Casanzio goes undefeated to capture his first Al Conte Memorial title
Skip Maloney
Nov. 6, 2017
(l to r): Andrea Duvall (owner of Hippo's), John McConnell, Ron Casanzio, & Matt Tetreault
(l to r): Andrea Duvall (owner of Hippo's), John McConnell, Ron Casanzio, & Matt Tetreault
Ron Casanzio has had several shots at the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour’s Al Conte Memorial over the years. He’s cashed in seven of the nine, to date. He was runner-up to Dennis Hatch in the first one (2009) and Shaun Wilkie in the fifth (2013). On the weekend of November 4-5, he became the event’s seventh winner, following in the footsteps of (in order) Hatch, Shane Winters, Mike Davis, Jeremy Sossei (three-time winner; ’12, ’14 and ‘15), Wilkie and Nelson Oliveira. The $1,500-added, 9th Annual Al Conte Memorial, the fourth stop on the 2017-2018 Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, drew 33 entrants to Hippo’s House of Billiards in Yorkville, NY.
 
Casanzio was one of three competitors at this event, along with Bucky Souvanthong and Angelo Hilton, who cashed in the first Al Conte Memorial. He became the only one of the three to do so in this one. Match by match, until the finals, Casanzio’s opponents steadily closed the margin of victory against him. He got by Bruce Nagle in the opening round 9-1, then Aaron Greenwood 9-3, and Marko Clarke 9-4 to join Matt Tetreault in one of the winners’ side semifinals. John McConnell, in the meantime, who’d sent Frank Cartani (9-4), Jerry Crowe (9-3), and Dwight Dixon (9-4) to the loss side, squared off against Mike Donnelly in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Casanzio got into the hot seat match with a continuation of the ‘reduced margin of victory’ phenomenon, downing Tetreault 9-5. McConnell joined him with a 9-5 victory over Donnelly. Casanzio claimed the hot seat 9-7 over McConnell and waited on his return.
 
On the loss side, Tetreault picked up Joe Darigis, who’d been sent over by Donnelly in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Nick Brucato 9-4 and Dwight Dixon 9-6. Donnelly drew Jose Mendez, who was on a modest four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included recent wins over Norm Vernon 9-3 and Marko Clarke 9-5.
 
Tetreault advanced to the quarterfinals with a 9-6 win over Darigis, and was joined by Mendez, who’d handed Donnelly his second straight loss 9-7. Tetreault eliminated Mendez in that quarterfinal 9-3, but had his hopes for a re-match against Casanzio eliminated when McConnell defeated him 9-5 in the semifinals.
 
In their second of two, Casanzio broke the ‘margin of victory’ chain. He defeated McConnell 9-5 to claim his first Al Conte Memorial title.
 
A $500-added Second Chance tournament saw Willie Oney finish in the top spot, downing Mark Creamer in the finals. Aaron Greenwood finished third and Bruce Carroll took the fourth spot. Pete Khudc took home a $1,200 Joss Cue in the event’s raffle.  
 
The fifth stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be the 29th Ocean State 9-Ball Championship. Scheduled for the weekend of November 11-12, the $5,000-added event will be hosted by Snooker’s Billiards, Bar and Grill in Providence, RI.