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Ben Betchkal obviously is determined to win another Racine County Bowling Classic men’s division championship.

The 29-year-old Kenosha native averaged 253 in winning all eight of his games Wednesday night in the first half of the men’s finals. The tournament is being held at the Old Settler’s Bowling Center in Union Grove.

Betchkal, who opened with a 279 and also had a 278 in his sixth game, had a total pinfall of 2,266 (which included 240 bonus pins) to take an 180-pin lead over Cotie Holbek. He will try to make it two straight in this tournament when it concludes Saturday night with the second half of the men’s finals.

What was the key to his performance? Betchkal mentioned the Storm Rocket Ship Ball he selected as one reason for his success.

“I was switching between a couple of balls,” he said. “And then, on a whim, I grabbed a ball I didn’t think I would need down here and didn’t make a ball change all night. It came off my hand real clean.”

Betchkal’s performance was especially impressive considering the recent success of Holbek, who had a total pinfall of 2,102 in qualifying for the tournament on May 7.

Following Betchkal and Holbek in the top six were Richard Pansch (2,048), Scott Salinas (2,035), Dustin Vasey (1,977) and Brett Pinnecker (1,961). Vasey bowled a 300 in his seventh game.

With that lead, how confident is Betchkal going into Saturday night?

“I’ve just got to make sure I stay in the moment, take a shot at a time and just make the best shot I can,” said Betchkal, who is inventory management coordinator for Froedtert South-St. Catherine’s Hospital in Kenosha.

The final four at the end of the match Saturday night advance to a stepladder to determine a champion.

The tournament continues Thursday with the final round of the women’s division.

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