June 21, 2022Updated: June 22, 2022 8:24 a.m.
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Erin McCarthy is shown holding the championship trophy after winning the U.S. Women’s Open at Kingpin’s Alley on Tuesday, June, 21, 2022.
Erin McCarthy during a commercial break in the finals at the U.S. Women’s Open on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
Top-seed Danielle McEwan in the finals of the U.S. Women’s Open on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
South Glens Falls — On Monday, Erin McCarthy needed two strikes in the 10th frame of the 56th and final qualifying game to secure the fifth and final spot for Tuesday’s stepladder championship format in the finals of the U.S. Women’s Open, a task she accomplished when she struck out in the frame.
After winning three matches to earn a spot in the finals against top-seed Danielle McEwan, the pressure was off McCarthy as she picked up the ball for the 10th with victory already in hand, the first major for the Elkhorn, Nebraska native as she won her fourth and final match of the night by beating McEwan 212-172 at Kingpin’s Alley on Tuesday.
The win for McCarthy earned her a prize of $60,000 and is her second Professional Women’s Bowlers Association title, the first being the 2018 Louisville Open.
“Almost numb, I don’t know how to explain it, I don’t think it is going to set in for a really long time,” McCarthy said. “To get to the show, and the 10th frame, just amazing.”
McCarthy, who finished with six strikes in her 235-206 semifinal win over Jordan Richard, opened the finals with three strikes to take an 18-pin lead over McEwan and never looked back.
“Fifty-six games plus these are grueling,” McCarthy said. “You’ve got bad games and really good games. The highs and lows of the tournament, it is beyond stressful. To make it here to the top, this is the greatest moment of my life. This is going to be something that I never, ever forget.”
Following an open in the 4th, McCarthy rolled strikes in the 5th and 6th frames to take a commanding 131-94 lead before converting spares in the 7th and 8th and adding a strike in the 9th.
“I was just trying to focus on one shot at a time,” McCarthy said. “I told myself going into this that I was going to take my time because I’m normally a pretty quick bowler. I forced myself to stay slow, focus on my footwork and hopefully the shot-making was going to follow that. I didn’t pay attention to what my opponents were doing, that is the difference today that allowed me to win.”
After falling behind early, McEwan struggled in the middle frames with back-to-back opens in the fourth and fifth.
“That is the hardest part of being the number one seed, you don’t really have a feel of what they (the lanes) are doing,” McEwan said. “I changed balls like five times, just trying to see what the lanes were doing, tried to make adjustments. A lot of disappointment right now, I’m sure tomorrow I’ll feel differently.”
McCarthy made a ball change in her second match of the night, a heart-pounding 220-218 win over Shannon O’Keefe to advance to the semifinals.
O’Keefe needed two strikes and eight pins in the 10th to knock McCarthy out of the tournament and delivered the pair of strikes but her final ball of the night turned into a disastrous 4-7-6-9-10 pin leave, giving McCarthy the win.
“I was looking at the ground, I thought I was done,” McCarthy said. “I try not to look at any of my opponent’s shots. When I heard it hit the pins, I had to look up and I couldn’t believe it. You are not given that gift very often. It was very unfortunate for her and very fortunate for me.”
McCarthy opened the night with a first-round 212-178 win over Shayna Ng to begin her march to the title.
Sean Martin, a local freelance writer, is a frequent contributor to the Times Union.