Ernie Schlegel stunned a sold-out Robert Morris College Sewall Center crowd as he captured his sixth PBA title at the Bayer/Brunswick Touring Players Championship.
The 52-year old defeated Randy Pedersen in the true match, 237-236, to win the $40,U00 top' and his first "major title. He also earned a three-year exemption into the Brunswick World Tournament of Champions. Schlegel Vancouver, Wash., garnered the largest paycheck of his career in his 741st tournament. He holds the PBA record for most tournaments bowled.
"After being out here 28 years I finally captured my first 'major', "Schlegel trailed early in the title match after Pedersen opened with three consecutive strikes. Schelegel then took a one- lead in the fifth frame and never trailed. Pedersen stepped up in the 10th frame needing a strike and sixpins for the win. A perfect shot turned into a solid eight-pin and the match was Schlegel's. Pedersen fell to theground as Schlegel whipped the crowd into a frenzy as he proclaimed "I am the greatest...l am the greatest."
A dejected Pedersen pocketed $22,500 for second. It was the first time Pedersen lost from the top-seeded position in seven title matches. His 11th title came earlier this year in Louisville, Ky., from the top spot.
Schlegel advanced to the title match after narrowly getting past PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss, 226-218 in the semifinal game. Voss could have won the match if he had struck in the 10th frame. Instead, he left the 4-10 split and settled for third-place money of $15,000.
The game before, Voss defeated fellow PBA Hall of Famer David Ozio, 280-247. Ozio, trying to become only the second player this ear to win back-to-back titles, won $10,000 for fourth.
In the opening game of the stepladder finals Ozio beat Brian Himmler, 264-164. Himmler was competing in his first championship finals and took home $7,500.
As you watched in the video, TOC champion Ernie Schlegel ran around the celebrating like he threw a strike to defeat Pederson but in actuality, it was Pedersen's misfortune that championed Schlegel. "I don't buh-lieve it! I don't buh-lieve it! Un-buh-lievable! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! For the old people! I am the greatest! Muhammad Ali!," Schlegel shouted during his victory laps.
Fast forward 19 years...
In preparation for defense of his 2013 PBA50 Dayton Classic title, Pedersen is currently at Storm Headquarters in Brigham City, Utah, enlisting the expertise of Hank Boomershine and Victor Marion in effort to transform his game.
A transformation that includes several adjustments to his foot-work (), shoulder angles, hand-positioning, ball layout and release. After countless hours of practice, everything suddenly started coming together for Pedersen with all body parts syncing with the mind. "Like any changes made to your game it takes time for it to feel 'right'," Pedersen said. "Although I've been throwing the ball 'okay', I truly felt like it was time to make serious improvements to my game - so a trip to Utah was in-order."
With a new-found game and mindset along with feeling pretty good, Pedersen began reflecting on "THE shot heard around the bowling world", now some 19 years ago. "Do I let the events of that match be the defining moment of my career" Pedersen asked himself, "Or do I embrace it and turn it into a positive as part of re-launching, if you will, a completely new career."
"Well, it's been almost 20 years since I left the infamous Stone 8 to lose to Ernie at the Touring Players Championship in Pittsburgh. It was the lowest point of my career, and it haunted me for a long time. It was one of the best shots I've ever thrown on TV, and the Stone 8 cost me the win, I lost by 1 ," PBA Hall of Famer Randy Pedersen said of that historic moment.
"But it's time to put it to rest, and make it a positive. So many bowling fans remember the Stone 8, and people still ask me about it to this day. I've changed my Twitter handle to @Stone8RP and I'm going to turn the worst break in my career into a positive. More to come from Stone8RP, stay tuned."