Dallas 8-Ball Celebrated 16th Anniversary with Seven Events in a Single Weekend

9-Ball Top 3 – Greg Sandifer, Shane McMinn and Christian Young

Sandifer (8-ball), McMinn (9-Ball), Bayda (One Pocket and Ring Game) celebrate with wins

It being Texas and all, when the Dallas 8-Ball League decided to celebrate its 16th anniversary this past (long) weekend – May 6 through 9 – they went big. Seven events in all. Four for the grown-ups (so to speak) and three 10-Ball events for a large handful of junior competitors in three divisions which served as qualifiers for this year’s BEF Junior National Championships, scheduled for July 8-13 at the Oakley-Lindsay Convention Center in Quincy, IL.

David Reyes has been at the helm of the Dallas 8-Ball League since its inception in 2008, when it got underway with eight teams and in the vicinity of 40 competitors. Today, those teams number 214 and the competitor numbers are up over 1,000. It would appear that Mr. Reyes, who also helms the Cuetec Dallas/Ft. Worth 9-Ball Tour has been doing something right, seemingly a qualification for running a 7-event weekend with 121 pool players (with quite a few crossovers).

Down to business. The ‘signature’ event of the weekend was the 8-ball tournament, which drew the largest number of competitors (52). The 9-ball tournament drew 21, while the One Pocket  event and Banks Ring Game each drew 13. The three junior tournaments drew a total of 22 entrants, with crossovers in the two junior male department (18U and 16U). 

In terms of crossovers, included were not only the competitors who played in multiple events at the anniversary party, but a good number of competitors who play on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour as well, like the top two in the tour standings, Gus Briseno (runner-up in the weekend’s One Pocket tournament) and Shane McMinn, who won the 9-ball event, finished third in One Pocket and was fourth in 8-Ball. Greg Sandifer, another competitor among the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s top competitors, won the event’s 8-ball tournament and was third in 9-Ball.

Banks Finalists – Roman Bayda and Chris Smith

Sandifer took two out of three over Friday Abismo in 8-Ball, claiming the hot seat and winning the second set of the true double-elimination final to claim the title. Sandifer seemed to decide that he was going to win or lose by defeating his opponents by either of two scores, 6-3 or 6-2. He split those two scores in half, winning 6-2 in four of his seven wins and 6-3 in three others. He lost his only match (opening set of the double-elimination final) 3-6. His path took him through Neil Sidawi (3), Tony Top (2), Julie Stephenson (2; double hill), and Patrick Adams (2; also double hill) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Ryan Braselman.

Abismo, in the meantime, set to work with no clear plan to execute specific scores. He started with a bye before shutting out Woody Smith, then defeating Joe Pelayo (2) and Curtis Tidmore (4; double hill) to pick up Shane McMinn in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Abismo downed McMinn 6-5 (McMinn racing to 7) and was joined in the hot seat match by Sandifer, who’d sent Braselman west 6-3. Sandifer claimed the hot seat 6-3, as well.

McMinn and Braselman moved over and fought two, double-hill matches for advancement to the quarterfinals. McMinn downing Christian Young, as Braselman was sending Curtis Tidmore home. McMinn and Braselman chalked up six racks each in those quarterfinals, but McMinn was racing to 7 and it was Braselman who faced Abiso in the semifinals. 

Abismo, apparently catching on to Sandifer’s 6-2/6-3 formula for success, used it to good effect against Braselman in the semifinals, winning 6-2, and turned back to face Sandifer a second and (he was hoping) a third time. Abismo tried it a second time and defeated Sandifer in the opening set of the final 6-3. Sandifer turned the tables on him, defeating Abismo in the second set 6-2 to claim the 8-ball title.  

McMinn claims 8-ball title as Sandifer tests new scoring strategy in 9-ball event

One Pocket Finalists – Gus Briseno and Roman Bayda

In un-handicapped races to 3, Shane McMinn went undefeated to the hot seat in the 21-entrant 9-ball tournament. He faced Greg Sandifer in the hot seat match, which proved to be his last match, because when Christian Young came out on top in the semifinals, the two opted for a split of the top two prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, McMinn took home the 9-ball title.

Following an opening-round bye, McMinn’s four-match trip to the hot seat began and ended with double-hill wins, ‘bread’ for a sandwich with two slices of ‘shutout’ in the middle. Tony Staub challenged him, double hill, in the opening round. Shutouts over Johnny Cinco Garcia and in a winners’ side semifinal, Doug Winnett, put McMinn into the hot seat match. 

From the other end of the bracket, Sandifer, unable to use the 6-3/6-2 strategy he’d employed in 8-ball, decided to give all of the 9-ball scoring options a try. After an opening-round bye, he shut out Suhail Mohammed, battled to double hill (3-2), advancing past Joe Pelayo and winning his winners’ side semifinal 3-1 over Christian Young. The hot seat went double hill before McMinn closed it out, sending Sandifer off to the semifinals.

Young and Winnett showed up on the loss side and ran into Curtis Tidmore and Jessie Wilcoxson, respectively. Tidmore was working on a short, loss-side streak, eliminating Clint Freeman and Joshua Paredes before Young shut him out, advancing to the quarterfinals. Winnett had the misfortune of drawing Jessie Wilcoxson, who arrived with four notches on his loss-side belt. Wilcoxson made it five in a row, downing Winnett 3-1 and turning to face Young in those quarterfinals.

Young stopped Wilcoxson’s streak with a shutout and restricted Sandifer’s loss-side trip to a single match the same way. McMinn and Young negotiated a split, with McMinn earning the official event title.

Bayda wins last two ‘adult’ titles, as juniors win trip to Junior Nationals.in July

Juniors 18 & Under winner and 16 & Under runner up – William Banda

Roman Bayda, who unwittingly made this year his best (recorded) earnings year since he joined the AZBilliards database in 2006, by placing 5th at the 1,021-entrant, Super Billiards Expo’s Amateur Championships in April won the last of the four major titles; the One Pocket and Banks Ring Game, both with 13 entrants. He defeated the current #1 competitor on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, Gus Briseno, in the One Pocket finals. Shane McMinn finished third, while Clint Freeman took fourth place. Bayda won the Banks Ring Game ahead of Chris Smith and Randy Staggs.

What the 21 junior competitors in three separate divisions lacked in sheer numbers, they made up for with enthusiasm as they all competed for qualification to the BEF Junior Nationals in July. It was more than just the weekend’s prize money they won. It was an entry fee and a $500 travel voucher to get them to Illinois. All of the juniors who finished ‘in the money’ will (assuming their ability to attend) compete in July.

The Junior 16 & Under Boys event drew the most competitors (11, only one of which did not compete in the 18 & Under Boys tourney) and was won Lucah Gianino, who defeated William Banda in the finals. Lee Arroyo finished third. It was Banda who claimed the 18 & Under Boys title, defeating Gavin Mathew in the finals, with Arroyo again finishing third. Three girls competed for the 18 & Under Girls title; all earned the BEF Junior National qualification prize. April Gonzalez claimed the title, ahead of Kiley Mullenix and Katelyn Schultz.

Event representatives, including chief factotum (a Latin phrase, meaning ‘do all’), David Reyes thanked the ownership and staff at Stixx & Stones for their hospitality, along with sponsors Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, Bull Carbon, Granite Guyz, Eric & Becky Smith, Locked and Loaded Billiards, Taom (chalk and tips), TX2LV (USA Pool Leagues), Texas Window Tinting and Cavalli (Pizzeria Verace Nepoletana). 

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