By Joe D’Amodio | firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mickey Endress owned the 44th Staten Island Singles Classic from start to finish in 2022.
The right-handed Endress, who took over the qualifying lead during the opening weekend and held onto the top spot throughout the qualifiers, slipped past southpaw Jason Wichnovitz, 235-224, in the title game of the 24-person finals Saturday at Rab’s Country Lanes.
It was Endress’ first S.I. Singles Classic crown.
“It felt amazing to finally win,,” said Endress, 36, a perennial finalist in this event and now a winner. “I knew coming in based on qualifying I had a chance. I’ve won the (Staten Island Masters) and have been eyeballing this title for awhile. Jimmy’s (Elliott’s New Year’s Singles Classic crown) will be next.”
Endress was most proud of the fact, he’d won in front his mother, Peggy Lee Endress, a former Advance bowling writer, who is battling lung cancer.
“It was really important to win for her,” said Endress, a New Dorp resident, who needed to double in three of his four matches Saturday to pull out wins. “I made the finals of the New Year Singles Classic (this year) but she couldn’t attend because of the pandemic.”
In Wichnovitz, Endress, who coaches the boys’ bowling team at Port Richmond High School, beat his former player whom he coached at Tottenville HS in the mid 2010s. Endress was an assistant under longtime former Pirate coach Ralph Mustillo.
“I know how good he is and he even got better in college,” said Endress. “Bowling him in the final match was kind of cool.”
After receiving a first-round bye, Endress disposed of Tom Magrone in the second round, Sean McAuliffe in the quarters and No. 24 seed Josh Warner — who made a gallant run through the finals — in the semifinals.
But it was his 257-220 win over McAuliffe that got him revved up and sent him on his way.
“Sean and I have had a lot of great matches through the years and the results have gone both ways,” said Endress. “Today it went my way.”
In the title match, Endress opened with a three-bagger and held a 95-77 lead after the fourth frame. That’s when Wichnovitz, the tourney’s No. 2 seed, strung four strikes together to take the lead.
But Endress struck out in the ninth and 10th frames to finish with a 235, forcing his opponent to strike out in the 10th frame.
However, on his first ball in the 10th, Wichnovitz left a stone 7-pin, giving Endress the crown, $1,500 top prize and the Lefty Gee Memorial trophy.
“That last match wasn’t physically my best,” said Wichnovitz, who currently bowls for William Paterson University. “The one in the ninth frame (the 3-pin stood up after four straight strikes) really cost me. I knew I needed that to have any sort of cushion going into the 10-frame.”
NOTES: Original tournament director Donnie Walters was at his son’s home in Cincinnati recovering from a recent illness and couldn’t make the finals … En route to the title game, Wichnovitz beat Raychon Brown, Peter LaBella and Karalyn Buono, who bowled terrific in the finals … Past tourney winners Steve Chiarella (1991), Jeff Scire (1995, 2018 and 2019), Sean McAuliffe (2007), Michelle Dash (2015) and Anthony Arias (2021) lost on Saturday … Six-time New Year Singles Classic champ George Cretella, who has never won this event, was ousted in the quarters by Warner … Alternate Joe Scianna replaced Joe Lampariello in the Top 24 on Saturday. … The total prize payout was $6,520, according to tournament director Michael Ruffe.
Final standings with prize money
1. Mickey Endress $1,500
2. Jason Wichnovitz $800
3. Karalyn Buono $550
4. Josh Warner $550
5. Sal Fabozzi $260
6. Peter LaBella $260
7. George Cretella $260
8. Sean McAuliffe $260
9. Melissa Kammerer $160
10. Joe Scianna $160
11. Steve Chiarella $160
12. Raychon Brown $160
13. Steve Miglino $160
14. CJ Cariffe $160
15. Jeff Scire $160
16. Tom Magrone $100
17. Tom Hollywood Sr. $100
18. Joey Weisenstein $100
19. Tim McAuliffe $100
20. Fabiana Iannuzzi $100
21. Michelle Dash $100
22. Anthony Arias $100
23. Nicholas Hollywood $100
24. Chris Riordan $100
Handicaps in parenthesis in 1st and 2nd second rounds carried throughout
Buono (+ 1) def. Hollywood Sr. (+ 2), 194-176
Scianna def. Weisenstein, 243-218
LaBella def. T. McAuliffe, 227-200
Brown (+4) def. Iannuzzi (+ 22), 268-219
Magrone def. Dash (+24), 201-176
S. McAuliffe def. Arias, 245-159
Warner (+12) def. Hollywood (+2), 232-230
Miglino def. Riordan (+4), 214-175
Buono def. Kammerer (+8), 226-152
Fabozzi (+10) def. Scianna, 197-194
LaBella ties Chiarella (+1), 192-192 before LaBella advances following one-game roll-off
Wichnovitz def. Brown, 224-200
Endress def. Magrone, 205 to 170
S. McAuliffe def. Scire, 257-162
Warner def. Cariffe (+15), 200-185
Cretella def. Miglino, 245-151
Buono def. Fabozzi, 227-217
Wichnovitz def. LaBella, 248 to 227
Endress def. S. McAuliffe, 257 to 220
Warner def. Cretella 225-213
Wichnovitz def. Buono, 217-195
Mickey Endress def. Warner, 230-181
Endress def. Wichnovitz, 235-224