Last Sunday, bowling fans had a tripleheader with the Teen Masters, Regional Players Invitational and the PBA50 Tour finals. The Teen Masters Grand Championship featured a rematch of last season’s finalists, which Florida’s Greg Young also won. He won his second straight $64,000 scholarship package, the richest scholarship prize in the sport, by beating Ashley Dunn of Palmdale, Calif., in a one-ball roll-off after the best-of-two-game match ended in a tie.

Dunn, who was swept in the 2012 title match, got the upper hand when she won the first game, 179-160, but Young sent the match into sudden death with a 184-153 decision in game two. In the roll-off, Young struck and Dunn left the 2-4-5 to hand Young the victory.

Arizona’s Ben Laughlin, who won the combined PBA West/Northwest RPI to qualify for the finals, defeated South Region representative Tom Daugherty of Wesley Chapel, Fla., 225-187, to win the special event for PBA regional champions. The RPI Finals included six PBA members who won RPI titles in their respective regions.

Laughlin won his opening-round match by rolling a 222 game against East Region representative Brian LeClair of Albany, N.Y. (198) and Southwest Region representative Chris Barnes of Double Oak (163). Daugherty’s 244 eliminated Midwest Region representative Dave Beres of Waukesha, Wis. (202) and Central Region representative Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio (177).

In the PBA50 Tour finals, which featured three PBA Hall of Famers who qualified based on competition points earned during the 2013 PBA50 Tour season, two-time PBA50 Player of the Year Walter Ray Williams Jr, defeated Venezuela’s Amleto Monacelli, 224-204, after Monacelli eliminated 2013 PBA50 Rookie of the Year Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 243-208, in the first match.

Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., has been selected by his fellow Professional Bowlers Association members as winner of the 2012-13 Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award.

It was a bittersweet moment for Shafer, who also won the Nagy award in 2009, coming a day after the funeral services for his wife, Michelle, who died unexpectedly five days earlier.

Shafer, a 47-year-old who has won four titles in a 27-year PBA Tour career, has been a champion for underdogs on the PBA Tour for years, encouraging non-winners to continue their quests for a title, because he understands how difficult it is to win against the greatest players in the world. Shafer’s personal challenges have been complicated because he has bowled his entire career while combating diabetes. Recently he has served as a spokesman for Animas Corp., a company that makes the insulin pump that has made it easier for him to live a normal life.

Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., Shafer’s closest friend and a fellow PBA Tour competitor, accepted the award on Shafer’s behalf during ceremonies Friday at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., where the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions gets underway Saturday.

Ebonite’s newest high performance Pivot Point ball hits the lanes a week from today, with big intentions and high hopes. For every ball that is purchased, Ebonite will make a $5 donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides scholarships and other assistance to children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our nation.

“When we decided to partner with Folds of Honor in 2013, we immediately began brainstorming ways that we could involve our dedicated consumer base in giving back to our military who have sacrificed so much,” said Ed Gallagher, Ebonite Brand Manager.

Pivot Point also features a dual logo, including the Folds of Honor folded flag, to remind the bowler and others that freedom is not free. Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has raised more than $25 million and awarded more than 5,400 educational scholarships to the families of fallen or wounded service men and women.

Australian Jason Belmonte continued his scorching pace, averaging 249 and retaining his lead after four qualifying rounds of the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions on Sunday at Thunderbowl Lanes.

Belmonte finished the fourth round with a 4,983 20-game pinfall total to hold a 160-pin lead over Dan MacLelland of Canada, who moved into second with 4,823. In Sunday’s fourth round, Belmonte had a 1,196 pinfall with games of 279, 242, 248, 224 and 203. In the third round earlier Sunday, he had a 1,251 pinfall with games of 233, 290, 242, 243 and 243.

Sixteen-time tour winner and 2006 Tournament of Champions winner Barnes is in third, 202 pins back with 4,781

Mae Stephens will be honored by her many friends and bowling colleagues at a birthday celebration for her 99th birthday.

Until last year, Stephens bowled on the Golden Girls team with friends Beverly Brady and Barbara Burke. The have been together for seven years.

“For a long time I bowled at Hallmark Lanes on the senior league. And when I was driving good, I often bowled five or six days a week,” she said.

Stephens, a Cassatt, S.C., native, began bowling rather late in life.

“I started bowling duck pins in Baltimore in the ’70s. You don’t see duck pins much anymore.”

Mae will celebrate with her longtime friend Brady, who celebrates her 76th birthday.

As for me, I’m off to Lil Tex restaurant in Copperas Cove to celebrate with Mae.

See you on the lanes.

Don Wright has been sharing insights on area/national bowling with Herald readers for more than 25 years. Contact him at

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