BY JILL WINTERS
Lake Wales, Florida – Another top-seeded player falls in the first round of the 2022 Kia PBA Playoffs.
Two powerful players seeking to advance into the quarterfinals were No. 3 EJ Tackett against No. 14 Jesper Svensson.
This match was filled with new bowling pins being demolished inside the Kegel Training Center. Svensson never missed the pocket throwing nine strikes in the opening showdown against Tackett’s eight strikes, as the lefty earned the 258-223 win.
“The way the pins fall in this place helped me out that first game on some of my off hits,” Svensson said about his pin reaction in game one.
Tackett knew he needed to strike more in game two, so he relied on his Motiv Ripcord, while Svensson stayed with his Storm Pitch Black urethane. Svensson led by 17 halfway through the match before Tackett finished with seven straight strikes for the 242-227 win to force extra frames.
In the 9th and 10th frame roll-off, Svensson struggled to carry, leaving three single-pins for a score of 38. Tackett rolled a strike and needed a mark to advance, but instead left the 2-4-6-10 split, which he failed to convert.
“I am still glad I won but it is a little rough when you win by somebody else’s mistake,” Svensson said. “You would love to just go up there and throw the shots you need to win. You know that is bowling and I will take it. I was on the right side this time.”
The final match of the Round of 16 on the right side of the tournament bracket featured No. 6 Tommy Jones against No. 11 Kyle Sherman.
Over the first four frames in game one, Sherman had two opens while Jones had one. Both players then seemed to settle in as Jones went on to win 237-198.
“Not bowling on the fresh (oil) it seemed safer to play to the right with urethane as opposed to getting into the middle where there was a little bit a traffic from EJ,” Jones said about the lane conditions following Tackett. “I got away with a couple of shots. He (Sherman) didn’t have a great reaction the first game.”
Jones kept using his reliable Brunswick Purple Hammer to start out with a four-bagger in game two holding a 19-pin lead halfway through. Sherman trimmed his deficit to three pins heading into the foundation frame.
Sherman’s shot went wide right leaving the 1-2-4, which he chopped. Jones posted a double and 8-spare over the final two frames for 233-221 to earn the sweep.
“I just got fortunate that he made a bad one in the ninth and I was able to get away with the win,” Jones said.
With a loud and supportive crowd inside the Kegel Training Center filled with bowlers from Webber International, Jones said they are the future of the game.
“We want to keep them passionate about the sport of bowling,” Jones said about the collegiate players in the audience. “Anything we can do to pay it forward to keep them engaged and want to continue this and maybe do this one day and get the chance to bowl on TV and see how much fun that is.”
Svensson will face Jones at noon ET May 1 on Fox Sports’ FS1 in the quarterfinals.
The winner of the Kia PBA Playoffs will earn $ 100,000 and a PBA Tour title.
Follow the tournament bracket and live scoring here
Match 1 – Svensson def. Tackett 258-223, 227-242, roll-off 38-24
Match 2 – Jones def. Sherman 237-198, 233-221