This week's Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship in West Babylon, New York will carry the final "Chris Barnes Challenge" of the season. And, judging from the way things have been going for poor Chris this season, he may be glad for that. He's 2-2 on the season, but the two matches he won were against less-than-stellar amateurs, and the matches he lost were against pretty solid but not spectacularly good players, with the second of those losses, which took place just two days ago, being an unmitigated disaster. But next Saturday, he'll be putting up the $5ooo maximum of his own money to take on what is very possibly a star-in-the-making in young Anthony Pepe.
Pepe (please see video below) is the New York left-hander who qualified first in the recent Brunswick Euro Challenge before losing his single-elimination 3-game match in the Round of 32. This is what Tommy Scherer of the This is Bowling Philosophy recently had to say about Mr. Pepe:
"Pepe is a lefty from Queens in New York. Early 20's, good all around talent. Excellent ability to post up shots and play all parts of the lane (a unique talent amongst lefties). Shy personality, doesn't say much but his game does a lot of talking for him. Bowled many junior events with him in the early part of the decade in the northeast. He has the potential to be a tremendous player, just needs more reps at the higher levels. Already a top-5, top-10 local talent in the highly competitive Long Island/Metro NY area."
It sounds to me like Chris Barnes may have his hands more than full for the second consecutive week and that he'd better go see Fred Borden or Mark Baker for some solid coaching before the match.
By the way, this match will be contested with regular equipment and not with the special plastic balls the players will be restricted to using during the tournament.