Barnes Closes Door on Ryno; Ellis Breaks the Ice

After nearly 15 hours of competition, Jessica Barnes outplayed Bethann Ryno to capture the win at the second stop of the Tiger Bay Area Amateur Tour's (BAAT) 2010 season. The $400 added event was held at Strokers of Tampa, FL, which hosted 20 players from around the state, Feb. 27. 

Significantly, one player, who has played with BAAT since its inception, and for many years before that, broke the ice and slid into the top three, Saturday. Seventy-five-year-old Barbara Ellis, whose previous best finish with BAAT was 5th, has steadily been improving her game, and stroked herself into a third place finish. 

As the tournament progressed, in the handicapped format, veteran Michell Monk was bested by Shanelle Loraine, who secured 5th for herself, and resigned Monk to a 7th place finish tie with Sis Tarver, who lost to Susanne Cherkowsky. Monk and Tarver received prize bags for their efforts. 

New BAAT member Cherkowsky offered a good showing with her 5th place win, after being ousted by last month's newcomer Ryno, who took the match 5-2. Tour regular Loraine went to the hill before losing to Valerie Dukick, with a score of 6-3. Loraine and Cherkowsky each received $50 for their 5th place finishes. 

Dukick, who returned to the tour last month after a long hiatus, defeated Tammy Gillis, Kelly Cavanaugh and Cherkowsky, before being sent to the one-loss side by Ellis. Ryno had prevailed over last month's winner Rachel Delaney and last year's tour champion Monk before succumbing to Barnes. Dukick and Ryno faced off in the hard fought quarter-final match, and went hill-hill with Ryno sinking the game-winning ball, taking the match 4-4. Dukick took 4th place and $100 in prize money.  

Facing Ryno in the semi-final was Ellis, who defeated Christine Brenner, Lana Loomis, and Dukick before losing to Barnes. All but one of Ellis's matches went to the hill, and this one was no different. The games went back and forth, Ellis playing with new-found deliberation, and Ryno stroking with steady determination. Ryno predominated 6-3, and took the opportunity to try to exact revenge on Barnes in the finals. 

Ryno outperformed Barnes in the first final match, winning 4-2 in the four-to-five race of the true double-elimination tournament and forcing the second set. But Barnes retaliated with a vengeance in the second set, and won it 5-1. Barnes's first place finish earned her $300, Ryno took home $225 for second, and Ellis won $150 for her third place finish. 

In a sneak preview of the brand new Lucasi Hybrid Big Beulah II set to hit the market in March, the BAAT tour held a break contest where over 30 competitors got a chance to try out the new cue and show their breaking skills. Out of all of the contestants, men and women alike, a small-framed woman showed off the biggest break. She pocketed 3 balls on the break and won a Stroke It t-shirt and a Strokers gift certificate for her breaking skills. 

Thanks go out to Jose Delrio and Dan Leonard, Strokers' owners, and their staff members, for their support and use of a fantastic venue. Thanks also to our sponsors, including: Tiger Products, Lucasi Hybrid, Sterling Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ray Martin, Nick Varner,, Robertson Billiard Supplies, Tweeten Fiber, Billiard Scoop, and Sports Rock, for making it possible for BAAT to give gifts to players, fans, and room owners.