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Rain, of all things, postpones league champions wrapup

It is inconceivable that bowling, an indoor sport, could suffer that bane of baseball _ "Ppd. rain" _ but such was the case with the ninth annual Champion of Champions team tournament at Sunrise Lanes last weekend.

The two-day tournament, pitting regular-season league champions from 10 local centers, drew a record 60 teams. However, the heavy rains flooded the area so deeply that some bowlers could not get out of their homes to the center.

"It was weird," said tournament director and Sunrise Lanes league coordinator Jodi O'Neill. "We had two or three teams not show because some of their bowlers were busy bailing water out of their homes and cars, or couldn't get out because their neighborhoods were flooded so badly.

"Consequently, we have to allow those teams to bowl this weekend to complete the competition. We won't know the winners until after they're finished."

There were 27 mixed teams, 20 men's squads and 16 women's squads entered, by far the largest field ever.

Most area centers suffered no damage from the deluge, although some reported minor leaks and flooded parking lots.

The worst flood damage to a center that I can recall happened to owner Dolores Pozzi and her Leisure Lanes in Hudson. The no-name storm of 1992 flooded the Hudson area west of U.S. Highway 19 so heavily that Pozzi had to virtually rebuild her center. It took her a year to recover.

ABC tournament update: With the tournament ending Saturday at the new National Bowling Center in Reno, Nev., all five division leaders are holding their collective breath as the final bowlers compete.

The only leader change came in the Booster Team division last week when First Texas Bank of Killeen, Texas, took the lead with a 2,849 total.

Clearwater's James Campbell and Danny Saunders remain tied for seventh in doubles with a 1,424 pinfall. JW's All-Stars from Boca Raton, third place in teams, and Pollard Bowl in Titusville, in fourth, are the only other Florida entries in the top 10 of any division. JW's All-Stars also leads the team all-events with a 9,839.

Low-to-cash totals right now are: teams 2,730, singles 570, doubles 1,105, and all-events 1,760.

A record 36 deaf teams competed in the tournament last week. Van Scheppach, National Deaf Bowling Association president from Sacramento, Calif., fired 10 straight strikes in his team event and ended with a 280-619.

There have been 24 perfect games so far.

$10,000 on line: The Style Master 300 tournament is at Crossroads Kenneth City Bowl this weekend, offering $10,000 to the winner of its singles handicap event. An optional scratch event offers $2,000 to the winner.

The tournament started Thursday, but entries are still open for walk-ins, with a $39 entry fee for the handicap event and $42 for the scratch competition.

Steve and Trudy Lavoie, originators of the tournament, have scheduled an ambitious summer slate, including 10-game marathons, doubles and singles events. The third and fourth youth scholarship tournaments, becoming very popular, are slated July 9 at Brandon Crossroads Bowl and Aug. 6 at Crossroads Kenneth City Bowl.

Since the Style Master 300 tournaments were started nearly six years ago, more than $2-million in cash prizes has been paid and the summer tour offers more than $175,000 in prize money.

Ladies invited: Dale Van Houten's women's scratch doubles tournament is set for July 23 at AMF Clearwater Lanes. Entry fee is $78 per duo, with the winners earning $600 and cash awards for high individual game block and high doubles games.

Competitors will roll 12 scratch games across 24 lanes and the field is limited to the first 75 entrants.

Around the lanes: Crossroads Kenneth City Bowl offers an almost-midnight team tournament July 8 with a $20-per-person entry fee and a guaranteed $1,000 to the winner. Another team tournament with a Philadelphia flavor is slated Sunday at Rainbow Lanes with a $15-per-bowler entry fee, $100 to the winner and free pizza and beer at Philly's Bar & Grill after competition. PBA commissioner Mike Connor will retire Dec. 31, to be replaced by Mark Gerberich, currently deputy commissioner of operations. Connor will remain as a PBA consultant. Summer league secretaries are encouraged to submit scores to this writer at 8495 Magnolia Drive, Seminole, 34647, or fax them to 392-3481.