31st Annual BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championships Presented by Iwan Simonis Crowns 2019 Champions
Dechaine, from the loss side, and Fracasso-Verner split NE 9-Ball Players' Championships
Mar. 20, 2018
Mar. 20, 2018
(l to r): Anthony Petruzelli, Mike Dechaine & Lukas Fracasso-Verner
In the end, it was a battle of generations. Though Mike Dechaine hasn’t got enough years on his resume to be considered a member of any ‘older’ generation (in the vein of Earl Strickland, Nick Varner, or Shannon Daulton, as examples), he has certainly earned the title of veteran player. At 16, Lukas Fracasso-Verner is still young enough to be considered a ‘Junior,’ although he’s been competing against fellow juniors, veterans and the Pros for over three years now.
The two met in the finals of the $2,000-added New England 9-Ball Series Players’ Championships. Held on the weekend of March 17-18, the event drew 56 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT. To the surprise of many, although not, apparently, to Dechaine himself, Mike lost his opening match to Lance Lisciotti. This launched a 10-match, loss-side winning streak for Dechaine that allowed him to challenge Fracasso-Verner in the finals. Dechaine took the opening set of the true double elimination final, before he (with a three-hour drive ahead of him) and Fracasso-Verner (more or less in his own backyard), both at that stage with a single loss, opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes.
Dechaine’s opening round loss was a 5-6 victory for Lisciotti (as a Pro player, Dechaine was racing to 10). Asked if the loss came as a bit of surprise to him, Dechaine said that it hadn’t.
“No,” he said. “Lisciotti is capable of playing well, and he played well.”
Later in the tournament, Dechaine had the opportunity for a re-match, and the results were quite different. It should also be noted that in Dechaine’s 10-match, loss-side run, he won just over 89% of the games he played, with an aggregate score of 110-13.
As Dechaine began work on the loss side, Fracasso-Verner (an A player) and Anthony Petruzelli (C+) were advancing through their respective upper- and lower-bracket fields for a meetup in the hot seat match. Verner won four to meet Ryan Urso (a B Player) in one winners’ side semifinal, while Petruzelli won his four to face fellow C+ player, Jimmy Gonzalez in the other one. Fracasso-Verner and Petruzelli gave up only two racks between them (one each, to Urso and Gonzalez) to move into the hot seat match. Fracasso-Verner was even stingier in the winners’ side final, giving up none at all to sit in the hot seat.
Meanwhile, back at the (loss-side) ranch, Dechaine was mowin’ ‘em down, one by one. Opening loss-side wins of 10-1, 11-1, and 11-3 brought him into the money rounds, where he defeated Bobby Hilton by shutting him out and then, in his re-match against Lisciotti, sent him home 10-2. This set him up to face Urso, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Gonzalez’ first opponent on the loss side was Jack Cooper, who’d shut out Ralph Caton in the first money round, and then survived a double hill fight against Darryl Helm (5-5; Helm, as a C+, racing to 6) to reach Gonzalez.
Dechaine and Cooper handed Urso and Gonzalez their second straight loss. With Urso racing to 4, Dechaine eliminated him 11-1. Cooper gave up only one to Gonzalez in a 5-1 victory (Gonzalez racing to 6). Dechaine took the quarterfinal match 13-1 over Cooper, and completed his loss-side run with a 12-2 victory over Petruzelli in the semifinals.
The final match actually dropped Dechaine’s winning-game percentage down a notch, from its 89.4% after the semifinals to 88% at the end of the first double-elimination set. Dechaine won it 10-2, and then, in consultation with Fracasso-Verner, opted out of trying to make it two in a row.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#20), scheduled for the weekend of March 24-25, will be a $500-added, 8-Ball event, to be hosted by Legends Billiards, in Auburn, ME.