In recent years, the WCCBA board of directors have really smacked it out of the park in selecting a guest speaker for their annual Hall of Fame banquet.
Parker Bohn III (2015), Ryan Ciminelli (2016), Larry Lichstein (2017) and Johnny Petraglia (2018) all have bowling bags full of impressive Professional Bowling Association’s credentials.
In no disrespect to the previous A1 speakers, the WCCBA board reached the upper deck this year.
Walter Ray Williams — PBA’s all-time career leader in titles with 47 and seven-time Bowler of the Year — is coming to Meadville on Nov. 16 as the guest speaker at WCCBA’s annual HoF banquet at the Italian Civic Club.
Williams will be joined at the front table by this year’s Hall of Fame inductees: Lane Baker, Tom Baker and Diane McHenry.
A lot of people consider Williams the greatest PBA bowler of all-time. His resume speaks for itself. The 60-year-old Williams was the Bowler of the Year in 1986, 1993, 1996 through 1998, 2003 and 2010. He won at least one PBA title in 17 consecutive years.
In 1995, Williams was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame.
If you want to see Williams in person, Hall of Fame tickets are available at the local bowling establishments.
Kudos, WCCBA board.
Barnes’ bash brothers
The best brothers’ duo in the county? Without a doubt, the Barnes’ brothers — Tyler and Andrew.
The “Bash Brothers” were at it again recently in the Pioneer League at Cochranton Lanes. Andrew Barnes was locked in, firing games of 246, 258 and 246 for a 750. His older brother, Tyler, stayed with him by shooting games of 279, 230 and 215 for a 724.
Chad Robinson is getting the 700 series down. Reaching the “7” mark for the third time (I believe!) this season, the right-handed Robinson tossed a 708 in the Pioneer League.
A week later in the Pioneer League, Lee Duck was the lone 700 shooter with a 703.
At the other houses …
Lakeside Lanes — Fueled by 257 and 269 games, Troy Johnson rolled a 730 series in the Stewart’s Classic League. Three other 700’s were shot on the PBA-like pattern — Steven King (719), Chad Beers (712) and Rodrick Baird (700) … Bookending 247 games, savvy veteran bowler Shawn Smith tossed a 728 in the Wednesday Nighters League. Two other WNL keglers also exited with 700’s — Sonny Rauscher (721) and Steve Swezey (704) … In the Businessmen League, Brian Williams — who fired his first career 300 game earlier in the year — authored a 705.
Lost Lanes — Dan “Dutchie” Lilly nearly threw another 300 game. In the Cambridge Merchants League, the left-hander rolled a 285 game and finished with a 714 … Welcome to the 600 Club, Sam Boland. In the Found Lounge Mixed League, Boland tossed his first career 600 with a 602. His top game was 246 … In women’s action, Natalie Hanks was dominant (any surprises?) in the Found Lounge Scratch League, shooting games of 239, 213 and 217 for a 669.
Plaza Lanes — The Cat can feel it! A 300 game by Seth Beerbower. Throwing another 270-plus game this season, the smooth-shooting Beerbower fired a 279 game and 744 series in the Mixed Nuts League … Chris Jannazzo, who finished second in a very competitive scratch tournament in Jefferson, Ohio over the weekend, warmed up for that event by throwing a 704 in the Twilight League earlier in the week.
From the notebook
This soul had a wonderful day last Wednesday.
I had brief chats with two very influential individuals who had a big impact on my sports writing — Chuck Swick and Dan Richard.
I saw Swick — who I haven’t seen in a couple years — at a local restaurant and we only talked for a couple minutes, but I enjoyed every second. Then, unbelievably, I ran into Swick on the street the next day. I made it a point to shake his hand again.
Swick was one of my biggest initial supporters when I didn’t have many (probably still don’t). I still have a card that he sent me in the mid-1980’s when he was the head coach of the Meadville Lady Bulldogs.
As many of you know, Swick is class with a capital C.
The friendship between Richard and yours truly started off a little differently — a little rough at the beginning. As many of you are aware of, Richard was a die-hard, hard-nosed, fast-pitch softball player during his playing days and has always been a sports fanatic at all levels — high school, college and professional.
In the 1980’s, the very opinionated Richard voiced his viewpoints on my stories and softball columns — some good (not many), some bad (many). The bottom line: Richard made me a better writer, and I want to thank him.
As the years went on, our friendship grew stronger and we were aware of it. If it was at a high school sporting event or at church, I enjoyed our brief moments together — talking sports, of course.
While visiting my mother at Wesbury two weeks ago, I noticed a name tag on a door, “Dan Richard.” There is only one Dan Richard in the county. I peaked in the door, but he wasn’t in his room.
On the same day that I saw Swick last week, I looked in Richard’s room again, and he was in there and he recognized me and cracked a smile. I went right in.
Richard is 90 years old, and let me tell you, he is still as sharp-minded as he was when he was 50. We talked about his health issues, my mother, and of course, the World Series.
Did you know Richard is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame? In the 1960 World Series at Pittsburgh’s old Forbes Field, a foul ball was hit and landed on the roof and got stuck.
The never-afraid-of-anything Richard climbed up onto the roof and got the baseball. While he was up there, someone took a picture of him and the pic made its way to the Hall of Fame.
Richard showed me the picture years ago. A classic.
As with the conversation with Swick, I enjoyed every second with Richard — and I made a return visit on Saturday.
— In Harvey Butcheck’s obituary last week, it stated softball as one of his biggest enjoyments in life. Butcheck was the consummate team player in his underrated softball career. We were morning-league teammates, and I can honestly say, he was one of the most knowledgeable players who I ever played with. He knew the game, and as my friend Dave “Zeke” Zelasco said last week, “Harvey was a good dude,” too. RIP, Harv.
— This columnist wants a local bowler to know that he is in my prayers. I found out on Monday night that he is battling cancer and is currently going through chemotherapy. You will beat it, my friend.
— Enjoy it now non-Cleveland football fans. You’ve heard it here first: My beloved Browns are going to win eight of their final nine games to win the division with a 10-6 record.