Michael Anderson, Staten Island Advance
Rob Vinci has won the Staten Island Singles Classic three times, but until this year, nobody else had won it more than once.
That was going to change on Saturday when former champions Ryan Friend and Joe Coniglio advanced to the 36th annual tourney's championship match at Rab's Country Lanes.
And aided by some tough splits, it was Friend who recorded the 228-216 win.
"It feels great to get the second one out of the way. I had a chance to go back-to-back a couple of years ago and I didn't and I was a little disappointed about it," said the 2008 champ. "This was another chance to get it. I really had to work this time. This was probably the hardest I had to work to get the title and it just feels great."
In the championship match, Coniglio started hot with five strikes in a row. However, the 2011 champ's luck changed in the sixth when he failed to pick up a split and opened.
Then after a strike in the seventh, Coniglio registered back-to-back split and open in the eighth and ninth frames.
"When he opened the first time I felt like, 'all right, now I'm back into it and let me throw a double.' And I didn't," said the 24-year-old Friend. "Then he opened again and I said, 'I have to throw the double now. I can't let this go by twice.' And I did. I made the right move and I made it happen and it really paid off."
Friend, the four-time Advance All Star from Tottenville HS, also caught a break in the semifinals when Rob Rosas missed a one-pin spare in the 10th and Friend won by striking on his first attempt in the last frame.
"Once Rosas opened in the 10th, I just wanted to throw one in the final match," said the New Springville resident. "I knew I was bowling Joe. I saw what happened in his match. I knew he was getting 16 pins (handicap) so I was still confident. You can't go in not confident or else you're a loser already.
"He started off front five and really put me on my heels. But I stayed with it, made the shots and came out the winner," added the righty.
36th annual S.I. Singles Classic
1. Ryan Friend $1,200; 2. Joe Coniglio $600; 3. Rob Rosas $500; 4. Alan Liu $400; 5. Keith Wunderlich $260; 6. Tom DiNardo $240; 7. Shawn Ortiz $220; 8. Justin Carroll $220; 9. Gary Ricci $145; 10. Dan Dunleavy $140; 11. Joey Weisenstein $135; 12. Mike Valanzano $130; 13. Melissa Kammerer $110; 14. Steve Chiarella $105; 15. Steve Ennis $100; 16. Angelo Fallacaro $95; 17. Tim McAuliffe Jr. $90; 18. John Drabaczyk $85; 19. Felix Romero $80; 20. Sean McAuliffe $75.