Bannon fights back from one-loss side to win Tri-State stop

Scott Bannon won five matches from the one-loss side of the Tri-State Tour stop on Saturday, December 12, to meet and defeat the man who'd sent him there – Rob Barbara – and capture the top prize. The $500-added, A-D handicapped event drew 41 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

After early round victories over Burt Madaio, Ted Lapadula and Max Watanabe, Bannon faced Barbara for the first time among the winners' side final eight. Barbara chalked up a decisive 7-1 win in that fourth round and moved on to face Sam Vitellaro among the winners' side final four. Jake Schwartz, in the meantime, facEd Scott Simonetti.  Barbara survived a hill-hill battle against Vitellaro, as Schwartz sent Simonetti west 7-3.  Barbara then gained the hot seat with a 7-3 win over Schwartz, and waited for Bannon.

Bannon had his hands full in the left bracket, edging forward to meet Simonetti, after defeating Rhio Anne Flores and Lapadula (again) in hill-hill struggles. Vitellaro picked up Sandie Patarino, after she'd defeated John Trobiano 7-2 and Tony Eglesias 7-3. Bannon dispatched Simonetti into the tie for fifth place 7-1, as Patarino took care of Vitellaro 6-2.

Patarino, who'd lost her opening match, was looking to make it seven in a row on the one-loss side, when she ran into Bannon in the quarterfinals.  Bannon ended her streak with an 8-3 win, his fourth in a row and moved against Schwartz in the semifinals.  A 7-3 win over Schwartz set Bannon up to avenge his earlier 7-1 defeat by Barbara.  

It didn't look good early in the extended race-to-9 finals, as Barbara jumped out to an early 4-1 lead. Bannon, though, dug in to win all but one of the next nine racks and complete his return to the Tri-State Tour with a strong 9-5 finish.