Pluhowsky takes home Music City Classic title to conclude week in Smyrna

SMYRNA, Tenn. -  In a stepladder full of Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour veterans, Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, won the PWBA Music City Classic at Smyrna Bowling Center in Smyrna, Tennessee, bringing a thrilling conclusion to the PWBA Classic Series – Nashville.

Pluhowsky was the No. 1 seed in the stepladder finals after ending match play with a 6,188 total, including 540 bonus pins for her 17 wins and two ties. She faced off against Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas, in the title match.

Johnson started off the match with two opens to fall behind early as Pluhowsky kept things clean and began to pull away even as Johnson started to strike later in the match. Johnson left a 3-10 baby split in the ninth frame and failed to convert, leaving Pluhowsky the opportunity to end the match with a strike.

Slight disaster struck for Pluhowsky however, leaving a split of her own and bringing silence in the building with her own failed conversion and needing any mark in the 10th frame to clinch the title.

Pluhowsky did what she has done her entire career and threw a great shot that went a touch high in the pocket, leaving a 6 pin. She quickly picked it up and threw a strike in the fill ball to end at 204 and leave Smyrna with her second title of the season. fourth PWBA title overall and the $12,000 top prize. Johnson struck all three times in the final frame and ended with 193. She earned $6,000 for the runner-up finish.

For the first time in her career, Pluhowsky has multiple wins in a season and continues to show that she is always someone to watch for week in and week out on the PWBA Tour.

“I’ve bowled pretty good here before and I'm just trying to ride the momentum of the season, it feels great to have a multi-win season,” said Pluhowsky.

The stepladder finals began with Missy Parkin of San Clemente, California and Bryanna Coté of Tucson, Arizona. Both competitors went strike for strike with each other, but two straight opens of Parkin in the seventh and eighth sunk her chances, as Coté went nine straight strikes. Coté ended up winning 279-223, leaving Parkin with a fifth-place finish and $2,600.

Waiting for Coté was Singapore’s Cherie Tan, who already had a first-place and runner-up finish during the Classic Series and was looking for her second straight win.

Tan started off hot with four strikes in the first six frames and Coté opening in the second frame, but Coté started to claw back with three straight strikes in frames four through six. A light hit in the pocket for Coté left a 2-5 combo, which she converted, but Tan continued to strike and eventually lock up the win with a 236 to move on to the semifinals. Coté ended with 204 and bowed out with a fourth-place finish, earning $3,000.

The semifinals pitted Tan and Johnson against each other, and had the feeling of being a high-scoring match before they started bowling with how well both competitors had been doing prior to the stepladder.

Johnson quickly pulled ahead with seven straight strikes after a spare in the first frame, while Tan could not carry the corner pins and missed two single pin spares early to fall behind. Tan never had an opportunity to catch Johnson, even after ending with the final five strikes for 214. Johnson had already locked up the match by the eighth frame and finished with 257, leaving Tan with her lowest finish of the week in third place and earning $4,000, and Johnson moving on to the title match against Pluhowsky.

Tan ended up bowling 76 total games for the week, which included 24 qualifying games, 48 match play games, and four games in the stepladder finals.

The win was extra sweet for Pluhowsky, as her family was there to see her take home the title.

“My youngest daughter and step-son have never seen me win so it was special to have them here along with my mom and oldest daughter, it’s nice to share the success with them,” said Pluhowsky.

The PWBA heads to Clarksville, Indiana, for the Southern Indiana Open starting June 6 with a pre-tournament qualifier.