There was no stopping young Sean Rash yesterday in the 2006 Beltway Classic at AMF Country Club Lanes.
Hometown favorite Danny Wiseman couldn't do it. Neither could Parker Bohn III, and Rash captured his second Professional Bowlers Association Tour title in his second appearance in the televised finals.
After starting slowly with four spares in his semifinal match against Wiseman, the Wichita, Kan., resident threw strikes in 18 of his next 19 frames and barely missed compiling a perfect game in the final against Bohn.
Was he thinking about scoring 300 in the final? "Absolutely," said Rash, 24. "There were a lot of them this week. But it just grabbed a little bit [in the non-strike frame]."
That was the seventh frame against Bohn, when Rash settled for a spare after 13 consecutive strikes. Then, he closed out with five straight strikes to finish at 279, 54 pins ahead of the veteran Bohn, who was never able to get into the match.
"It's kind of hard to beat a 279," said Bohn, the PBA Hall of Famer from New Jersey with 30 tour titles on his resume.
Rash actually had a much tougher match against Wiseman, the Dundalk native who lives in Middle River. With the large gallery solidly behind him, Wiseman was on fire at the outset, matching the flame-print shirt he was wearing.
He ran together five consecutive strikes and led by as many as 43 pins in the early going, and still had a 31-pin edge midway through the match. Then trouble arrived.
In the sixth, Wiseman toppled nine pins before missing the 10 on the spare shot. That was all the opening Rash needed to go on to a 256-236 win.
"It was my error," Wiseman said. "I missed one 10-pin all week before this one. I didn't want to make the thumb hold too tight, so I made it loose and lost it off my hand."
Despite a 236 effort, Wiseman finished fourth (based on tournament average) and earned $5,500. Rash took home the winner's share of $25,000 and Bohn gained $13,000. Chris Loschetter, 26, lost to Bohn, 222-206, in the semifinals and picked up $6,500 for third place.
"He [Rash] could have easily shot 300," said Wiseman, who expressed appreciation for the fan support. "There was more pressure on me than him. That young man is very aggressive, a good bowler. He'll be in many a final."
Wiseman, 39, said he will contemplate retirement if he doesn't earn an exemption by winning a tour title this year.
Rash's mother flew 12 hours from Alaska to be at the tournament, and he said he dedicated his performance to "two of my buddies" whose mothers recently passed away.
His other victory came in Parkersburg, W.Va., in the West Virginia Championship in February. Nicknamed "Diaper," Rash has a stroke featuring a wide hook. The ball appears headed for the gutter and suddenly veers into the sweet spot.
"I knew I'd strike eventually," he said of his sluggish start. "Once your arm swing is loose, you have a lot of confidence."
Bohn changed balls in an effort to reverse the flow. "When you can't figure out how to strike against the greatest players in the world, you're in trouble," he said. "Sean Rash earned it." email@example.com
Sean Rash def. Danny Wiseman, 256-236. Parker Bohn III def. Chris Loschetter, 222-206.
Rash def. Bohn III, 279-225.