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I am another step closer to switching all of my equipment to Bill Hall’s Tri-Grip after winning the Madison Area Scratch Tour title at Wildcat Lanes in Verona on Saturday. I now have two balls with the Tri-Grip: a Storm VICTORY ROAD SOLID with a high-pin and strong drilling and a CROSSROAD with a pin-in-the-palm drilling. After settling on span and lateral pitches with the VR SOLID — my second Tri-Grip effort — I made one change with the CROSSROAD: going to 1/2-inch reverse in the thumb instead of the 3/8-inch reverse in the VR SOLID. I liked how the 3/8 felt but have used 1/2 for years due to my very inflexible 3-operation wrist and just wanted to see how 1/2 felt. Both balls feel great coming off my hand but I am leaning toward the 3/8 because it requires a little less grip pressure to hang onto and I still get out of it cleanly while staying under and behind the ball better than I have in years. The less grip pressure should mean less wrist strain, which would be huge when bowling several days in a row in, for example, PBA50 Tour events. I want to give the Tri-Grip another week or two, and probably will finally drill my new BYTE and REIGN ON balls with the Tri-Grip then decide whether to switch all my current stuff over. On Saturday, after a couple of shots with an IQ TOUR PEARL on the house shot on Wildcat’s old wood lanes, I went to the VR SOLID for 269 and 228. I was just trying to cross about 15 at the arrows keeping it fairly tight in the oil puddle. They were not extremely wet/dry but keeping shots in the puddle helped them retain energy through the pins. When the VR SOLID started laboring a little and going deeper resulted in too much skid, I went to the CROSSROAD and finished with 277 and 227 for 1,001 for four games, which was just fifth in the 59-bowler field. The cut to the top 16 for the eliminator finals was 915. The format has the top half of scores advancing after each game, cutting the field from 16 to 8 to 4 to 2. For the eliminator games, I had to switch to something shiny and used both my trusty high-pin VIRTUAL ENERGY and a low-pin Roto Grip DERANGED I have grown to love. The ball is smooth but strong, gets through the fronts clean and makes a strong but controlled move in the back. I squeaked through each round with games of 248, 227 and 236 to advance to the title match against close friend Chris Gibbons. Poor carry held me to a 215, with a solid 10-pin in the 10th giving Gibby the chance to strike to win the match, but he left a 2-8-10 and ended with 195. My 24th MAST title was worth $502, and I earned $95 in the Bet to Win pot. Second was $276. Full results are posted here. MAST reported that Jonathan Schalow led qualifying with an impressive 1,115 (277-299-280-259), just shy of the all-time MAST record and the highest series in the Madison Bowling Association this season. Jay Heinzelman also bowled an 803 to open qualifying. Jacob Morris made the cut in his first career MAST tournament, shooting 916. I enjoyed crossing with Jacob, the 19-year-old son of Tim Morris and a 2-handed lefty (thumb in) who was winding on an old urethane Ebonite NITRO. Wildcat Lanes and Badger Pro Shop sponsored the tournament. Wildcat lanes added $118 to the prize fund from reduced lineage and three $10 gift cards to the drawing. Badger Pro Shop donated a Storm HYROAD PEARL at cost for the raffle. Chris Pounders won the ball, Eric Fritton won two gift cards and Bob Richardson won the last card.The next MAST tournament is the Lake Ripley Lanes split squad doubles on Saturday, Oct. 12.