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Played over three months after the beginning of 2010, the Edgewood-Kirkwood, Atlanta (ABA South Region) chapter's 2009 Chapter Championship Tournament featured seven tightly-contested cases. When the buckets settled the Chapter's all-time winningest regular season player at last found himself possessing the coveted Lamar Cup after years of disappointments.
The First Round
The first match of the day pitted long-time regular Frank Schultz as the 2 seed versus the upstart rookie Brian "Big B" Schechterle in the No. 7 slot. The players were peculiarly consistent as no ayraults were posted, but the hits were evenly scattered in the lowest-scoring case of the day. Big B clung to a two-point lead at the end of the 6th and the 7th, then put it away in the 8th with two hits in the first three quarries, taking a six-point lead into the Final Quarry. Mr. Schultz's boc attempt made contact, but there was no big-bucket stay, making the final score 22-18 as Mr. Schechterle advanced to the semi-finals.
With the withdrawal of Brady (AKA Greg Gerhard) from the tournament due to injury, Tom Durrett found himself sitting in the No. 1 slot of the bracket, facing off against Gus Glaw, the 6th alternate, who was able to slip into the No. 8 position. Mr. Durrett jumped out to a quick lead, up 16-10 after the 3rd, but Gus "Glawed" his way back, and after the third quarry of the 6th trailed only 25-24. Unfortunately Mr. Glaw missed his final nine tosses and Mr. Durrett cruised into the semi-finals, 32-24.
The third match featured two chapter veterans, with Todd Leopold taking on the defending champion Lee Wilkins. Tied after three, Mr. Leopold did not miss in the 4th and the 5th to take a seven point lead. A big start to the 6th allowed Mr. Wilkins to cut the gap to three, but he could muster only one hit in the final two dalrymples, resulting in Mr. Leopold handing him his first-ever loss in Chapter Championship play by a score of 34-26.
The final case of the first round would prove to be the closest, but it appeared it would be anything but early on. After the first quarry of the 3rd, Dave Altherr held an improbable 11-0 lead over Steve Priest, the all-time scoring leader. Down 17-7 at the end change, the judge permitted Mr. Priest a moment to step inside and compose himself. Whether it was that pause or the switch to downhill tossing, Mr. Priest was able to shave the lead in half in the 5th, which was highlighted with a T'Bita-Stay. Mr. Altherr held on through the 6th and 7th as the players traded quarries, and after the first quarry of the 8th the lead was still five points. Mr. Priest won the next two quarries but still trailed by two as Mr. Altherr initiated the final quarry with a miss. Any contact would send the case to Extra Quarries, but Mr. Priest executed the sudden death on his last regulation toss - as the rumble of the large bucket subsided, the judge announced "Botfly, Quarry, and Case!", and the excited spectators cheered Mr. Priest into the semi-final round on the heels of the 29-28 come from behind victory, Mr. Priest's only lead of the case.
There was no slow start for Mr. Priest in his semi-final match against Mr. Durrett, as he racked up five bonus points in the first end. Mr. Durrett had less power but more consistency, so at the end change Mr. Priest held a slim 20-18 lead. A botfly on the last of the 5th put Mr. Durrett up by a point, but that was to be his last lead of the case. Mr. Priest did not miss in the 6th and the 7th, taking advantage of some lucky bounces to take a few uncontested quarries and post a salvage point. Mr. Durrett was not going to give up the fight, and after a T'Bita-Stay in the second of the 8th, he trailed by only one point pending Mr. Priest's answer attempt. Mr. Priest responded with a rare salvage Botfly, pushing the margin back to three, and a successful answer in the next quarry extended the lead to 41-37 going to the Final Quarry. Mr. Durrett had just hit a 4-point shot, but needed another, or an unlikely boc, to stay alive. The modest hit was insufficient, and Mr. Priest's answer was the icing on the cake of a 43-38 contest.
The hits were a little sparser in the second semi-final, as both Mr. Leopold and Mr. Schechterle carded ayraults in the first end, which concluded with Big B on top 13-11. A 6-0 fifth for Mr. Leopold gave him a lead he would not relinquish, as Mr. Schechterle could get no closer than three points the rest of the way. Trailing 27-22 heading to the 8th, Big B was still in range, but needed some quick noise to get back into the game. Instead, his misses in the first two quarries were answered with a T'Bita and a solid Bowler Blast, putting Mr. Schechterle in need of a last-toss boc that was not to be, and Mr. Leopold advanced to the Chapter Finals for the first time with a 32-24 triumph.
The Chapter Championship
Mr. Leopold and Mr. Priest were no strangers to one another, both on and off the boccelism court. The former college roommates had competed in various games over the years, and in the previous two Chapter Championship Tournaments each had eliminated the other in the first round. But this was no first round match, and no quarter was given - the end of dalrymple scores tell the story: 6-6, 13-11, 18-17, 22-21, 26-26, 31-30, 35-34, all ties or slight leads for Mr. Priest, whose second T'Bita-Stay of the day in the 2nd was the highlight of the first end. As the sun dipped behind the trees, both players' accuracy dropped a tiny bit, and no bonus points were scored in the second end, though the case was still hotly contested. Taking a one point lead into the 8th, Mr. Priest took advantage of Mr. Leopold's first-quarry miss to push ahead 37-34. Mr. Leopold initiated the penultimate quarry with a hit, so that a miss by Mr. Priest would have cut the lead to one. Instead Mr. Priest answered with authority; now Mr. Leopold faced the dreaded 4-point shot/boc quandary. There was no escape from that trap, and Mr. Priest captured his first Chapter Championship 39-35, becoming the first player other than Mr. Wilkins to claim the Lamar Cup.
updated: April 21, 2010 - (08:05:47 pm)
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