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12-year-old carrying his weight in youth scratch league


© St. Petersburg Times, published July 2, 2000

CLEARWATER -- Anthony Velardocchia may be outweighed in the Junior Scratch Classic League at Countryside Lanes, but he's not outclassed.

Velardocchia, 12, has been bowling since he was 4, starting at Tarpon Lanes where he could look up to a role model, nine-time PBA tour winner Steve Hoskins. The Tarpon Springs Middle School seventh-grader from Holiday carries a 3.9 grade-point average, shows a budding high game-series of 210-582, and is proud of his 1998 state YABA doubles title with Jason Hauser.

Although Velardocchia weighs only 88 pounds more than his 12-pound ball, he carries the second-high average of 158 on Team 17 and is one of a few 12-year-olds in the league composed mostly of high school youngsters. His "bigger" teammates are Brian Bright at 152 and Nick Vollentine at 163, and the team was 17th in the 23-team league a week ago.

"No, I'm not under any pressure because they are bigger and stronger than me," Velardocchia said. "Because we're all out there for the same thing, to improve our game and beat the next guy."

Chris Holly, Kevin Hindin and Chris Fitzgibbon constitute the league-leading Team No. 5, Fitzgibbon with a 192 average, Hindin at 190 and Holly at 183. They hold a 75-37 mark and a 67 percent ranking, the scoring yardstick in the league.

Recent high scores included Shawn Ryan's 257-684 and Jessica Loiacano's 205-533. Nick Gates is tops in points with 23.5, followed by Ryan with 22.5 and Ben Zold with 20.

The Junior Scratch Classic League is overseen by Cheryl and Bill Bedford, transplanted from Lane-Glo Bowl in Pasco County where their nine-year youth program produced a number of state champions. League officers are the youngsters themselves: Cliff Barnes as president, Kelli McManus vice president, Heather McManus secretary and J.R. Foraker treasurer.

Hundreds of bay area youngsters took part in the Florida State YABA Tournament at Bradenton and Venice the past two weekends. Final results will not be tabulated until later, but there were several divisional leaders from the Suncoast.

Mike Cerelli of the Suncoast YABA Association was leading the boys all-events scratch Division 3 with a 1,838, and the Quack-Ups from the Suncoast topped team Division 4 with a 2,906. Ryan Clark, also from the Suncoast, was leading the Division 5 handicap and scratch all-events categories with 2,400 and 1,615 respectively.

The state scores can be found on the St. Petersburg Bowling Association Web site at

DOUBLES SHAKEUP: After nearly eight weeks of no leader changes, the Division I doubles underwent a shakeup in the WIBC Championship Tournament at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

Doris Eppler of Murrieta, Calif., and Cindi Thurmond of Hemet, Calif., took the lead with a 1,237 pinfall. Lori James and Stephanie Allwood of Avondale, Ariz., were second, six pins back, followed by Marion Saari-Jackie George of Walla Walla, Wash., and Janine Gomez-Jackie Brantley of Aurora, Colo. All are new to the leaderboard.

Beverly Alwine of Harrisburg, Pa., is the new leader in Division I singles with a 678. Sue McBrayer of Dearborn, Mich., is second at 662 and Marie Lincecum of Myrtle Creek, Ore., is third at 657, both new to the leaderboard.

The Classic Team lead remains in the hands of the High Rollers from Cherry Hill, N.J., and Henderson, Nev., hometown of several women pro bowlers. The tournament ends July 8.

POST YOUR LEAGUES: The ABC/WIBC/YABA Web site at is now open for league secretaries, or others, to post their league standings online.

Click on the "Add League" link first, fill out the form and enter a password to upload your standings. Leagues must be ABC/WIBC/YABA-sanctioned. You also can search the database for other leagues if you know names and locales.

LEHMAN A WINNER: Clearwater's Sandy Lehman won her sixth NABI title and $425 last Sunday, beating Largo's Richard Porter 198-195 at Liberty Lanes. Clearwater's Jeff Cole was third, followed by Katie Heil of Palm Harbor and Robert Sellner of Largo. Cole won the Platinum Division and $190.

NABI bowlers are at Seminole Lanes today.

AROUND THE LANES: There was a huge rush on honor scores at Rainbow Lanes that included: Tom Milton, two 300s and a four-game 1,009; Rich Correa, 300-802; James Cline, 300-802; Mike Fick, 300; Chris Trauner, 300-705; Bill Merritt Jr., 300-734; Kent Worrall, 299-789; Charlie Cairl, 299-748, and Terry Nappi, 299. Other honor scores: Bob Poland 300-757 at Dunedin Lanes, Keith Nichols 300-785 at Countryside Lanes. ... Nichols, manager at Countryside, said the PBA Southern Region tournament is slated Sept. 15-17, with details on the pro-am coming soon. ... Craig Anderson won the monthly Midnight Team Tournament at Liberty Lanes. ... Scott Inmann fired a 769 to win the Poor Boy tournament at Largo Lanes last weekend. ... The Suncoast Hospital holds a bowl-a-thon July 8 from 7 to 10 p.m.

- Phil Gulick can be reached at or

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