Ortiz stops loss-side challenge by Ky to go undefeated on New England 9-Ball Series
Skip Maloney
Dec. 4, 2017
(l to r): Ryan Cullen, Kajone Ky and Raymond Ortiz
(l to r): Ryan Cullen, Kajone Ky and Raymond Ortiz
As C-player Raymond Ortiz sat in the hot seat, awaiting his opponent in the finals of the eighth stop on the New England 9-Ball Series Tour on Saturday, December 2, Kajone Ky was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that would make him the challenger. On his way, Ky encountered increasingly difficult (higher-ranked) opponents commencing with a fellow C+ player, and moving on through two B-players and two A-players to reach Ortiz. And so it was, that the C-player and the C+ player, having swept aside the presumably stronger competition, faced each other in the finals. Ortiz completed his undefeated run and won it to claim the title of the $500-added event that drew 31 entrants to World Championship Billiards in Manchester, CT.
 
As always, the players were divided at the start into upper and lower brackets, separating the higher-ranked and lower-ranked opponents at the beginning. As the event whittled down to its final 12 competitors, the two brackets merged, showing a broad range of handicaps; two A-players, one B+, five Bs, two C+ (Ky and Josh Berube), one C (Ortiz), and one D-player. Both finalists, Ortiz and Ky, came out of the lower bracket. Ky was sent to the loss side 6-4 by Frank Porto, who advanced to an overall winners’ side semifinal against Ortiz. Ryan Cullen (A) faced Sal Modolo (B) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Ortiz downed Porto 5-1 (Porto racing to 7), as Cullen squeaked by Modolo, double hill (7-4; Modolo racing to 5). With Cullen racing to 9, Ortiz claimed the hot seat 5-5 and waited in it for what turned out to be the return of Ky.
 
Ky opened his loss-side campaign against fellow C+ competitor, Josh Berube, downing him 5-2, and moving on to defeat Dan Novak 5-3 (Novak racing to 6). This set Ky up for a re-match against Porto. Modolo ran into the youngster, Lukas Fracasso-Verner (An A player, playing in his Connecticut backyard, so to speak), who’d defeated Jose Soto and Ian McKelvey, both 7-2.
 
Fracasso-Verner flexed his muscles a bit and shut Modolo out. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Ky, who’d eliminated Porto 5-1.
 
With Fracasso-Verner racing to eight, Ky took the quarterfinal match 5-4, and then downed his second straight A player (Cullen) by the same score 5-4. He was not so fortunate in the finals.
 
In possession of the higher handicap (C+), Ky had to win an extra game against Ortiz; a 6-5 race. They fought to a double hill, 4-5 tie. Ortiz won the tying, and with the handicap, winning rack to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff of World Championship Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. Stop #9 on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for Sunday, December 10, will be a partners’ event, hosted by Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.