197-165 and 224-214 – to advance to the semifinals. In the second game, Prather finished with four consecutive strikes to eliminate Belmonte, who was the clear favorite coming into the tournament.

“He’s been on the brink of breaking through,” said Bill Vint, the PBA’s head of media relations, of Prather. “He’s been coming on this year. He’s a good kid and a nice player.”

Kris Prather has yet to lose a game in three matches of the PBA playoffs. He’ll be back at Bayside Bowl this weekend to compete in the final four for a chance at winning the top prize of $100,000/ Monty Rand photo

Prather has yet to lose a game in three playoff matches. Simonson, who had a bye in the first round, had to win two-frame roll-offs in each of his two matches to advance to the semifinals.

“Beating Belmo was a big confidence booster and showed that if I’m ever in that position again, I have the potential of doing it again,” said Prather, in a press release. “I know if I get in that position again where I need a clutch performance in the 10th frame or in a roll-off, I’ll feel more relaxed because I’ve been there before.”

The playoffs began on April 8 at Bayside Bowl and have been shown on taped delay over the last seven weeks. Mitchell said a limited amount of tickets, at $30 a day, will be available at the door Saturday and Sunday. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. each day. Tickets are also available on-line.

He expects a crowd of 400-450 each day on the weekend, with the matches being played on the new side of the facility. “It’s a bigger space and we can fit more people,” said Mitchell.

The PBA will return to Bayside Bowl in mid-July for the Elias Cup tournament. The team tournament begins July 16 with quarterfinal play. Semifinals will be July 17 and the PBA League finals will be July 18.

“We’re glad to be part of this,” said Mitchell. “We’ve got a good relationship (with the PBA) that we hope to continue.”

 

 

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