BCAPL Southwest Regional Crowns Champions in Arizona

8 and out (Brian Reich, JR Burkhart, Jon Smith and Brett Huth)


CueSports International (CSI) and Bad Boys Billiards Productions brought the 2012 BCAPL Southwest Regional Championship to the Radisson Fort McDowell Casino in Scottsdale over the Labor Day weekend of August 30th - September 3rd. $6,000 in added prize money, courtesy of the Radisson and CSI, and 40 beautiful Diamond 7' tables, was more than enough to draw the top players from Arizona, as well as select players from Nevada, New Mexico, California, Colorado, and Washington.

The event was divided into seven divisions and play got underway first in the single elimination scotch doubles division where 45 teams were able to get familiar with the tables and compete for $2000 in total prize money. This event was dominated by two teams, and it was only right to see them face off in the finals. The top half of the board saw the team of Bernie Store and Steve Stowers cruise to a spot in the finals. Store and gave up one game in their first four matches and never allowed an opposing team to win more than two games on their way to the finals.

Matching them on the way to the finals was the team of "Big Daddy" Tres Kane and Cathy Kelley. Kane and Kelley were not as dominating on their way to the finals, but they also did not allow an opposing team to score more than two games in any given match.

As evenly matched as these two teams appeared on paper, the finals came down to hill-hill before Stowers and Store won the case game for the 4-3 victory and $600 in prize money.

The 6 & Under event, which was added last year, was a huge success with 89 players competing this year. The event came down to a "best two out of three" face-off as Wayne Cagle and Elgin Miguel would play each other three times to determine a final victor. Miguel drew first blood with a hill-hill win over Cagle for the hot-seat, but after Cagle eliminated Collin Sayler on the one loss side, Cagle and Miguel faced off in the double elimination finals. Cagle forced a second set with a 5-3 win and then earned the tournament win with a 5-4 scoreline in the second set. The win was worth $600 in prize money for Cagle.

The men's open division, with 77 players saw a slight increase in participants and to no one's surprise, was won by Carlos Avalos.

Avalos handled the win with his usual modesty and thought the tournament came down to a couple shots and a couple of lucky breaks here and there. Avalos made note of an early match he played against Mike Williams. Avalos commented, "I was fortunate because that match was originally scheduled for early afternoon but didn't start until close to midnight. Mike had sat for several hours and was cold, and I had just come off a win. I got away with that match 5-0." Avalos was also quick to note a shot that came up in the hot-seat match against David DelCastillo. With the score tied at hill-hill Avalos hooked himself on the ball before the 8-ball. After studying the shot, Avalos played a perfect stop shot jump shot that left him straight in on the 8-ball for the win.

The finals came down to Avalos and Jason Polk - both teammates on the "No Flash Photography" team. The friendship between the two might have taken away Jason's killer instinct in this one as Carlos ran away with a 5-1 win for first place and $1,000 in prize money.

The Ladies Open division saw Sonia Flores come out on top of the 32 player field and take the hot-seat with a 4-2 win over Leandrea Gaff.

On the one loss side, Gaff ran into Terry Johnson-McCauley. Gaff had sent Johnson-McCauley to the left side of the board 4-3 late in the tournament, and the rematch went to Johnson-McCauley by the same 4-3 scoreline.

This left Flores and Johnson-McCauley in the double elimination finals. The first set went to Johnson-McCauley in a 4-0 landslide, but Flores turned things around and scored an identical 4-0 whitewash in the second set of the finals.

The final singles division saw a 20 player field in the Advanced/Masters division (double the field size from last year). Brian Begay from Shiprock, New Mexico took the hot-seat with a 7-2 win over Vegas' Ronnie Allen. Smith only had to beat Nevada's Randy Kukla on the one loss side as Allen had already headed back home and was willing to settle for third place.

With Smith busy in team matches until very late, the finals didn't get underway until the late Sunday night. Fortunately for all involved (except for Smith), Begay made quick work of Smith 7-3 in the finals.

Both team divisions included interesting story lines with a comeback win in one and a threepeat of sorts in the other.

The ladies division the Bad AZZ Babes (Sonia Flores, Sara Miller, Sophia Morquecho and Susam Williams)return with hopes of defending the title they won last year. The Babes would quickly find out that the other teams were not intimidated by the reigning champions as Diamond Dazzle out of Phoenix (Anje Anderson, Char Alcott, Salina Holland, Virginia Jennings and Lori Kinny) scored a first round upset.  "They came with their A-Games, and we played terrible," commented Williams after the match.

Undeterred, The Babes won five in a row on the one loss side to get to the finals against AZ Fab 4 (Beverly Cook, Kate Franco, Tonya Kurtz and Amy Wilkom-Knowlton). With two Advanced and one Master player on the team, the Bad AZZ Babes were giving up four games to other team. That handicap was not a factor in the first set of the finals as the Babes scored a quick 12-3 win. The second was an entirely different situation as The Fab 4 fought the Babes for each game. Fab 4 held a 6-5 lead and needed one game to get to the hill. They would not get that game as the Babes showed how Bad AZZ they could be with seven straight wins for the 12-6 victory and their second team title.

The final division to crown a winner was the Men's/Mixed Team division. The defending champs, Stinger's Venom, found themselves on the rail in 9th place early in this one, but the finals still saw a player hoping to defend the title as JR Burkhart had moved from Stinger's Venom to 8 and Out this year. Burkhart had also been a member of the Tom Ryan's team that won this division in 2010, so he was going for back to back to back wins. Burkhart and his teammates Brett Huth, Brian Reich and Jon Smith had fought back from a loss to No Flash Photography to come out of the one loss side for the finals. Their opponents, the Northern Hombres team of Oscar Avila, Tyson Cole, Larry Eans, Jose Gonzalez and Ron Weeks had taken the hot-seat with a win over Pocket Pounders from Prescott.

8 and Out would have to win two matches against the Hombres to capture the title and give Burkhart the threepeat. That threepeat looked to be in serious jeopardy in the first set with the Hombres leading 8-7 in the 9-10 race. Before Reich and Burkhart came to the table for their matches, Burkhart took Smith - the team anchor - aside and told him that he needed to be ready to play a final game for the set as Reich and Burkhart planned on winning their games. And win them they did.

Things took another bad turn for 8 and Out as Smith missed his last ball in a very difficult run and left Tyson Cole with a wide open rack at his mercy. Cole was finishing up the rack when he missed an 11-ball and then had to watch Smith make the last two balls for the 10-9 win in the first set.

Considering the late hour, the idea of a split was brought up, but 8 and Out quickly vetoed that idea as they were playing for first place and anything less would not be satisfying. The Hombres came out with the first two games in the finals, but 8 and Out quickly took control and won 10 of the next 12 games. In a fitting conclusion to the event, it was three time champion Burkhart who pocketed the final 8-ball to give his team the win.

All in all, the event was a great success with a 25% increase in participation from last year and what looks to be a very bright future as more and more players come out to compete in this event.

CSI and the BCA Pool League thanks the following for their support and contributions to this year's event: Bad Boys Billiard Productions for outstanding tournament direction, Diamond Billiard Products for the great playing tables, the Radisson Fort McDowell for their sponsorship and support as host of the event, the Fort McDowell Casino, AZBilliards for the best online coverage of pool on the planet, Rick Schmitz for his great photography as usual, and the BCA Pool League Operators of Arizona and other states for making sure their players had an opportunity to attend.