Well here we are one week before Christmas and its Finals night for the 2017 Budweiser Big 10 Championship.  Will Brody Green force a second match by winning the first or will Bob Hochrein ring up his 8th Championship win.

But before we begin the nights match(es) there is the Baker Team Tournament.  Where 5 bowlers compete together to bowl a single game.  The first bowler bowls the 1st and 6th frames, the second bowls the 2nd and 7th frames, the third bowls the 3rd frame and the 8th, the fourth bowler bowls the 4th and 9th frames and the final bowler bowls the 5th and all of the 10 frame.  Baker team bowling is a big part of Collegiate and High School bowling and is very fun to watch.  There are 12 teams that compete and bowl one game each on lanes 1 – 12.  Then the top 4 teams compete head to head to see who will win the tournament.  The top team this year was Creslanes, which was my team, other team members were Cindy  Cottrell, Steve Breitbach Jr, Terry Cottrell and Steve Beck.  Close behind us was Shenanigans and then the Volunteers.  The final team in was Schultz Painting.  There was about 50 pins separating these teams after 12 games so pin count and spares are a big deal.

In round one of the finals Creslanes took on the 4th place qualifier Schultz Painting.  Game one went in favor of Schultz 192 – 185.  Game 2 both teams had a string of strikes but Schultz won out with a 256 game and 448 total over Creslanes 238 423.  They would face the winner of Shenanigans and Volunteers.  First game goes to Shenanigans 209 – 146, game 2 went much the same way with Shenanigans cruising to the easy victory 246 – 457 to Volunteers 172 – 319.   So its off to the finals on lanes 5-6 where Shenanigans takes the early lead 257 – 246.  Game 2 Schultz Painting was relentless striking big with a 268 – 514,  2 game total Shenanigans rolled a 219 and 476 total.  Schultz Painting gets the team Win – Team members were Corey Schultz, Greg Klauer, Kyle Wiest, Chris Clancy  and Rick Jacobs.  They made it into the finals by just a few pins and came out with 2 big wins!  Congratulations!

Now to the main event

Bob Hochrein – Winners Bracket Champion  vs  Brody Green – Losers Bracket Champion  7 pm Lanes 7-8

Hochrein starts us out with a trip of the 4-9 for a strike, Green then leaves the 10 pin and misses it, then crosses over and carries a Brooklyn, Hochrein throws 2 solid strikes for a turkey, Green rolls a solid strike and then goes wide and comes in light and leaves the 4 pin and spares, Hochrein strikes again in the 4th and shoots a messenger over to take out the 10 on a light mixer for a 5 bagger to start the night.  Green strikes again on the right lane and then leaves a solid 9 and covers it.  Hochrein strikes 2 more times on his next turn for a 7 bagger and looks to want to end this match early.  Green rocks a solid strike, then comes in light and leaves the 8-10 split and gets 1 for an open.  Hochrein leaves a ringing 10 and spares then goes high in the pocket for a 4-10 split and gets 1, Green finish game 1 first with a strike in the 9th, trips a 9 out for a strike in the 10th and then leaves the 2-8-10 and gets 2 for a 192 start.  Hochrein leaves the 2-4-8 and spare then trips the 4 for a strike and a 246 game and a 54 pin lead.

Game 2 Green starts us out with a 2-8-10 split and takes 2, Hochrein goes high and leaves the 3 pin and spares, then leaves the 9 and spares, Green gets a nice light strike then rocks a solid shot in the pocket to get a double, Hochrein shoots 2 solid strikes in the 3rd and 4th.  Green gets a break on his next strike when the pins trip forward, then rocks a solid shot on the left lane and its a 4 bagger, Hochrein strikes one more time for a turkey then leaves a solid 9 and spares, Green rolls a great shot and shoots a messenger over to take out the 10 pin, then strikes again in the 7th for a 6 bagger, Hochrein adds 2 more solid strikes for a double, Green hits the pocket but leaves a rocking 10 pin and covers this one up, then strikes again.  Hochrein finishes game 2 first with a 2-4-10 split and gets 2, then strikes out in the 10th for a 223.  Green strikes in the 9th and 10th and then leaves the 4-8 for a 256 game.  Green has 448 after 2 and is down 21 to Hochrein who has a 2 game total of 469.

Game 3 Hochrein starts with a strike, Green sends a messenger on his next toss it goes into the 10 pin but it doesn’t take it out, he does cover the spare and comes back with a strike.  Hochrein gets a strike in the 2nd and then leaves a 4 pin on a high pocket shot and spares, Green goes strike, Solid 9 pin and spares, Hochrein tosses a pair of solid strikes for a double, Green tosses a pair of strikes on his next turn to try to stay in the match.  Hochrein strikes in the 6th for turkey then leaves the 7 pin and almost leaves the 10 pin, but he covers the 7 for a spare. Green strikes 2 more times and now he is down just 11 pins.  Hochrein strikes in the 8th to keep his lead then goes high and trips out the 4 and 7 but leaves the 10 pin and picks it up.  Green can strike out for the win but leaves a solid 10 in the 9th and spares then strikes out to force Hochrein to mark and get good count.  Green finishes with a 248 game and 696 series.  Hochrein strikes on a nice light mixer, then leaves a 7 pin, spare wins it right there, a miss and we have a tie and a roll off for match one.  Hochrein covers the spare and in the first show of emotion all night yells out a Yes on the approach and he is the 2017 Budweiser Big 10 Champion for the 8th time by 1 thin pin!  This was a great match, fought out hard on the lanes by both bowlers, there was some unbelievable taps on both sides and it comes down to carrying at the right time and 1 spare in the very first frame of the first game.  Both bowlers had 2 splits for opens, strike count was pretty even 23 for Hochrein and 24 for Green.  A one pin loss is a hard loss to take, even harder in the championship match, but Green bowled great for 7 weeks and nets 2nd place in his very first tournament – Congratulations!

What can I say about Hochrein, he did everything right.  He took every pin he could get, took count on splits and covered every spare, he threw a strike when he needed it at the end in the 10th and then completed the victory with the spare shot.  He did what a champion should do, fill frames.  Congratulations on a great tournament and what may be his last tournament if he holds true to his words.  What a fitting way to end a very great Budweiser Big 10 championship career by winning the last tournament you bowl in.

And that is it for the 2017 Budweiser Big 10 championship tournament.  Have a safe and Happy Holiday Season, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Until we start again – October of 2018