Dominguez comes from the West to win 1st East Coast 9-Ball Championship

Oscar Dominguez
It was no surprise that the 1st East Coast 9-Ball Championships, held on the weekend of December 7-8 at Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA,  featured a well-known list of Mid-Atlantic pool players, like Brett Stottlemyer, Ozzy Reynolds, Danny Green, Mike Davis and Brian Deska (to name just a few). It was also no surprise that Deska, sent to the loss side in the third round of play clawed his way back through seven matches against a variety of the Mid-Atlantic's best players, to reach the finals. It was a bit of surprise that this East coast event was won by Oscar Dominguez from California. He went undefeated through seven opponents to lay claim to the first East Coast 9-Ball Championship.
The event was more than a single, isolated pool tournament, offering a somewhat standard range of cash prizes. These championships were the culmination of months of work and something of a dream come true for Ozzy Reynolds, tour director of the Action Pool Tour. Reynolds conceived the event and launched a series of 64 qualifiers to create the field of players. In his opinion, articulated in a September press release, "the current format for large-scale pool tournaments (in this country) is broken." And he set out to do something about it. He created something of a feeder system; a relatively 'low fee' series of 64 qualifiers that was designed to raise $32,000 in prize money for the championship event.
"My model was based on the assumption that we'd average 14 players per qualifier," he said the day after the conclusion of the East Coast 9-Ball Championship. "We ended up averaging around six and a half players per qualifier."
This knocked the total prize fund down to $14,000, but even at that, the payouts were still above normal for a 64-entrant field at most 'major' tournaments. The top prize winner in such tournaments will generally pocket around $1,000, whereas this East Coast Championship allowed Oscar Dominguez to go home with $4,000, while runner-up Brian Deska cashed in at $2,500. It's the reason, in fact, that Oscar Dominguez took the time to seek out a qualifying tournament, and then fly in from California to (as it turned out) win it.
"Oscar's win brought a level of credibility to it," said Reynolds. "He told me personally that he thought this was the only way to get good payouts to a tournament, and that's why he took the time to qualify for it."
The event ran into two problems. One, according to Reynolds, was the fact that the concept "over-fished a small pond," leading to less 'fish' than he'd anticipated. The other problem was a little thornier, and involved what some other tours perceived as territory encroachment. Reynolds had originally planned on holding qualifiers from Maine to Florida, but when he sought out rooms in the Northeast, he was met with resistance. 
"The jury is still out," said Reynolds about a 2nd Annual East Coast Championship, "but I'm leaning toward doing it again, and not making the same mistakes."
"In my mind," he added, "this model was proved successful, and just needs some refinement."
Oscar Dominguez' path to the winners' circle went right through some of the best that the Mid-Atlantic region had to offer, including Mike Davis (3rd round), Danny Green (4th round), and among the winners' side final four, Steve Fleming. In the other winners' side semifinal, Shaun Wilkie squared off against Chris Futrell. Dominguez downed Fleming 9-2, and in the hot seat match, met Wilkie, who'd defeated Futrell 9-6. Dominguez chalked up his second-to-last win, 9-5, over Wilkie and waited on what turned out to be the return of Brian Deska, one of the top-ranked players on the Action Pool Tour.
Futrell moved over to pick up Green, who'd gotten by Matt Krah 7-5 and FrEd Scott 7-4. Fleming drew Deska, four matches into his seven-match, loss-side winning streak that saw him down Larry Nevel, Ozzy Reynolds, Larry Kressel (double hill), and Danny Mastermaker. Both recent arrivals from the winners' side - Futrell and Fleming - were eliminated; Futrell, 7-4, by Green and Fleming, 7-5 by Deska.
Deska moved on and dropped Green 7-4 in the quarterfinals and then, Wilkie 7-2 in the semifinals. Dominguez, though, pulled the plug on Deska's loss-side juggernaut, winning the final 9-5 to claim the first East Coast 9-Ball Championship title.