Down by four in the finals, Sacco comes back to go undefeated on Tri-State stop

Given what is generally a large block of time between the hot seat match and finals of any tournament, it's surprising that more hot seat occupants don't start out in the kind of hole that Rich Sacco found himself in during the most recent stop on the Tri-State tour; Saturday, July 30. Having advanced to the hot seat relatively easily, Sacco was surprised by Lou Loria, who'd come back from a three-match winning streak on the one-loss side to challenge him in the finals, and promptly go up 5-1. Sacco fought back to tie and eventually win the match and the event title. The $500-added, B/D handicapped event drew 30 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

Sacco had sent Jim McManus west 7-3 from among the winners' side final four to get into the hot seat match. Loria, in the meantime, was moved over when Luis Jimenez chalked up a 6-5 victory and moved to challenge Sacco for the hot seat. Sacco sent Jiminez to the semifinals 7-4, blissfully unaware that he'd be winning only one game out of the next six he would play versus Loria.

On the one-loss side, Loria's three-match trip back to the finals began with a matchup against Arturo Reyes, who'd defeated John Trobiano 7-5, and Tony Eglesias 7-3.  McManus picked up Ed Culhane, who'd gotten by Chuck Giallorenzo 7-4, and Chris Peralta, double hill.

Loria shut Reyes out completely, as McManus was busy surviving a double hill match against Culhane. Loria went on to hand McManus a second straight, double hill match in the quarterfinals; winning it for a second chance against Jiminez, who'd sent him to the one-loss side.

The second Loria/Jiminez match yielded the same score – 6-5 – but a different result, as Loria moved on to face Sacco in the finals. It was at this point that Loria jumped out to the 5-1 lead that caused Sacco some concern. Not too much, apparently, because Sacco turned things around and did just what Loria had done; win five of the next six, which brought them to double hill. Sacco closed it out in the 13th rack to complete his undefeated day.

Thanks were extended to the staff at Castle Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Murnak Cases, and Dr. Dave Billiards Instructional Products.