Kitto and Frideres take top spots in Midwest 9-Ball Tour stop

Scott Kitto held off a strong challenge from the one-loss side by David Matlock, to win the 9-ball portion of the Midwest 9-Ball Tour's multi-event stop on the weekend of July 7-10. The $3,250-added 9-ball event, run concurrently with a $1,000-added 0ne-Pocket event (see related story), was hosted by Shooters, in Olathe, KS and drew 124 entrants.  Jessica Frideres took the ladies prize, in a $750-added event that drew 22 entrants.

From among the winners' side final four, Kitto got into the hot seat with first, a 9-6 win over Beau Runningen, as Jesse Bowman moved to join him with a 9-7 victory over James Baraks. Kitto gained the hot seat with a double hill win over Bowman, and waited for what turned out to be the return of Matlock, who'd been sent west by Bowman from among the winners' side final eight.

On the one-loss side, Baraks moved over to face Whitey Walker, who'd defeated Donny Devers 9-1 and Chuck Raulston 9-7 to reach him. Runningen faced Matlock, who was in the midst of a six-match winning streak that would take him all the way to the second set of the finals, and include a successful rematch versus Bowman in the semifinals.  He'd gotten by Tommy Hernandez 9-2 and Bobby McGrath 9-4 to pick up Runningen. Baraks got by Walker 9-7, while Runningen and Matlock were locked up in a double hill battle that eventually sent Matlock to the quarterfinals versus Baraks.

Matlock made it four in a row with a 9-6 victory over Baraks that put him one match away from a shot versus Kitto, and in a 'payback' position against Bowman. Matlock took full advantage, paying back Bowman with a 9-5 victory, and advancing to the true double elimination final against Kitto.

In spite of some notable shot-making by Matlock in the early going of the opening set, Kitto jumped out to a commanding 6-0 lead. Matlock got on the board in the seventh game, after taking advantage of a missed Kitto jump shot that left him with only two balls to put away.  An unfortunate roll of the cue ball in the eighth game, gave Matlock ball in hand, and he narrowed Kitto's lead to four games.

Kitto regained some momentum with a 7th victory in game nine, but handed it back to Matlock, who drew back to within four. Kitto used a combination on the 9-ball to win the game that put him on the hill at 8-3. Matlock still had some fight left in him. He took the next five to knot things at double hill, and then, took advantage of Kitto's inability to see the 1-ball after the subsequent break.  Matlock hit a long jump shot at the 2-ball to start the process of running the rack and winning the opening set, as the assembled crowd of some 100 spectators went wild.

Kitto jumped out early again in the second set, but not nearly as far, winning the first two, before Matlock won the third. They traded racks back and forth to 5-3, and then, Matlock won two in a row to knot things up at 5-5.  They traded racks again to 6-6, and then Matlock took his first lead since winning the opening set. It proved to be his last. Kitto responded by sinking the 9-ball on the next break to tie things up at 7-7, and then, cool, calm and collected, he won two more to finish things up just before 2 a.m., Central time, and take home the first place prize.

It was Jessica Frideres taking home top honors in the ladies event. Having gained the hot seat with a 7-1 victory over Jacqui Schroeder, Frideres completed an undefeated run through the field of 22 entrants, with a 7-4 victory over Schroeder in the finals. Schroeder had shut out Sharon Rinker in the semifinal matchup. Rinker had downed Dee McGrath, who ended up in fourth place.

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