Craig, Moskovitz and Cabatit win three-tiered stop on the VA-based Tiger Tour

Iris Cabatit and Soo Emmett

Sounds like a high-powered law firm. Is, actually, the three competitors who won the events of this past weekend’s (May 25) stop on the VA-based Tiger Tour. Two of them were looking for their first 2024 cash payout. The other (Cabatit) was looking to add to her January winner and March runner-up finishes in the tour’s previous stops.

The triple-tiered event featured competition for upper and lower Fargo rates, as well as a Ladies Division. Iris Cabatit was the only competitor to go undefeated, competing in the Ladies Division that drew 10 entrants. Josh Craig, competing in the ‘526-650 Fargo’ event that drew 21 entrants, came back from a loss in the hot seat match to claim the Division 1 title. Artie Moscowitz, in the ‘525 and below’ Division 2 event that drew 34, came back from a winners’ side semifinal loss to defeat the man who’d defeated him (Josh Harrell) and the hot seat occupant (James Baker) to claim that title. The events drew their 65 total entrants to Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.

Ladies first. Iris Cabatit, playing in what is essentially her ‘home’ room of Q Master Billiards, had been defeated in the hot seat match by 18-year-old Courtney Hairfield in the tour’s season opener back in January. She returned from the semifinals to defeat Harfield in the final. In March, they battled for the title again, but only once. Cabatit claimed the hot seat this time and Hairfield came back from a winners’ side semifinal loss to defeat Cabatit in the final.

It would have been a highly-anticipated matchup between the two this past weekend, had it not been for the fact that Hairfield was not in attendance. Instead, Soo Emmett, who’d lost the hot seat match to Cabatit and the semifinals against Hairfield at Stop #2, stepped up to take a shot at the title to Stop #3. 

Cabatit advanced through the short field and arrived at a winners’ side semifinal against Marcia Cisco, as Emmett squared off against Jadyn Bird in the other one. Cabatit downed Cisco 5-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Emmett, who’d defeated Bird 5-1. Cabatit won the first of their two matches 5-2 and claimed the hot seat. 

On the loss side, Cisco and Bird battled in the quarterfinals, with Bird advancing 5-3 to face Emmett in the semifinals. Emmett defeated Bird 5-1 for a shot against Cabatit, waiting for her in the hot seat. Cabatit claimed the title with a 6-2 victory over Emmett in the finals.

Artie Moskowitz and James Baker

Moscowitz claims his first (recorded) regional tour title

As is often the case when regional tours opt to run separate tournaments for higher and lower FargoRates, the lower-ranked Division 2 drew the largest number of entrants this past weekend; 34 to Division 1’s 21. Artie Moscowitz, whose sole claim to (recorded) ‘cash payout’ fame, prior to this weekend, came last year when he finished 5th at the Tiger Tour’s Amateur Fall Blast 9-Ball Shootout (Division 2), advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal against Josh Harrell. James Baker, son of tour director Tiger Baker, faced Bobby Campbell in the other one. 

Harrell and Baker sent Moscowitz and Campbell to the loss side, both 6-3. Baker defeated Harrell 6-1 to claim the seat.

Moscowitz’ trip to the winners’ circle was almost derailed in his first loss-side match, a rematch against Marlin Foster, whom he’d defeated, double hill, in the second winners’ side round. Four loss-side matches later, Foster met him again and for the second time, their match went double hill. With the same result. Moscowitz advanced to a quarterfinal against Kenny Marple, who’d defeated Campbell 6-3 to reach him. 

Moscowitz gave up a single rack in his victory over Marple, and while Harrell put up a bit of a fight in the semifinals that followed (almost double hill), Moscowitz earned his shot in the final with the 6-4 win. Moscowitz completed the run to his first regional tour title with a double-hill win over Baker in the finals.

Jimmy Bird and Josh Craig

Craig and Bird battle twice to claim Division 1 title

The ‘big guns,’ they call them. The competitors in an event, any event, who bring upper-level Fargo Rates to the table, along with their cues and whatever level of experience they’ve managed to record since their pool career got underway, will generally put on a good ‘show.’ It doesn’t always result in the highest-level of competition demonstrating that level of experience, though like any competitive sport, equally-skilled opponents, at upper or lower levels of skill, have a way of making the resulting matches compelling enough to enjoy watching. There were 11 double-hill matches, one match over 25% of the 40 that were played in quest of the Division 1 title.

The winner, Josh Craig, and runner-up, Jimmy Bird played in only three of them; one of them against each other. Bird got caught up in the other two on his trip to the hot seat. After downing Scott Guschel in the opening round, Bird survived double-hill battles against Alvaro Valle and, in one of the winners’ side semifinals, Jonathan Hernandez. Craig, in the meantime, after an opening-round bye, chalked up three, middle-of-the-road (scoring) victories over Thomas Spivey (4), Jimmy Rust (5), and, in the other winners’ side semifinal, Leroy Ives (4). Bird gave up only a single rack to Craig and grabbed the hot seat. 

Hernandez moved to the loss side and drew a rematch against Daniel Adams, whom he’d defeated, double hill, in the second winners’ side round. Before it was all over, Adams would end up playing in five of the event’s 11 double-hill matches, winning three of them at the start of his loss-side trip; against Mike Harvey, Samuel Holloway and Bruce Reed, before he eliminated Jimmy Rust 7-3 and shut out Hernandez in their rematch. Ives came over and gave up a single rack to Moe Mazannar, joining Adams in the quarterfinals.

Adams’ five-match, loss-side run came to an end in those quarterfinals. Ives engaged him in his last double-hill match, winning it to take on Craig in the semifinals. Craig limited Ives’ loss-side trip to two matches, downing him in those semifinals 6-2 for a second shot at Bird.

As befitting the occasion, Craig and Bird competed in the 11th and last double-hill match of the Division 1 event. Craig prevailed 7-8 (Bird racing to 9) to claim the event title.

Tour directors Tiger Baker and Kris Wylie thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Tiger Products and Justin Paige, whose VIPER Productions donated streaming services. The next stop on the Tiger Pool Tour, scheduled for Saturday, June 29, will be hosted by Q Master Billiards.

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