Kennard and Ambroza Capture Lima City Singles Titles

Phil Austin - Guest Columnist

Kennard and Ambroza Capture Lima City Singles Titles

The 2020-2021 Lima City Singles Championship came to an exciting close Sunday at 20th Century Lanes. Both champions had to run the table in the stepladder finals to take home the championship.

After making the final round nearly every year for the last 7 years, with the exception of the year he made a bad decision of where to eat Saturday night, forcing him to drop from the tournament because he had food poisoning on the final Sunday, Anthony Kennard finally takes home the crystal pin!

In battling through the round of 8, Kennard fought through the 7 games to qualify for the 4 person finals in 3rd place, setting up his first match against regular in the round of 8 Jake Schroeder, who he defeated 224-187.

He then had to face 2 time champion, former PBA touring player, and his former coach Todd Book. In a tight match, Book forced Kennard to double in the 10th frame to win, which he did, defeating Book 210-202 to set up his final match against defending Champion Trent Haughn.

Haughn seemed to be on fire all day, as he did not lose one match in the round of 8, and averaged 229 for the day, vs. Kennard’s 203. Even going into the 10th frame, after Kennard had posted his final score of 224, Haughn appeared to have the match well in hand, only needing to post a mark in the 10th frame to win the match with 230+. Kennard stated “I was almost certain I already lost. Trent is a really solid bowler”.

Then, the arch nemesis of all bowlers reared its ugly head. After throwing what appeared to be a light pocket hit, Haughn was staring at t her dreaded 7-10 split. Kennard, as well as many others, still didn’t feel like he was safe, as former collegiate pitcher Haughn blazes the ball at his spares at around 25 mph. Kennard turned to his friend Dave Jeanneret, spectating from the front row, and said “You know, he’s probably gonna make this.” When he launched the missile, and clipped the 10 pin head on, I swear that ball broke the speed limit on South Main Street. The 10 pin shot across the lane at seemingly 45 mph, but went behind the 7 pin without touching it. Kennard won on the bench 224-220. “I’ve been bowling this tournament for a long time. It is nice to finally be able to win. It was kind of a crazy way that I won”.

Chandler Stevens finished 5th for the day, followed by Brian Sharp in 6th, Drew Ambroza in 7th, and Bob Edwards in 8th

On the ladies side, experience wins the day. Taking home her 5th Crystal Pin, Shelley Ambroza wins again, further cementing her legacy as one of the greatest of all time in our region.

After a hard fought battle through the round of 6, she squeaked into the top 4 by a miniscule 4 pins, edging out defending champion Chris Mahlie 925-921. Donna Childs was not far behind, finishing 6th, with 897 for the day.

Then, in her first match of the stepladder finals, she had to face somebody she knows quite well, her daughter Abbey, who qualified 3rd. When asked what was going through her mind she replied “I just needed to make good shots for myself, but I cheered for her on every single one (of her shots).” The elder Ambroza advanced 217-178.

Makenzie Kraft in her first performance in this tournament, was able to match Ambroza in the semi-final match 175-175 calling for a 9th and 10th frame rolloff. This one place where Ambroza’s experience paid off, as she fired 4 strikes in a row for a perfect 60 to Kraft’s 40, advancing to meet Ashley Ebeling in the finals.

The final match went back and forth and was up for grabs until the 8th and 9th frame, when Ambroza was able to throw a key double to lock the match up. She defeated Ebeling 186-153. When asked about the 8th and 9th frame strikes, Ambroza said” I Knew they were important frames, and I just needed to make the best shots I could make”.

All 3 Ambrozas (Shelley, son Drew, and daughter Abbey) agreed that if any of them won, they would dedicate their win to honorary family member and legendary bowling writer Jack Hammill, who passed away late 2020. I tend to believe that Jack may have been up there pulling the strings on few extra ten pins to help put his honorary daughter in the winner’s circle once more. This one’s for Jack.

One other note of interest – Ashley Ebeling rolled the high game of the day for both men and women, a 266, with the first 9 strikes.

Phil Austin

Guest Columnist

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