EULESS, Texas - Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, had a few close calls during Monday's match play at the United States Bowling Congress Queens, but the Hall of Famer made enough clutch shots to grab the top seed for the stepladder finals.
In the final bracket match, Dorin-Ballard edged Stefanie Nation of Grand Prairie, Texas, 596-592, at AMF Euless Lanes in the match that determined the top two seeds for the finals.
Dorin-Ballard now will go after her second career Queens title in Tuesday's finals, which will be held at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas. The finals will be televised live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Eastern.
"It feels like forever," said Dorin-Ballard, who won the 2001 Queens but hasn't made the Queens TV finals since then. "A couple of matches I fell a little behind on the transition, but tried to make shots and put pressure on my opponents, and came through every now and then when I needed to."
After a close victory over Josie Earnest of Nashville, Tenn., to start Monday's match play, Dorin-Ballard sent defending champion Missy Parkin of Lake Forest, Calif., to the elimination bracket with a 662-572 victory, before beating Nation.
Nation, left, who will make her first Queens TV appearance, cruised through her first two matches on Monday. She defeated Lisa Noor of Mound, Minn., 707-598, and Diandra Asbaty of Chicago, 697-550.
"I was feeling in the zone," Nation said of her early matches. "Pretty cool stuff. I've made the TV show, so that's one step. Tomorrow, we'll just do what we've got to do."
In a format change for 2012, the last four players in the elimination bracket bowled a three-game match to determine the final three spots for the TV show. Asbaty fired a 706 series to lead the group and earn the third seed, while Liz Johnson (645) of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Josie Earnest (636) of Nashville, Tenn., took the final two spots. Parkin (599) had the low total of the four and was eliminated.
Earnest, right, a 2012 Team USA member competing in her first Queens tournament, faced Hall of Famers Kim Terrell-Kearney, Leanne Hulsenberg, Dorin-Ballard, and top seed Kelly Kulick en route to making the TV show. Only Dorin-Ballard slowed her down, knocking her to the elimination bracket.
"This is a pretty unbelievable experience," Earnest said. "I'm not sure there are many things that can top this ... maybe winning the Queens."
Johnson, left, who won the 2009 Queens and has three other top-five finishes in the tournament, lost her first match on Sunday, then had to win six matches in the elimination bracket just to reach the final four. She averaged an amazing 701 for the six series.
"I had some unbelievably tough matches," said Johnson, who had to get past Elysia Current, Shannon O'Keefe and Kulick in her first three matches in the elimination bracket. "It was a long road, but I got here and it's exciting."
Asbaty, right, who lost to Kulick in the title match of 2007 Queens, was knocked to the elimination bracket by Nation. But in the last group of the day, she started with games of 235 and 266 to wrap up the No. 3 seed in the finals.
"I'm seeking my first major title, so that's special to even have the opportunity to be in this position and have a chance at it," Asbaty said.
The 2012 Queens started with 131 players, and after 15 games of qualifying the field was trimmed to the top 48 for the double-elimination match-play bracket.
For more information and full results from the USBC Queens, visit BOWL.com/Queens.
2012 USBC QUEENS
AMF Euless Lanes in Euless, Texas
MONDAY'S MATCH-PLAY RESULTS
Double elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
(Name, hometown followed by three-game pinfall total)
(3) Stefanie Nation, Grand Prairie, Texas, def. (27) Lisa Noor, Mound, Minn., 707-598
(7) Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, def. (15) Katherine Lanehart, Eagle River, Alaska, 676-561
(8) Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, def. (16) Josie Earnest, Nashville, Tenn., 592-589
(5) Missy Parkin, Lake Forest, Calif., def. (29) Olivia Sandham, Wichita, Kan., 666-601
Nation def. Asbaty, 697-550
Dorin-Ballard def. Parkin, 662-572
Dorin-Ballard def. Nation, 596-592
(Dorin-Ballard earns the top seed for TV stepladder finals; Nation is the No. 2 seed)
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,250)
(18) Brittni Hamilton, Webster, N.Y., def. (46) Jacqui Reese, Roseto, Pa., 698-645
(39) Mariana Ayala, Bedford, Texas, def. (22) Tennelle Milligan, Arlington, Texas, 606-595
(10) Leanne Hulsenberg, Roseville, Calif., def. (43) Adrienne Miller, Albuquerque, N.M., 736-527
(36) Shauna Shannon, Albuquerque, N.M., def. (2) Anita Manns, Houston, 670-621
(4) Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., def. (1) Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 718-629
(9) Clara Guerrero, Pflugerville, Texas, def. (38) Karin Ciesiolka, Harker Heights, Texas, 664-476
Megan Kelly, Dayton, Ohio, def. (12) Anne Marie Duggan, Edmond, Okla., 679-574
(13) Wendy Macpherson, Henderson, Nev., def. (47) Emily Maier, Grapevine, Texas, 682-674
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,500)
Hamilton def. Ayala, 637-500
Hulsenberg def. Shannon, 583-555
Johnson def. Guerrero, 687-625
Macpherson def. Kelly, 572-538
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,800)
Macpherson def. Noor, 618-518
Johnson def. Lanehart, 673-533
Sandham def. Hamilton, 619-607
Earnest def. Hulsenberg, 581-558
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,100)
Johnson def. Macpherson, 769-714
Earnest def. Sandham, 681-595
(Four players, total pins; lowest total eliminated, earns $2,500)
Asbaty, 706; Johnson, 645; Earnest, 636; Parkin, 599
At International Training and Research Center, Arlington, Texas
Stepladder finals live on ESPN2 starting at 7 p.m. Eastern
Match 1: Josie Earnest vs. Liz Johnson
Match 2: Diandra Asbaty vs. Match 1 winner
Match 3: Stefanie Nation vs. Match 2 winner
Championship match: Carolyn Dorin-Ballard vs. Match 3 winner