Baraks takes two out of three over Bowman to capture Midwest 9-Ball Open event; Keeney double dips Byrket for Ladies title

In all, James Baraks and Jesse Bowman played 48 games of 9-ball against each other during the Midwest 9-Ball Open tournament on the weekend of February 19-20; 15 in the battle for the hot seat, and 33 in a true double elimination final. Baraks took the opener, Bowman took the second and they battled back and forth to double hill before Baraks finished it to win the Midwest Open 9-Ball title. The $3,500 event drew 98 entrants to Shooter's in Olathe, KS.

From among the winners' side final four, Baraks sent Chad Vilmont west 9-3, as Bowman sent Joey Gray over 9-6 (earlier, Gray had finished second in the concurrently-run One-Pocket event; see accompanying story).  Baraks got into the hot seat with his first of two over Bowman 9-6 and waited for his return.

First up for Vilmont in the west bracket was John Gabriel, who'd shut out B.J. Wolrab and then, just survived a double hill match against Dustin Gunia. Gray picked up Shane McMinn, who'd been sent to the one-loss side in the event's opening round by K.C. Massey, and then proceeded on a 10-win streak that took him all the way to the semifinals. Six matches into that streak, he met Massey again and defeated him 9-5. He followed that with a 9-3 win over Gary Lutman, which set him up to face Gray.

McMinn defeated Gray 9-7 and in the quarterfinals, faced Vilmont, who'd dropped Gabriel into the tie for fifth place 9-4. McMinn went out in style, so to speak, winning his last match 9-1 over Vilmont. He battled against Bowman in the semifinals, but came up four games short at 9-5.

Bowman rode momentum to an opening set, 9-7 win over Baraks. Baraks, though, fought back hard in the second set, battling to double hill and eventually sinking the 48th 9-ball of their three-match struggle.

Nicole Keeney took home the top prize in the $500-added Ladies Tournament, which drew 16 entrants. She came from the one-loss side to double dip hot seat occupant Rachel Byrket in the finals; 7-3 in the opening set and 7-2 in the final set. Keeney had defeated Michelle McDermott 7-2 in the semifinals. Jennifer Coombs finished fourth.

1st James Baraks $2,000
2nd Jesse Bowman $1,500
3rd Shane McMinn $900
4th Chad Vilmont $600
5th John Gabriel $400
Joey Gray
7th Dustin Gunia $200
Gary Lutman
9th B.J. Wolrab $175
Chuck Raulston
K.C. Massey
Taylor Anderson
13th David Caron $125
Terry Porter
Mike Banks, Jr.
Joseph Tomkowski
17th Zach Marquarde $100
Dustin Hooker
Kent Henderson
Mike Durbin
Gabe Owen
Jason Ayesh
John Giles
Steven Clodzin

1st Nicole Keeney $460
2nd Rachel Byrket $300
3rd Michelle McDermott $200
4th Jennifer Combs $100