Bowling: Springfield’s Chris Via not one to settle

Springfield bowler Chris Via. DEBBIE JUNIEWICZ / CONTRIBUTED

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Springfield bowler Chris Via. DEBBIE JUNIEWICZ / CONTRIBUTED

A tournament-leading performance throughout the qualifying rounds was little consolation, nor was a championship matchup against now nine-time PBA champion Rhino Page.

Chris Via isn’t one to be satisfied with being runner-up — he wants to win it all.

“I put myself in position to win a national title and I came up short,” Via said. “It’s frustrating.”

Page, second to Via after 16 games of qualifying, edged the top-seeded Springfield bowler 190-173 to win the PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic at Pla-Mor Lanes in Coldwater on Sunday. It was the first national title for Page since 2009.

Via, a Kenton Ridge High School graduate, averaged 214 during qualifying and was +226 through 16 games — 91 pins ahead of Page heading into the stepladder finals. Jason Sterner and Joe Bailey rounded out the final four. But Via struggled with the shot on Lanes 9 and 10 in the championship match.

“I had not seen that shot all weekend,” he said. “I couldn’t get comfortable with it.”

Via was in the comfort zone throughout much of the two-day event, posting a tournament-high 277, but he struggled early in the final against Page starting with a 2-10 split and an open frame. Page led early but Via kept it close, taking advantage of an open frame by the eventual champion to pull ahead in the sixth frame, 106-101. But a pair of strikes by Page in the seventh and eighth frames gave him the lead and he never trailed again.

“It’s not like there were a lot of strikes to be had, so I relied on my spare game, and that was the key,” Page said.

Via, 25, has had success at the Coldwater bowling center, winning the event in 2013 as an amateur, finishing second twice and third once. But winning it all has been a challenge of late.

“I haven’t won a singles title in a long time,” he said. “I’ve got to figure out a way to knock down enough pins to win it.”

Via has a PBA regional title to his credit. He and Darren Tang won a doubles title just a week after Via picked up his PBA card in June.

Hungrier than ever, Via will compete in a few PBA regionals before heading to Team USA Camp in October.

Local flavor: Wapakoneta's Anthony Kennard and Versailles bowler Michael Davidson advanced to the Round of 16 in the national PBA event Sunday, finishing 12th and 16th, respectively.

Storm Cup: Reigning PBA player of the year EJ Tackett clinched the PBA Xtra Frame Storm Cup and $20,000 prize by advancing to the cashers round in 17th place Saturday. Tackett finished 19th overall in the tournament but had tallied enough points in the seven-tournament Storm Cup Series to claim the title.

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