Castillo and Melendez split top prizes on second-to-last 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): Euryel Castillo & Juan Melendez

When the Tri-State Tour stop held on Sunday, June 9 got down to its last 12 players (from 41 entrants), 10 of them were competitors who will likely be invited to the tour’s annual invitational tournament, restricted to the top 16 players in each of the tour’s six ranking divisions (not including either the Open or Pro class) and scheduled for June 29-30. The player who got into the hot seat and won (*) the tournament, Euryel Castillo (#29 among the tour’s C+ players) is not likely to be among the invitees, unless over a dozen invited players from the C+ division can’t make it. The man he would have played in the final, Juan Melendez, is a likely invitee in the C division, having entered the tournament as #12 on that list. Also likely to be invited will be the 3rd place finisher, Yomaylin Feliz-Forman (#15 on the B List), who gave up only one rack in her first five matches before being sent to the loss side by Castillo in the battle for the hot seat. She was defeated by Melendez in the semifinals (she’d sent him to the loss side originally). The $1,000-added event was hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Following victories over Thomas Schreiber (#7 among B players), Joe Mazzeo, and a double hill win over Tony Kuo, Castillo advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against the tour’s #2-ranked B+ player, Matt Klein. Two of the tour’s top-ranked women squared off against each other in the other winners’ side semifinal; Yomaylin Feliz-Forman (better known as “Smiley”) versus Shweta Zaveri, the tour’s top-ranked female and its #1 competitor in the D+ division.

Castillo sent Klein to the loss side 7-3, as “Smiley” got the best of Zaveri 9-5. Castillo and Feliz locked up in a double hill fight for possession of the hot seat, eventually claimed (7-6) by Castillo.

On the loss side, Klein picked up Thomas Schreiber (#7 among B players), who’d defeated Tony Kuo 7-3 and eliminated Max Watanabe (#2 among the A/A+ players) in a double hill battle. Shweta Zaveri drew Juan Melendez, who’d been sent to the loss side by “Smiley” 7-2 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, defeated Bob Toomey (#1 C+) 6-4 and Bianca Martinez (#8 D+), double hill.

Schreiber downed Klein 7-5 to get into the quarterfinals. He was joined by Melendez, who’d defeated Zaveri in his second straight double hill win. Melendez more or less solidified the likelihood of joining the invitational tournament with a 7-5 victory over Schreiber in those quarterfinals.

Melendez turned for a re-match against Feliz and in his third, loss-side double hill match, defeated her 8-7 for a shot at Castillo in the hot seat; a shot not taken, as it were. The two agreed to a split, with Castillo as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat claiming the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB, and Hustlin USA. The last regular tour stop of the 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour season, scheduled for Saturday, June 15, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. Two weeks later, on the weekend of June 29-30, the Annual Tri-State Invitational Tournament will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.