Freeman wins nine on the loss side, double dips Jaramillo to win Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour stop

Mike Pickering, Clint Freeman and Ricky Jaramillo

Shreveport, LA’s Clint Freeman seems to have an affinity for the loss-side path to success in a tournament. When that tournament is held under the auspices of the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, it means that the only way he can win an event is by defeating the hot seat occupant twice. The last time he did so (Jan., 2020), he won five on the loss side and double-dipped Clint Palaci to claim that DFW 9-Ball title. Last weekend (June 22-23), he doubled the amount of time he spent on the loss side and double-dipped Ricky Jaramillo in the finals to win the sixth stop on the 2024 tour. The $1,000-added event drew 56 entrants to Bearded Monkey Sports Bar & Billiards, about a dozen miles east of Dallas in Forney, TX.

As a matter of perspective, Freeman’s first recorded payout with us here at AZBilliards was 20 years ago at the Houston 9-Ball Open, when he shared the tie for 7th place with James Davis, Sr. It would be 16 years before Freeman would match and surpass the amount he won in that single event and three more years after that before he recorded his best earnings year (2023). With this latest tour win, he’s on track to make 2024 his best, although with his penchant for ‘living dangerously’ on the loss side of a bracket, in the generally large entrant-fields at work on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, making 2024 his best will, at the end, almost certainly require a nap.

Racing to 9 throughout, Freeman played 13 matches against 12 opponents and just one shy of 200 games. He lost his opening match to Tony Ignomirello 5-7 and over his next 12 matches to the event title, gave up, on average, three racks per match. Three of his loss-side matches went double hill, including the opening set of the true double-elimination final and two in a row in the battles for 9/12 and 7/8. He was, in all but one instance (his quarterfinal matchup versus tour leader Gus Briseno), playing against lower handicapped opponents, ranging from 8 (his semifinal opponent, Mick Pickering) down to one 4 (John Hodkinson in the 13/16th matches).

So, with Freeman on the loss side, it was Jaramillo and Mike Pickering who navigated their way through the winners’ side of the bracket to meet in the hot seat match. Jaramillo, racing to 7, got by Colton Milligan (3), Ruben Adame (4), Tom Vicario (1), and Keith Diaz (4) to draw Max Sun in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Pickering, racing to 8, sent Charlie Smith (4), Easton Rogers (5), Hector Guerrero (6), and Jourdan Herzog (2) to the loss side and picked up Blake Lopez in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Jaramillo had himself a confidence-boosting prequel to the hot seat match, shutting out Sun to get there. Pickering joined him after defeating Lopez 8-3. Jaramillo started the hot seat match with a single ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 8 and though they tied in actual racks 7-7, the ‘bead on the wire’ put Jaramillo into the hot seat.

The two opponents waiting for Lopez and Sun on the loss side when they arrived were Freeman, seven matches into his loss-side winning streak and Gus Briseno, the tour’s top competitor. The results were somewhat predictable. It was Freeman and Briseno who advanced to the quarterfinals after downing, respectively, Lopez 9-1 and Sun 9-4. In Briseno and Freeman’s only straight-up race to 9, Freeman downed Briseno 9-5 and then gave up only two racks to Pickering in the semifinals. 

The three-hour wait for Jaramillo, between the hot seat match victory and the arrival of Freeman to compete in the finals, did not appear to have had too serious an impact on his game. He and Freeman battled to double-hill in the opening set of the true double-elimination final, but it was Freeman who won it, forcing a second set. Freeman gave up only two racks in that second set to complete an improbable, 12-match winning streak and claim the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour’s 6th stop on the 2024 tour.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Bearded Monkey, along with title sponsor CueTec and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. The next stop on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of July 20-21, will be hosted by Stixx & Stones in Lewisville, TX.

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