HAMMOND | Pat Johnson was leading the pack in Class A with one game left in the Times/Pepsi Classic semifinals Sunday at Olympia Lanes.
Ari Wilson was 17 pins back with Mike Kozy six pins behind him and Sammy Krucek two pins behind Kozy. The quartet held a parade of strikes over those final 13 throws and Wilson was the last one standing, posting a 268 to Kozy's 265.
Wilson earned the top spot in the finals with a total pinfall of 1,595.
"I just wanted to keep throwing good shots because in this game, you never know what's going to happen," Wilson said. "I just want to come in next weekend and make good shots. You can't be mad if you make good shots."
Kozy finished second with 1,585. Krucek (3rd, 1,577) and Johnson (4th, 1,547) also earned byes in match play next week.
"I couldn't strike and everybody else got lined up way quicker than I did," Johnson said of his 203 last game. "I (qualified for semifinals) fourth and I'm going to stay fourth."
Wilson, a two-handed bowler, is coming off a stretch at the National Bowling Association tournament in Detroit where he bowled three 300 games and an 815 series.
"I had a really good weekend," he said. "I hope it keeps going. I just feel really blessed and I love bowling right now."
Kozy, last year's Class A winner, admitted he had a chip on his shoulder.
"They told me I belong in the senior division, but I said 'As long as I can keep up with you kids I'm staying right where I'm at,'" Kozy said. "They all could be my sons. I've probably got 25 years on all of them."
Wayne Dean, the top qualifier in Class A, lost a roll-off to John Lubash for the eighth and last spot in the finals.
Crowds gathered late as 2012 Class A champion Chuck Podkul neared a perfect game. Podkul came one strike short for the 300, but his 297 was good enough to leapfrog four bowlers and secure the seventh seed.
Other Class A qualifiers were Bob Kammer Jr. and Shaun Tasker-Lewis. Top seeds in the other classes include Tyrus Bester in Class B, Adam Keith in Class C, Erleen Banks in WA, Maritza Ramos in WB, Hank Duncan in the top senior division and Domingo Rodriguez in SB.
Match play begins at 1 p.m. June 8 to decide who will win the eagle trophies.