Bowling: Darrell Gilbert looks to defend P-T Sport Shot Classic title
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent September 18, 2012 9:08PM
Darrell Gilbert Jr. won the inaugural Post-Tribune Sport Shot Classic in January. He looks to repeat this Sunday at Stardust III in Dyer. | Steve T. Gorches~Post-Tribune
If You go
2nd P-T Sport Shot Classic
When: 9:45 a.m., Sunday (sign in starting at 8:30 a.m.)
Where: Stardust Bowl III, 1330 Sheffield Ave., Dyer; 322-3666
Cost: $30 if paid before Sunday ($40 on day of tournament)
Format: Four games acorss eight lanes; bowlers draw for starting pair; threr will be three divisions (men, women and youth) based on at least 16 entrants in each; fields will be cut for bracket-style match play (24 men, 8 women, 16 youth)
On the Web: For more on the Sport Shot Classic, including the unique oil pattern that will be used, visit blogs.post-trib.com/gorches
Updated: October 20, 2012 6:27AM
Having already won the men’s division of January’s first Sports Shot Classic, Darrell Gilbert Jr. is more than your average bowler preparing for Sunday’s second Post-Tribune Sport Shot Classic at Stardust III in Dyer.
But what has the local sharpshooter especially excited about the competition in four days is the success that he experienced over the summer while exclusively competing on sport shots.
Gilbert, who also runs Up Your Alleys pro shop inside Camelot Bowl in Portage, won the points title in the Plaza Lanes Tuesday Challenge and was also a fixture at the King of the Hill tourneys at Stardust III in which he was in the top five in points for much of the summer.
“I’m definitely ready for Sunday,” Gilbert said. “I’ve actually had a pretty good summer; I’ve bowled well in a lot of the different sport shot tournaments, especially over at Plaza and in the King of the Hill series. I’m pretty confident in my bowling right now.”
At Plaza, where there were 30 to 35 bowlers consistently throughout the summer, Gibert also won the year-end title, captured two other individual events and had two runner-up finishes. At Stardust III, Gilbert had one second-place finish and several top-10 efforts.
“I was in the top five at one point, but I had a stretch of three bad weeks where I didn’t qualify for three weeks in a row — and that hurt me in the standings,” Gilbert said. “It was more me — making bad shots and not making the right ball changes. I missed the cut one week by five and 12. But I was right there most weeks.”
Since Gilbert didn’t really compete in any other leagues over the summer — he did roll in his pro-shop sponsored hav-a-ball league at Camelot — he anticipates the normal challenges that a bowler has to adjust to when returning to league play on normal house patterns. He bowls in leagues at Camelot on Sunday and Thursday and in the Tuesday Majors at Olympia Lanes, where he averaged 212 last season.
“It’s tougher to bowl on a house pattern after being dedicated to sport shot competition,” Gilbert said. “You have to make more critical shots than in league play, but the more you bowl on sport shots the harder the house shots become — sometimes you try to be too perfect and you don’t have to be.”
But the transition back to league play in 2011 was especially challenging for Gilbert after competing in the PBA World Series of Bowling last year in Las Vegas. He bowled in all the events and bowled especially on the Shark Pattern, where he missed cashing by less than 50 pins. The experience of bowling with the world’s best was invaluable.
“You realize what you have, what you need and where you need to be when you start bowling on different patterns,” Gilbert said. “I was in line to make the cut on the Shark pattern, but a bad seventh game knocked me out. The whole experience was fun. I definitely came back with more bowling balls than I came with.”