Rodriguez comes back to down Langford in finals of Sunshine State Pro Am
Skip Maloney
Nov. 21, 2018
(l to r): Robbie Langford, Ricardo Rodriguez & Joselito Martinez
(l to r): Robbie Langford, Ricardo Rodriguez & Joselito Martinez
Ricardo Joel Rodriguez came back from a hot seat loss against Robbie Langford and downed him in the finals of the next-to-last stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, the 10-Ball Bar Box Amateur Championships, held on the weekend of November 17-18. It was Rodriguez’ second win of the season, having defeated top-rated Sunshine State Pro Am veteran Dale Stanley in the finals of an event back in March. This most recent, $2,000-added event drew 84 entrants – 67 men and 17 women & juniors -  to Rack’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Sanford, FL.
 
Rodriguez and Langford trod similar, though not identical paths to the winners’ side semifinals, facing challengers who chalked up about five racks against them, on average. Rodriguez drew Moe Fattah in his winners’ side semifinal match. Langford faced Chris Gentile.
 
Rodriguez improved his game winning average by shutting Fattah out, as Langford advanced to face him in the hot seat match with a 9-6 win over Gentile. Langford claimed the hot seat 9-5 and waited for Langford to get back from the semifinals.
 
Gentile ran into Joselito Martinez on the loss side, who’d been sent over by Langford in the fourth round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He’d most recently defeated Jason Sheerman 7-2 and Bobby Conner, Jr. 7-1. Fattah picked up Donny Branson, making his own five-match, loss-side mark that included recent wins over Eric Roberts 7-1 and Mike Griffin 7-4.
 
Fattah downed Branson, double hill, and in the quarterfinals, facEd Martinez, who’d eliminated Gentile 7-4. Martinez then defeated Fattah 7-4 and was a single match away from a re-match against Langford. Rodriguez spoiled his bid for that re-match, defeating him 10-6 in the semifinals to earn his own re-match.
 
Happy with his score in the semifinals, Rodriguez opted to repeat it in the finals. He defeated Langford 10-6 to earn his second 2018 Sunshine State Pro Am title and become the 2018 10-Ball Bar Box champion.
 
Eric Roberts took home some cash as the event’s top finishing junior. Nikki Cuellar and Jessica Barnes did, as well, as they shared rewards in a tie for top finishing female.
 
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Rack’s owners Pedro Botta and Anthony Digiacomo and their staff, as well as Seminole Harley Davidson, Cyclop Balls, Diamond, Kamui, Jacksonville Roofing, Inc., Play the Game Clothing Co., Bill Katchusky Photography, Alvin Nelson and Inside Pool. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for December 1-2, will be the tour’s season finale, hosted by Park Ave. Billiards in Orange Park, FL.