COLDWATER - After a rough start on Sunday, Brian
Waliczek closed things out in style at the inaugural
PBA Central Region Lefeld Implements Classic.
Standing in 10th place after the first half of match
play, 61 pins out of the fifth and final spot to
move on to the championship round, Waliczek went to
The Birch Run, Michigan resident concluded match
play by just missing a perfect game and rising to
second place going into the stepladder finals at
Pla-Mor Lanes in Coldwater.
After knocking off Eugene McCune in the semifinal,
Waliczek dominated the championship match, beating
Jeff Zaffino 277-159 to win the $4,000 first prize
and collect his third career regional title.
"I've been the bridesmaid a lot this year," said
Waliczek after collecting the trophy and check. "I
haven't won too many match plays. I've had good
Saturdays. To be able to come out here to a great
crowd and the fantastic tournament we've had out
here in Coldwater, it's a big win for me."
Waliczek advanced to the 16-man match play after
placing 12th in the qualifying rounds on Saturday.
"I started off the morning pretty much poor. I guess
that would be the most appropriate word," said
Waliczek. "We had a little break and my last eight
games I caught fire."
After going 4-4 and recording 3,410 pins in his
first eight matches, Waliczek roared to life in the
final eight matches to decide the final five to move
on. Waliczek went 6-2 in his final eight matches and
knocked down a total of 5,638 pins. In his final
match, Waliczek went to the final ball needing a
strike to record a perfect game, but the 10-pin was
left standing, leaving him at 299 but allowing him
to climb to second place and giving him a two-game
bye in the stepladder format.
"I had a lot of time to catch up on Robert Smith
(who was second halfway through and finished third
in match play)," said Waliczek. "I shot a big game,
thank goodness, and went around him."
In the stepladder format, where the fourth and fifth
seeds play first, with the winner meeting the third
seed, then the winner of that playing the second
seed before facing the top seed, McCune held off
Dave D'Entremont 214-204 to move up and face Smith.
In the second game, McCune started the match with
six straight strikes, but Smith held on and recorded
a 227. In the 10th frame, McCune started with a
spare and needed just one pin to advance. McCune
ended the suspense, getting the strike to record a
237 to face Waliczek.
Waliczek, even after a two-game break, kept hot,
dispatching McCune 225-214 to advance to face
top-seeded Jeff Zaffino in the title game. Zaffino
entered Sunday the second seed and took over the top
spot from Smith through the match play games.
Unfortunately, the hot streak was all for Waliczek,
who started with three straight strikes while
Zaffino recorded a spare and a strike before leaving
a pin on the third frame for the open 9. Waliczek
spared in the fourth, but then rolled off seven
straight strikes before rolling an 8 on his final
roll to finish with 277. Zaffino had just two more
strikes in the match and had two open frames to get
159, earning $2,200 for second place.
"They put on a fresh condition (on the lanes before
the finals), which is what I was bowling on this
morning," said Waliczek. "I made some adjustments to
play a little tighter up the lane. I chose a
different bowling ball. I matched up well and was
able to execute."
Waliczek was impressed with the tournament, thanking
Pla-Mor co-owners Liny and Rick Hartings, their
families and staff and sponsors for putting on a
"Most times, what makes a tournament successful is
the people that are running it," said Waliczek, who
noted that the crowds during the weekend were nearly
double compared to some of the other regional
tournaments. "You can have all the events that you
have, but when you have good people involved that
are running the event, it really works out."
Waliczek also is ready to defend his title.
"Soon as it's on the calendar for the regional tour,
it will be on my calendar," said Waliczek.