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Last WTC in Seminole has modest showing

Published October 7, 2004

Marti Bail Bonds of St. Petersburg won the ABCb.line Sports World Team Challenge on Sunday, closing the book on the 12-year-old tournament's annual Seminole Lanes appearance. Only 20 teams showed for a tournament that in 1996 booked a record 112.

Marti defeated the UCF Striking Knights 442-414 in the two-game Baker format final. Marti qualified for the World Team Challenge Grand Championship Nov. 21-24 in Las Vegas. The winners split the $2,650 playoff, plus each member receives expenses paid to Las Vegas, sponsor trophies, rings and other merchandise.

The winning team members were Orlando's Chris Hayden and St. Petersburg's Mike Buchanan, Darren Baginski, Bill Hicks and Darryl Dempsey. In the Baker format, each of the five team members rolls two frames per game. Marti rolled 200 in the first game and UCF took a 14-pin lead. Marti responded with five straight strikes to open the second game and finished with three more for 242. UCF shot 200.

Marti defeated top qualifier McCorvey's Pro Shop of Mobile, Ala., 416-362 in the semifinal.

UCF's squad fielded some familiar faces. Billy Ragatz, Shawn Ryan and Jeff Merson are products of the Junior Gold programs at Clearwater's Countryside Lanes. Mike Larsen, Elliott Pen and Ken Weger are the other team members who will split $2,050. McCorvey's Pro Shop finished third and earned $1,800.

Two-time winners Clearwater's Top of the Line Pool Service and Sign Producers of Orlando failed to make the cut to the final three squads. Sign Producers finished second to Palmetto's Employee Leasing Solutions in the re-entry round.

The team challenge made its first Seminole Lanes stop in 1993.

With the merger of the ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling into the United States Bowling Congress effective next year, the ABC and tournament director Tom Boedecker decided to drop the tournament. Three more regional stops will be conducted this year before the Grand Championship.

A new ABC tournament with a format to be developed will replace the WTC, with test appearances in Orlando and Seminole Lanes scheduled for February, Boedecker said.

NEW PBA PASS: The PBA announced its new StrikePass subscription service for the 2004-05 tour. StrikePass can be found at utilizing RealPlayer 10 technology.

For $5.95 per month, StrikePass will provide on-demand coverage of the tour's 20 ESPN finals, posting the shows no later than 48 hours after the telecasts have aired. In addition, StrikePass will highlight historical shows on a weekly basis, including broadcasts on ESPN and Fox Sports Net that have featured the national and senior tours. Matches from last season's rounds of eight and 16 will be broadcast on occasion.

The PBA also offers a pay-per-view option. For $3.95 per event, users can view shows dating to 2001. The downloadable content utilizes new RealPlayer 10 technology so fans can instantly fast-forward and rewind the on-demand video.

The tour opens Oct. 24-31 with the Miller High Life Masters at Milwaukee. The tour introduces the 64-man exempt field for the first time. ESPN will televise the finals from 1-2:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

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