With a 254 in the championship game as her primary tool, Leanne Barrette captured the Hammer Eastern Open and its $9,000 first prize last night at Country Club Lanes in Middle River.
Barrette rolled her gem to defeat top seed Carol Gianotti, 254-219, who led almost the entire tournament and was coming off a Ladies Professional Bowling Tour victory last week in Claymont, Del. But Barrette, 25, had her doubts, especially in the third frame of the championship game when she was facing a 2-4-8-10 split.
"I see that split a lot," said Barrette, who is from Yukon, Okla. "I never pick it up. I was very lucky. . . . When I picked it up, it was a big boost."
After the split, Barrette rolled four strikes in a row. Meanwhile, Gianotti, of Perth, Australia, was struggling, leaving her own split in the seventh frame -- one she was unable to convert.
"I really didn't have a shot," said Gianotti, 24, who earned $4,500 for second place. "When I was practicing, I didn't feel comfortable."
The championship was Barrette's first of this year, and her 14th career LPBT title. The $9,000 check brings her 1992 earnings to $44,150.
Stacy Rider, 24, of La Habra, Calif., finished third, earning $3,150. Rider, the fifth seed, defeated fourth seed Angela Ramsay, 41, of Poway, Calif., in the opening match, winning a two-frame roll-off by one pin after they tied at 226.
Ramsay, who was making her first television appearance (tape-delayed ESPN), earned $2,100.
Rider, who would go on to lose to the second-seeded Barrette, 214-200, also defeated two-time Hammer champion Tish Johnson, 30, of Panorama City, Calif., 213-208. Johnson, who was the third seed, earned $2,500.
Johnson struggled, throwing two open frames. She was mad at an ESPN cameraman who moved while she was making a shot, but she would not blame him for her loss.
"He moved when I was on the approach," Johnson said. "But I'm a professional. I should have stepped off the approach" to wait for him to stop moving.
"Hey," Johnson added. "I gave it a shot. At least I made the show."
Johnson had been trying to become the first woman in LPBT history to win three consecutive titles at the same tournament. She won the Hammer in 1990 and 1991.