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With the withdrawal of the esteemed Tom Pittard from the tournament, the number eight seed Todd Leopold moved up the bracket only to find himself facing the 2007 Regular Season Scoring Champion, the second-seeded Stephen Priest. Mr. Priest discovered to his dismay that a mountain of points scored in the summer count for doodleysquat in the Fall Classic.
To the bewilderment of the assembled crowd, Mr. Priest could manage only five hits in the first end, with Mr. Leopold's steady bowling carrying him to an 18-10 lead. Mr. Priest began to find his form late, but Mr. Leopold's tink of the handle to end the seventh dalrymple seemed to seal the favorite's fate.
Or did it? Mr. Leopold opened the eighth with back-to-back misses, and Mr. Priest seized the opportunity with a hit followed by a stay that brought a roar from the crowd and narrowed the deficit to two points. But Mr. Leopold did not miss again, which left Mr. Priest needing an improbable four-point shot on his last toss to equalize; the hit and quarry point scored were insufficient, allowing Mr. Leopold to stave off the comeback attempt 33-31.
At this point Ganesh seemed to be smiling on the top-seeded Jeff Gates. His three strongest challengers had been eliminated; Mr. Pittard's withdrawal created the possibility of a First Round bye - one by one, the obstacles to the Championship Cup were being removed. From the alternate list no man appeared to take the court.
So it was left to a fair damsel, Ms. Shelly Curson, the sixth alternate, to defend the integrity of the Tournament Bracket, and the challenge proved to be no formality. Ms. Curson produced a steady barrage of hits which perhaps unnerved Mr. Gates, who suffered through six straight misses in the third and fourth and trailed at the end change 17-11.
But Mr. Gates rebounded with authority, tying the case with a clover in the fifth and then winning three quarries in the sixth to take the lead. The margin was four points going to the eighth, but Ms. Curson took advantage of her opponent's miss on the first toss to trim the gap to two points. Mr. Gates continued to miss - any hit by Ms. Curson would even the match - but Ms. Curson was not playing to tie. An amazing shell on the next to the last toss reversed the score, and when Mr. Gates missed on his final toss it was over, 30-28 for the alternate over the top seed.
updated: November 14, 2007 - (07:43:40 pm)
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