By Joe D’Amodio | firstname.lastname@example.org
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It pained Donnie Walters to have to cancel what would have been the 43rd annual Staten Island Singles Classic last year because of the pandemic.
For 42 years prior to that, the event was a staple in the local bowling community and one that always went off without a hitch.
But, this year, with the news surrounding the pandemic getting better, the 73-year-old Walters decided to proceed with the event.
“I couldn’t miss it two years in a row and I think the bowlers want to see it back,” said Walters.
Qualifying in the Classic will take place at Rab’s Country Lanes on April 3, April 10-11 and April 17 at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. each day for a total of 12 qualifiers. The top 24 finals will be held April 24 at 2:30 p.m.
Entry fee is $60. Those keglers who compete in the first squad will receive a second entry for the cost of lineage ($15) only.
With lanes at a premium because of the pandemic, spots in the first qualifier are sure to go fast.
“I made some changes. I’m not guaranteeing the prize fund,” explained Walters. “It will be based on entries.”
With his tournament sidekick, John Eadicicco, now living in Florida, Walters will rely on help from Eric Capizzi, Garett Gersh and Mike Giovinazzo.
“Eric is associated with Country Lanes and Garett is associated with Showplace so I have representatives from both Island houses helping me out,” said Walters.
Country proprietor Frank Wilkinson has also “been a big asset” to Walters in helping get this year’s event off the ground.
Walters said competitors in the tournament will have to follow the pandemic protocols of Country Lanes at the time of the tourney.
“It’s house rules,” said Walters. “The state and city laws are changing all the time when it comes to the pandemic. Right now, I believe the bowlers would have to wear masks on the lanes.”
Red-hot Jeff Scire is the two-time defending champ, winning in 2018 and 2019.