Bowling: John Riffle rolls to P-T Sport Shot Classic title
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent October 27, 2013 7:34PM
The winners of the Post-Tribune Fall Sport Shot Classic on Sunday at Stardust Bowl III in Dyer were (from left) Gina Pritchett in the women's division, Amanda McCormick in youth and John Riffle in men. | Steve T. Gorches/Post-Tribune
Updated: December 1, 2013 7:04AM
DYER — Whether he was playing in or out on the lanes or throwing hard or soft, John Riffle found success from start to finish at Sunday’s Post-Tribune Fall Sport Shot Classic at Stardust Bowl III.
The Highland sharpshooter qualified first with a 228 average over five games, then won four games in a match play, topping off the day with a 257-205 victory over Chicago’s Elliot Smith for his first ever championship in a Post-Tribune Tournament.
Riffle rolled five straight strikes from the second to sixth frame and then three more in a row after the seventh to seal the win.
“I love winning; it never gets old,” Riffle said. “Some pairs were better than others. On the hooking pairs I threw hard and on the non-hooking pairs I threw soft. I think my odds increase here when (tourneys) use a sport shot.
“That’s a big draw for me. (Tournament director) Shaun Ciesielski runs the best tournaments I’ve ever bowled in my life.”
After starting the day with a 194, Riffle rolled games of 227, 256, 237 and 229 to grab the top qualifying spot. He defeated Blake Mushen and Don Hoernig to reach the semifinals, where he edged friend and fellow sharpshooter Bob Kammer Jr. 269-246 to advance to the final.
“Bob and I have been bowling together for more than 30 years,” Riffle said. “He’s an opponent who’s always going to push me; we do that to each other. In that match, I moved in, got softer and had a different look. I fortunately made good adjustments.”
Smith, who had a tougher qualifying round with a 185 average in 19th place, defeated Brian Gunn in the second round of match play, Scott Schmal in the quarterfinals and Scott Tapley in the semifinals.
“Brian and I have bowled against each other in the past, and he’s won most of the time,” Smith said. “That was the first game that I really started to carry in. The lanes started to hook more after the breakdown, and I had to play a straighter shot.
“I just got comfortable, which is something that I didn’t experience in qualifying. I needed something decent just to make the cut. I shot a 217 in the last game and carried that into match play. Against John … he just out struck me.”