The 46th running of the Pennsylvania State Dart Tournament took place at the beginning of 2014. There were three weekends of qualifying, and action concluded with the Finals on Saturday, February 22nd.
I made my way to the finals. The tournament is held at the Lakeside Ballroom in Barnesville, which is a rather grand location. A dozen dartboards does not begin to make a dent in the space available. The place is large enough that they parked a tractor in the hall, and it took up so little of the space that you wouldn't even notice it.
The kitchen was open from the start of the day, and Miller Lite drafts were on special. As you walked in the scorekeeper's table greeted you. On display were the plaques and trophies that would be awarded during the day. They had set up a wall with photos and articles about past tournaments. The members of the all the championship dart teams and members of the Wall of Fame were acknowledged.
The day started with a live performance of the National Anthem. Then John Petrick took the mic and encouraged a round of appreciation for the Veterans in the room. At this point the room was at attention, and John proceeded with the George Haines Memorial Wall of Fame Awards.
Inducted in 2014 were John Kuczynski, Bob Kisty Sr., Savitsky's Edge, and Dorko's Cafe.
At that point, darts began to fly.
Twenty-four teams took part in the action. With many of the teams having already suffered a loss on their qualifying day, some were sent home after their very first game of the day. Others managed to advance, only to find the competition stiffen every step of the way through the brackets.
At one point I wandered over to the far dartboard where the team from South Philly was shooting the third game of their match against Haganey's Aces II. A fellow from Savistsky's Edge had been watching and as South Philly finished throwing the top of the 8th inning, he let me know that they had built a 20 point lead.
Joe Hoffman led off the bottom of the inning with a 5, followed by Tommy Hill's 8. Joe Haganey finished with a 7, and the game was suddenly tied going into the ninth inning.
Mark Francks led off the ninth with a 5, followed by John Amen's 6, and Jim Newman's 5 giving South Philly a solid 16 for the inning. In the bottom of the ninth Joe Hoffman led off with a 6, followed by Tommy Hill's 7. That left Joe Haganey shooting for a 3 to tie/4 to win. His first dart appeared to have landed for a single. The second dart waved into the blue, and I told my wife "He's going to throw this dart, and people are going to yell".
Joe walked up to the board, and realized that neither of the darts were in the inning. He needed three points to TIE, and had one dart to do it. Nothing less than perfection would keep his team in the tournament, and with the way the darts were laying most people watching the game didn't realize that.
So, it may have looked like he went greedy and for the win when he aimed at the triple. And, it may have seemed like he nailed it to take the match, but really it just bought a chance to fight another inning. The game was tied at 138.
In the tenth inning Haganey's Aces II put up a 20. Tommy Hill finished the game with a run of 8 - 7 - 8. And it turned out to be too much for the South Philly team. Haganey's Aces II wins in extra innings of the third game of the match to advance.
That was just ONE of the matches that went back and forth and ended dramatically.
Folks were enjoying the action, including these two darting legends, Mr. Lee Bredbenner and his State Title partner Jerry Umberger.
When things boiled down to the end, the Raven's Nest was battling the King Fish Hotel for the top spot. I didn't get to see all of the scores from the match, but I know at some point Jason Kroh put up a 60 for the King Fish Hotel. But in the end, the Raven's Nest came out on top and won the State Dart Title.
The following is a list of how teams finished in the tournament. For a picture of the team, simply click on the team name.
- Raven’s Nest - Quakertown
- King Fish Hotel -Pottsville
- Color Of Money - Jim Thorpe
- Haganey’s Aces II - Freeland
- VIP I - Jim Thorpe
- Blue Ridge Rod & Gun Club - Walnutport
- South Philly - Philadelphia
- Legion Post 74 - Mahoney City
- Billy’s Bar - Dallas
- Boe’s Bar - Pottsville
- Flying Aces - Rockport
- BVFHA - Bethlehem
- B&Z Pizza - Warrior Run
- Batters Box - Summit Hill
- Savitsky’s Edge - Nanticoke
- E&B Construction - Hazleton
- Home Court - Hazleton
- Pro Darts - Allentown
- Etters VFW - Etters
- Heights Rod & Gun Club - Hazleton
- Tailfeathers - Shippensburg
- Northend Fire Co. - Pine Grove
- Crossroads Inn - Mountain Top
- Silverbullet Saloon - Nescopeck
Here's where each of the top 24 teams hail from . . .
The hot hands for the tourney belonged to Brian Blankenhorn and Kenny Johnson who both put up 61 games.
The High Team Game was 157, shot by the King Fish Hotel.
Results from past years: