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Scroggins moves up from fifth seeding to PBA victory

He first beats Pete Weber, then rides to title in event named after Dick Weber.

January 21, 2008|Jaime Cardenas | Times Staff Writer

Physically Mike Scroggins was in Fountain Valley. Emotionally he was back in 2004 in Indianapolis.

Back then Scroggins was a week removed from his second Pro Bowlers Assn. tour title when the legendary Dick Weber walked up to him with a gift. In Weber's hands were newspaper clippings of Scroggins' win in Belleville, Ill., the week before.

Weber, who died a year later, had cut them for Scroggins.

"He said, 'Mike, put this away in your scrapbook. Save them for your grandkids who'll always want to read about you,' " Scroggins recounted.

An emotional Scroggins claimed his fourth PBA title Sunday by winning the tournament that's named after Weber, the Motel 6 Dick Weber Open in Fountain Valley. It's Scroggins' first title since 2005.

Scroggins, 43, began to tear up after accepting the tournament's trophy and winnings as he told the story of Weber to a packed house at the Fountain Bowl.

Later in the media room, Scroggins added of Weber: "He was such a nice guy. And to do that, a legend, to come up and give me the press clippings . . . I mean, he actually cut them out for me. . . . It was a special moment. I'll never forget it."

The road to victory wasn't easy for Scroggins, a left-hander who became only the second bowler seeded fifth to win a stepladder final over the last seven seasons. Tommy Jones also accomplished the feat in 2005 at the Dydo Cup in Japan.

The Amarillo, Texas, resident won four consecutive matches in a span of an hour and a half.

No match was more difficult than the first one, which was against Pete Weber, the son of Dick Weber. Pete Weber was making his first finals appearance in the three years since the tournament has been named after his father.

Pete Weber, the bowler for whom the crowd was most rooting, was up on Scroggins heading into the last frame. But the Hall of Fame bowler had to pick up a split on that frame and left the door open for Scroggins to come back and advance with two strikes.

"I knew bowling Pete Weber in the first match was going to be a tough match," Scroggins said. "I was just fortunate to double in the 10th to beat Pete. After that, I really relaxed and made some really good shots."

After getting past Weber, 204-197, Scroggins beat Tommy Delutz Jr., 269-224, and Jack Jurek, 254-199.

That set up a matchup against top-seeded Chris Barnes in the final.

Scroggins, who came into the tournament with an eight-match losing streak in TV appearances, looked nervous early, but ended up beating Barnes easily, 226-171. Scroggins took home a check for $25,000. Barnes won $13,000.

The match turned in the sixth frame when Barnes was bitten by a 4-6 split that drew a stunned reaction from the crowd. One person yelled out, "Ouch." Barnes was able to knock down only one of the pins.

Things didn't get much better for Barnes in the seventh frame as he again left an open frame.

"You know, I liked both of those shots; they [the pins] were just hard today. They were hard all week," Barnes said. "Mike bowled great. He took advantage of his opportunities early, survived that first game against Pete and then just steamrolled us all after that."

The PBA tour heads to Las Vegas for two events this week.

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jaime.cardenas@latimes.com

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