Jeziorski claims early AM Tri-State title

Bryan Jeziroski, Ricardo Mejia and Bernard Vogelsang


They had limited the field to 64, but as play time approached on the Tri-State Tour's stop on Saturday, February 3, a number of competitors remained on the registration line. Tour representatives expanded the field to accommodate the extra players, although at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, they may have had cause to question that decision. At that point in time, Bryan Jeziorski, sitting in the hot seat, and Ricardo Mejia, who'd won six on the loss side after being defeated by Jeziorski in the third round, opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. The $1,000-added, A-D handicapped event drew 73 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

Jeziorski marched himself right among the winners' side final four for a match against Dave Shlemperis, as Bernie Vogelsang squared off against George Poltorak. Jeziorski downed Shlemperis 7-3, and in the hot seat, faced Vogelsang, who'd dispatched Poltorak to the loss side 6-2. In what would prove to be the final match for both of them, Jeziorski got into the hot seat with an 8-3 win over Vogelsang.

It was Shlemperis who picked up Mejia, in the midst of his six-match winning streak, having just downed Jorge Vivianco and Gary O'Callaghan, both 7-4. Poltorak drew Kyle Bubet, who'd shut out Mike Strassberg, and then ended a seven-match, loss-side bid by Kim Meyer-Gabia 6-3. Mejia gave up only a single rack against Shlemperis and moved on to the quarterfinals against Bubet, who'd eliminated Poltorak 6-2. 

Mejia, in essence, finished his loss-side wins with an 8-5 victory over Bubet in those quarterfinals. He was to have played a semifinal match against Vogelsang, but Vogelsang deferred, forfeiting the match and granting Mejia the right to face the man in the hot seat (Jeziorski), who'd sent him on his loss-side journey. And then, at 4:30 a.m., Jeziorski and Mejia opted out of their re-match, leaving Jeziorski, in the hot seat, as the de facto winner.