Ellerman earns first win on Olhausen Desert All Around Tour

Mitch Ellerman with tournament director Bull Vankerwyk

The Olhausen Billiards Desert All Around Tour held their second stop of the year at Alexanders Sports Bar in Phoenix, Az with the usual field of top Arizona talent, both young and old. Early favorites in this event included all three of the previous All Around Champions (Tony Confalone, Terry Osborne, and Doug Hale) as well as Scott Frost, Jimmy Mendoza, Chuck Evans, Dennis Orender, Mike Pankoff, Mitch Ellerman, Gus Briseno and reigning BCA 8-Ball Champion Derek Cumm. One player even made the field from as far away as Minnesota.

Victims of early round upsets included Scott ‘The Freezer' Frost, Gus Briseno and Babe Thompson. Frost lost his first round match to last month's winner Jimmy Mendoza and then fell to Glenn Bond on the one loss side. Bond would not fare much better, as he lost his next match to Tucson's Rudy Alameda. Thompson was the lucky winner of the “three and out” drawing for the new McDermott Cue.

The winners side of this tournament saw a slew of new faces as none of the previous All Around Champions were able to make it past three rounds without suffering a loss. Confalone fell to Terry Osborne in the second round, and Osborne then fell to 20 year old Bobby Emmons in the third round. Emmons also handed reigning All Around Champion Doug Hale his first loss in round two. Emmons was then thrown to the left side of the board by Jeremy Nelson.

Nelson rode the winners side until he met up with young gun Mitch Ellerman for the hot-seat. Ellerman's quick fire game proved to be too much for Nelson as Ellerman cruised to a quick 9-2 win.

On the one loss side, Doug Hale was reminding everyone in the room of why he is one of the most feared bar table players in the state. Hale made his way through seven opponents on the left side of the board, including such heavy hitters as Chuck Evans and Mike Pankoff. Hale's run was finally brought to a halt by Jimmy Mendoza in an 8-7 battle that saw Mendoza race out to a 4-0 lead and then hold off a charging Hale at the end. Mendoza then avenged his earlier loss to Jeremy Nelson 8-5 to earn a match against Ellerman in the finals.

The final match could not have been more of a contrast in styles with Mendoza's calculated patient game matched up against Ellerman's youthful ‘fast and loose' approach to the game. Both players were more than capable of stringing racks together and they each had their chances to show it. Mendoza came out strong and forged a 5-3 before Ellerman took control and won six straight games for a 9-5 lead in the extended race to thirteen. Next, it was Mendoza's turn to make a charge and he won five straight games to regain the lead at 10-9. It truly looked like anyone's match at 11-11, but a missed 4-ball by Mendoza was the end as Ellerman won the final two games for the 13-11 win and his first (of most likely many) Tour wins.

Having not bought into all of the side pots, Ellerman only took home $1385 in prize money. Mendoza earned $1185 for second place. The tour will take March off, but will be at Metro Sportz Bar in Phoenix on April 14th and 15th for stop #3; a $1000 added barbox 8-ball event.

The Olhausen Billiards Desert All Around Tour is sponsored by Olhausen Billiards ("The Best in Billiards"), as well as McDermott Handcrafted Cues, Visual Impressions, Aramith Billiard Balls, Tiger Products, Whisler Custom Cues, OnQ Cases, Tweeten Fibre, Joe Tucker, Billiards Press and Billiards Digest.