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Beat the Champions: Tight every-spare-matters finish to men’s finals

Champion Brian Eggleston (left) and second-place finisher Richard DeWitt mess around while the top five finishers in the men's finals of Beat the Champions line up, including third through fifth (middle-right) Alex Hulbert, Michael McKinney and John Dudzik.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

(Story and notes at the top, individual scores at the bottom).

It took Brian Eggleston a second for it to sink in, but Noah O’Daniel came bounding over, “Yeah boy,” and bear hugged him into realization.

By three pins, Eggleston had edged out Richard DeWitt, 985-982, to win the men’s finals of the 58th Beat the Champions and $7,500 Sunday at Beverly Lanes in Arlington Heights. Only 25 pins separated the top five spots in a tight finals.

“They called my name and I said, `What happened?’ ” said Eggleston, a truck driver from Harvey.

Actually a whole lot happened to Eggleston, whose mother, Maryland, said he had started bowling at 5 at the defunct Anchor Bowl.

He opened with a 247, then fouled in the second game and had a 195. Keep in mind, Eggleston is a strapping 6-7 with size 17 shoes. His bowling shoes are gym shoes with a sock on one shoe. But he kept his cool and didn’t go on tilt, finishing with a 279 (he left the 10-pin in the sixth frame) and 203 to go with 61 pins of handicap.

In the finals, the 32 bowlers roll four games, moving two pairs of lanes after each game.

Brian Eggleston signs the paperwork for winning the men’s finals of the 58th Beat the Champions.<br>Dale Bowman/Sun-Times
Brian Eggleston signs the paperwork for winning the men’s finals of the 58th Beat the Champions.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

“I only missed one spare the whole day,” Eggleston said.

That was the difference. DeWitt knew it.

“Made you think about easy spares you missed and if only you had made them,” said DeWitt, a window tinter from Oak Lawn. “Oh well, it was fun.’

Alex Hulbert, an instructor for the coming Cornerstone MMA in Deerfield who finished third with 967, agreed,“ I missed too many spares.”

Michael McKinney, a truck driver for Chicago, finished fourth with a 962 and said, “I fell off the last game. I’m pissed because I should have won it.”

His final game was a 203.

Others will be replaying missed spares and playing “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda,” too.

“I had two good games and two bad games,” said DeWitt, who rolled games of 189, 237, 181 and 267 to go with 108 pins of handicap.

In BTC, the charity event by the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association, handicap is 90 percent of the difference an average is below 220.

The important numbers in BTC, which the Sun-Times helps sponsor, are the $2,872,914.93 raised for charity in its first 57 years from 5,789,515 entries.

All finalists receive a prize from bowling bags to electronics to the top prize of $7,500.

The top five finalists receive cool pins in the finals of the 58th Beat the Champions.<br>Credit: Dale Bowman
The top five finalists receive cool pins in the finals of the 58th Beat the Champions.
Credit: Dale Bowman

NOTES: John Dudzik, a North Riverside retiree, finished fifth and was the final electronics winner. He focused on slowing down and not rushing with games of 177, 234, 193 and 194 to go with 162 pins of handicap for 960. . . . The only scratch bowlers in the finals were Keith Charvat (234), Jeff Klemenswicz (226) and Tommy Sykes (222). Klemenswicz finished seventh, Charvat 11th and Sykes 23rd. . . . Eggleston earned $500 for the prize fund of his league, Lester’s DieHard Strikers at Castaways Bowl. A champion from a 100-percent league earns $500 for his league; 29 of the 32 men’s finalists were from 100-percent leagues. . . . Luke Dusek, who was battling shingles, finished all four games and was 22nd. . . Joe Barrile, who finished 26th, and Klemenswicz were the only men finalists making return appearances.

* * * *

Men's FinalsBeverly Lanes, Arlington HeightsSunday resultsBowler, Center G1-G2-G3-G4-Hdcp--TOTBrian Eggleston, Castaways 247-195-279-203-61--985Richard DeWitt, Palos 189-237-181-267-108--982Alex Hulbert, River Rand 193-236-229-180-129--967Michael McKinney, Hillside 185-245-232-203-97--962John Dudzik, Rolling 177-234-193-194-162--960Steve Sowinski, Classic 174-202-219-181-180--956Jeff Klemenswicz, Lisle 246-279-194-236-0--955Kirk Myers, Stardust 173-156-232-191-201--953Richard Ptack, Beverly 175-206-216191-140--928Melvin Herrell, Skyway 217-199-190-207-104--917Keith Charvat, Palos 222-234-234-224-0--914Robert Scott Jr, Castaways 173-179-213-255-86--906Scott Panozzo, Orland 197-168-236-218-86--903Domingo Rodriguez, AMF Forest 207-214-213-182-75--891Brian Rheaume, Diversey River 161-195-171-146-216--889Russ Stanton III, Oak Forest 242-173-161-236-64--876Tim Thomas, Castaways 201-237-193-176-64--871@Don Kohlndorfer, River Rand 180-186-178-215-111--870@Darrell Johnson, Skyway 156-236-175-224-79--870Wally Burress, Orland 169-148-163-158-230--868Chuck Panozzo, El Mar 196-204-181-201-79--861Luke Dusek, Stardust 190-236-172-247-7--852Tommy Sykes, Four Seasons 219-205-202-225-0--851#Jarod Adair, Rolling 169-145-145-158-226--843#James Chavers, Lakewood 173-200-147-151-172--843Joe Barrile, Mardi Gras 184-216-205-173-64--842Mark Lapinski, AMF Forest 203-214-158-214-50--839Noah O'Daniel, Oak Forest 185-160-193-214-75--827Ryan Kortge, Peotone 173-185-168-201-90--817Wally Czwodzinski, Palinfield 191-214-166-163-79--813Rufus Coleman, Skyway 154-187-162-143-158--804Scott Morris, Stardust 169-179-159-225-28--760@tied for 18th#tied for 24thPRIZES: 1st: $7,500; 2nd: 55-inch LED Smart HDTV;3rd: 43-inch Smart HDTV; 4th: 32-inch Smart HDTV;5th: 28-inch LED HDTV; 6th-13th: Hammer Diesel Torque ball &Hammer two-ball tote bag; 14th-21st: Hammer Diesel Torque ball;22nd-32nd: KR StrikeForce 2-ball roller bowling bagWOMEN'S FINALS: 2 p.m. March 10, Liberty Lanes, Carpentersville