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      June 23, 2002:

-Barrette Wins Nail Biter At Empire State PWBA Classic

06/23/2002 - PWBA
      LATHAM, N.Y. - It was only fitting that a mighty thunderstorm was booming outside of Bowlers Club in Latham. N.Y. during the live, televised finals, because inside Leanne Barrette was certainly creating some boomers of her own. It came down to the final frame, but Leanne "Boomer" Barrette, as her tour mates have nicknamed her, delivered a rumbling clutch strike to capture by one pin, the 2002 Professional Women's Bowling Association's Empire State Classic, Sunday afternoon, over Wendy Macpherson, 237-236.

      "I had a great shot on the TV pair," said Barrette of Pleasanton, Calif., a two-time Player of the Year, "But Wendy is such a great player you have to keep striking against her."

      On a weekend when ESPN was saluting women athletes, the live championship match was an outstanding display of women athletes performing under pressure. Both savvy veterans began the match with a strike and spare, but Macpherson took off on a tear of four straight strikes while Barrette shot a few spares and it looked like Macpherson, of Henderson, Nev. was on her way to yet another title. But Barrette, a 17-year tour veteran, started pounding the pocket in the sixth frame to begin her own string of strikes and slowly worked her way closer to Macpherson.

      In the seventh frame, the crowd at Bowlers Club was stunned when Macpherson's ball slammed into the pocket and left a stone eight-pin standing, ending her string at a four-bagger. Barrette kept up the steady stream of clutch strikes right up to the tenth frame. Macpherson took the stage first and once again, a loud groan came from the audience as her solid pocket shot resulted in leaving a ten pin for her first ball in the tenth. She spared and finished a gorgeous-looking game with an eight for a 236. All she could do was watch and wait as Barrette stepped up for her tenth frame.

      Barrette spent a few extra seconds exhaling and digging her feet into the approach, and all the silent gallery could hear were the rumblings of thunder outside. Barrete's wide-hooking ball found its way perfectly into the pocket for a crashing strike and the audience erupted. Barrette's second shot left a nine count and after she made the spare to seal her one-pin victory, and her 24th title, the fans let out a thunderous cheer of their own.

      In the first match, a three-player shootout, Michelle Feldman, Skaneateles, N.Y., and Kim Terrell, Antioch, Calif., both started with the first four solid strikes, while Macpherson seemed to be hunting for a shot. Feldman looked to be unstoppable as she extended her string to six. In the 7th frame disaster hit Feldman when her shot went high and she left a 3-6-10 and failed to convert the ten. Meanwhile, Macpherson quietly found her way and began her own run of strikes in the 7th frame.

      Feldman continued to have the upper hand until the 10th frame when she left a 2-4-8-10 split, opening in the final frame to finish with a 219. Macpherson stepped up in the 10th still needing a strike and finished her final six frames with all strikes to overtake both her opponents and the chance to face Nable.

      "Well, no one ever likes to finish second," said a drained Macpherson, who put together a 712 set for her three games, "Am I happy I got through the first match? Absolutely. Am I surprised? Absolutely."

      Maxine Nable, Australia, making just her third television PWBA appearance, started the match with three perfect strikes and looking like a relaxed veteran rather than a young up and comer.

      She pounded the pocket but came up a little short as Macpherson strung four in a row mid-game to eliminate Nable, 241-216.

      Sunday's championship round was the fourth of five consecutive live ESPN telecasts. ESPN2 is scheduled to re-air the event on Monday, June 24th at 8:00 p.m. (eastern).

      Next week the tour moves to Liverpool, N.Y. for the Greater Syracuse Classic, June 25th - June 30th. This is the final tournament for the current swing as the tour takes a brief hiatus. The finals for the Greater Syracuse Classic will be broadcast live on ESPN on Sunday, June 30th at 4:30 PM eastern.

      Championship-round results and their scores, earnings and playoff results in the Professional Women's Bowling Association's $60,000 Empire State Classic;

1. Leanne Barrette, Pleasanton, Calif. 237 -1 game- $10,000
2. Wendy Macpherson, Henderson, Nev. 712 -3 games- $5,500
3. Maxine Nable, Australia, 216 -1 game- $3,800
4. Michelle Feldman, Skaneateles, N.Y., 219 -1 game- $3,000
5. Kim Terrell, Antioch, Calif 214 -1 game- $2,500

Playoff Results: Macpherson def. Feldman and Terrell 235-219-214; Macpherson def. Nable 241-216; Championship match: Barrette def. Macpherson 237-236.

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