MORTON — A team that was supposed to include two Barnwells ended up with two Stengers instead. That turned out to be a winning combination in the Thanksgiving Team Shootout at Safari Bowl in Morton.
The top-seeded team of Bob Baker, Josh Barnwell, Chris Stenger and Mark Stenger beat out a full field of 16 teams on Friday to earn the $1,600 first prize.
The winning team trailed by two pins after the first game of the Baker-style title match. But they opened Game 2 with eight straight strikes and finished with a 269 for a 461-424 decision over the third-seeded team of Pete Burdette, Corey Gray, Matt Sadler and Don Sweet.
In the four-game qualifying round, Mark Stenger led the winners with 985, Chris Stenger added 979 (with an opening 297), Baker a 969 and Barnwell 847.
"I put the team together about a month ago, and Benny (Barnwell) was supposed to bowl with us," Mark Stenger said. "But he had to work. Well, my brother (Chris) has been bowling really good in Bloomington, so I checked to see if he could bowl."
The team was at an average of 899, one below the 900 cap. Chris Stenger came in with a 230 average, one better than Benny Barnwell. So the team was still eligible to bowl.
In the title match, Baker was the anchor bowler for the team, but missed two 10-pins in Game 1.
"I was thinking that we had to switch, and I had to go to the bottom (anchor), because I flushed all my shots in the first game," Mark Stenger said. "Fortunately, Bob came over and said, 'Let's switch.' So we switched. But in the end it didn't really matter because we had the front eight."
Baker left another 10-pin in the ninth frame of Game 2 to end the string of strikes. But he converted it.
"I've missed three 10-pins all year," he said. "I don't know what happened today. I just missed them."
In the first match of the stepladder finals, Burdette, Gray, Sadler and Sweet eliminated the second-seeded team of Larry Larsen, Tyler Young, Corey Kistner and Darrell Bean, 447-403.
Gray led the second-place team with an even 1,000 for his four qualifying games. Burdette had a 299 in Game 2 and finished with 955, Sweet 946 and Sadler 853.
The team of Tammy Walsh, Jamie Willey, Gene Vincent and Mike McWethy placed fourth to earn the final check in the tournament.
Tony Wysinger had the high qualifying block with 1,061 (265.25 average), which included a 299 in Game 1.
STILL GOT IT: Larry Bridgeman opened league play in the Goodtimers senior league with 15 straight strikes on Wednesday at Sunset Lanes in Pekin. Back-to-back solid 9-pins ended his run of strikes.
It was the 30th career 300 game for Bridgeman, 64, who added games of 213 and 238 for a 751 series. But that is not the high series in the league. Jerry Milam, 78, rolled a 769 a couple of weeks ago.
Bridgeman, however, did maintain high average in the league at 219.69 through 45 games.
SENIOR WINNERS: In the Walt Davison 50+ Tournament held at Striketown Bowl, the tournament namesake won a few titles. Davison was the singles winner in Class AA with a handicap 697. He also won Class A doubles with Lloyd Orrick (1,383) and class C doubles with Scott Harris (1,372).
Bob Ramirez swept Class D, winning singles (691) and doubles with Steve Martin (1,274). In Class B, Johnetta Noel won singles with 767 and teamed with her husband, Jon Noel, to win doubles with 1,470.
Larry Weiland also won two titles, winning Class A singles (695) and Class E doubles with Dave Philips (1,416).
Other singles winners Don Hild in Class C (727) and Sindy Bruns in Class E (724). Ken Wiggins and Jerry Milam won Class AA doubles with 1,311.
JOHNNY CAMPOS is the Journal Star bowling columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3214. Read his Spare Change blog at blogs.pjstar.com/sparechange, or follow him on Twitter at @JohnnyCampos59.