The first day of qualifying at the Baltimore stop of the Brunswick World Team Challenge bowling tour took on a somber tone for one of the 75 teams at Country Club Lanes.
The Alley Masters, a team that includes players from Baltimore, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina, watched as their leading bowler suffered an apparent heart attack early in the first game.
Earl Shelton, of Spartansburg, S.C., was taken to Franklin Square Hospital Center. He was admitted to the hospital's critical care unit.
"I gave him some Tums because he said he felt hot and uncomfortable," said Judy Taylor, a firefighter whose son, Greg, bowled on Shelton's team. "The next thing I knew, he was slumped over in his chair, and we had to get him to the ground."
The Alley Masters had just formed Friday night when the five members met for the first time at team captain James Suttles' house. Suttles put the team together by calling the bowlers, but none of the other four players knew each other.
The team, which includes three Professional Bowlers Association members, continued bowling yesterday when Greg Taylor spotted an acquaintance of his at the lanes. Ken Dixon bowled two frames while Suttles' brother, Ed, drove back to his house to pick up his bowling balls.
The Alley Masters were in 35th place halfway through yesterday's qualifying, which continued until midnight. The team visited Shelton between sessions.
The top 10 open division (men, women or mixed gender teams) and women's division teams return to Country Club Lanes today for a $3,200 winners purse and a free trip to Reno, Nev., for the Grand Championship in July.
The women's finals begin at 2 p.m., the open division finals are set for 4:30 p.m.
Open division leaders after three of six qualifying games:
Ebonite, Baltimore, 3,330; Bowlers Alley Pro Shop, Joppa, 3,062; High Roller, Philadelphia, 3,043; New England, B.A., Middletown, Conn., 3,017; Cleaning Services of America, Milford, Conn., 2,996; Silver Dollar Classic, Fulton, N.Y., 2,991; Columbia Cuda C's, Katonah, N.Y., 2,970; Personal Threads, Clark, N.J., 2,954; Strike Force, Gaithersburg, 2,923; Sliders, Jessup, 2,909.