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FOX Sports takes over professional bowling telecasts

December 30, 2018

Professional bowling has a new television home on FOX Sports. The PBA Tour’s first show was the PBA Clash on Dec. 23. As it turns out, telecasts go beyond guys/gals sending shots down the lanes. Thanks to Specto StrikeTrack, a feature developed by Kegel, viewers can watch a live trace of the ball as it rolls as well as calculations of the ball speed, location and revolutions per minute (RPM) and other features. StrikeTrack is similar in concept to the FOX Sports FlightTrack system used on PGA Tour telecasts that tracks the flight of a golfer’s shot.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” FOX analyst Randy Pedersen said in a news release. “This lets the viewers see where the ball is going down the lane, the speed, power, and how it impacts the pins and why that resulted in a strike or not. It really helps quantify my analysis.”

FOX succeeded ESPN as the television partner of the PBA Tour. ABC had the Tour for 36 years starting in 1962 and then ESPN for 38 years, beginning with the network’s inception in 1979. Veteran FOX sportscaster Rob Stone returns to call the action after a five-year absence. Sideline reporter Kimberly Pressler rounds out the announce team.

The Clash was a special showcase event featuring eight of the Tour’s top stars and time was devoted to preview the 2019 Fox PBA Tour series. Four of the PBA Tour shows in 2019 will be on Fox and 25 will be on FS1. Each show will be a two-hour telecast. They also will be streamed on FOX Sports Go. The 2019 PBA Tour will kick off with the Hall of Fame Classic finals Jan. 6 on FS1.

The broadcast schedule includes the four PBA major championships: the PBA Tournament of Champions on Sunday, Feb. 10, from suburban Akron, Ohio; the PBA Players Championship on Sunday, Feb. 17, from Columbus, Ohio; the PBA World Championship on Thursday, March 21, from Allen Park, Mich., and the United States Bowling Congress Masters on Monday, April 1, from Las Vegas.

As for the PBA Clash, four-time PBA Tour winner Marshall Kent outlasted seven other top money earners from the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season to take home the $25,000 winner-take-all prize. Also competing were Jason Belmonte, Anthony Simonsen, Dom Barrett, Andrew Anderson, E.J. Tackett, Stuart Williams and Jakob Butturff. Kent beat Barrett, 218-215, in the title match. Tenth frame scoring followed by one-ball roll offs were used to get down to the final two.

Two major award presentations were made during the telecast. Andrew Anderson received the Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year honor and Kamron Doyle the Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year honor.

FOX also has created a bowling page on FoxSports.com, its official website, that will be filled with PBA player interviews and other news of interest to bowling fans.

TOURNAMENT TIME: Entry forms are out for the 2019 West Virginia Open and 2019 West Virginia Women’s Tournament.

The 14th West Virginia USBC Open Handicap Championships are scheduled March 23-24, March 30-31, April 6-7, April 13-14 and April 27-28. No bowling Easter weekend. Parkersburg is host city and centers are Emerson Lanes for team event and Pike Street Lanes for singles and doubles. Singles and doubles shifts on Saturdays at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Team event shifts Sundays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Entry fee $27 per event plus $5 optional all-events and $12 for scratch events. Entry deadline March 9.

The 70th West Virginia State USBC Women’s Championships start May 4-5 in Morgantown and continue on weekends until schedule is completed. All events at Suburban Lanes. Entry fee $28 per event. Entries close April 20. Singles and doubles are on Saturdays with shifts at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Team event squads on Sundays at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (also 5 p.m. if necessary). Forms for both events available at Strike Zone Bowling Center and on www.bowlerwv.com.

JUNIOR GOLD QUALIFIERS: Remaining dates are Jan. 13 and Jan. 27. Host center is Holiday Lanes in Weirton, West Virginia. Age divisions are U12, U15, U17 and U20. Format is 5-game scratch qualifiers based on total pinfall for placement. Entry fee $50. Bowling starts at 10 a.m. Qualifiers advance to national tournament in July in Detroit. Forms and more details available at www.bowlwv.com.

WAY TO GO: Casey Lusk fired games of 211-212-232 for a 655 series in junior action at Strike Zone. Sam Clay posted a high game of 244.

SPECIAL WISH: Happy New Year to all. Check with centers for New Year’s Eve arrangements. My New Year’s Resolution ... make a single-pin spare again and go from there.

David Walsh covers bowling for The Herald-Dispatch. Email him at bigdogdown@gmail.com.

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