Rodriguez goes undefeated to take Joss Tour's Hudson Valley Fall Classic
Skip Maloney
Oct. 2, 2017
Jorge Rodriguez
Jorge Rodriguez
Though he’d been among the top 10 finishers in 14 major events since January of 2016, an event victory had eluded Jorge Rodriguez since he won the season opener of the 2016 Predator Pro Am Tour. Rodriguez changed that at the second stop on the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour’s 2017-2018 season. Rodriguez went undefeated through a field of 59, on hand for the $1,500-added Hudson Valley Fall Classic, hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY on the weekend of September 30-October 1.
 
Rodriguez faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of the event. Following victories over Geovanni Hosang, and Ron Casanzio, Rodriguez gave up only one rack to his next two opponents, shutting out Thomas Haas, and giving up the single rack to Geoff Montgomery. This set Rodriguez up in a winners’ side semifinal against Matt Tetreault. In the meantime, Zion Zvi, who’d just sent Rodriguez’ eventual opponent in the finals, Jeremy Sossei to the loss side, squared off against Lee Van Corteza in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Rodriguez sent Matt Tetreault to the loss side 9-3, as Zvi downed Van Corteza 9-6. Rodriguez claimed the hot seat over Zvi 9-7 and waited for Sossei to complete a five-match, loss-side run that would put him into the finals.
 
Sossei opened his loss-side run with a 9-5 win over Jason Michas, and a 9-3 win over Carmen Lombardo, which set him up to face Tetreault. Van Corteza drew Rhys Chen, who was in the midst of his own six-match, loss-side run that had most recently included wins over Geoff Montgomery 9-5 and Olli Turkulainen 9-7.
 
Van Corteza ended Chen’s run in a double hill match, while Sossei was eliminating Tetreault 9-3. The Sossei/Van Corteza quarterfinal came within a game of going double hill, but Sossei advanced 9-7. The Sossei/Zvi semifinal rematch did go double hill, and when it was over, Sossei had earned himself a shot at Rodriguez in the hot seat.
 
Rodriguez completed his undefeated run with a 9-7 win over Sossei in the finals. The win put Rodriguez at the top of early tour rankings, alongside Nelson Oliveira who had won the season opener in September, but did not compete in Nanuet.
 
A $500-added, 19-entrant Second Chance event was won by Rob Pole, who defeated Mike Salerno in the finals. Scott Haas finished third, ahead of Jim Kearney. Brian Hunter and Ron Plontkowski finished in the tie for fifth.
 
The next stop on the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of October 14-15, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Sharpshooter’s Billiards and Sports Pub in Amsterdam, NY. A week later (October 21-22), at the same location, the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour will hold its second annual Juniors Tournament, featuring separate divisional events for 18-and-under and 12-and-under competitors. The 12-and-under group will play on 7-foot Diamond tables, while the older group will face off on 9-foot Diamonds. Last year’s winner in the 18-and-under group was Lukas Fracasso-Verner, who defeated Peter Abatangelo in the finals. Ivo Linkin won the 12-and-under competition, downing Zach Hemendinger twice in a true double elimination final.
 
Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked the ownership and staff at The Spot for their hospitality and asked that players be reminded of the upcoming Turning Stone XXIX, scheduled for January 4-7 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY. Players interested in competing should touch base with Zuglan as soon as possible to secure a slot in the event.