Morganelli goes undefeated through field of 112 to win NE 9-Ball Series Winter Classic
Skip Maloney
Feb. 2, 2019
(l to r): Clyde Matta, Dave Morganelli & Robert Piersa
(l to r): Clyde Matta, Dave Morganelli & Robert Piersa
Lineham wins second-tier 10-ball event
 
There were two distinctly different events at the 12th stop on the New England 9-Ball Series; its annual Winter Classic held on the weekend of January 26-27 and hosted by Snooker’s in Providence, RI. The main event was a $2,000-added 9-ball tournament that was traditionally handicapped with the use of FargoRates to determine the matches and drew 112 entrants. There was also a $500-added, non-handicapped 10-ball tournament with 21 entrants, which was billed as something of a Second Chance event, but offered $1,570 worth of cash prizes for the top four finishers.
 
Dave Morganelli went undefeated through the field of 112 to take the 9-ball event, downing Rob Piersa twice. RYan Lineham did likewise through the shorter-field 10-ball tournament, defeating Corey Avallone in the hot seat match and Lukas Fracasso-Verner in the final. It took Morganelli seven matches to claim the 9-ball title. Lineham grabbed the 10-ball title in five.
 
Morganelli was one of 12 competitors in the 9-ball tournament’s lower bracket that was awarded an opening round bye, after which he got by Justin Grant, Chuck Sampson, Mourad Idrais, and Phil Medeiros to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Bob Lucas. Rob Piersa, in the meantime, without a bye in the upper bracket, defeated Rich Senna, Ryan Lineham (the eventual winner of the 10-ball event), Brian Chase and Bill Cote to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Kevin Bauccio.
 
In a straight-up race to 5, Morganelli advanced to the hot seat match 5-3 over Lucas. Piersa joined him after downing Bauccio 7-4 (Bauccio racing to 6). Morganelli, with a FargoRate of 539, started the hot seat match with three on the wire in a race to 7 against Piersa, with his FargoRate of 651. They split the actual games 4-4, but with the handicap, Morganelli claimed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Lucas picked up Adam Blair, who’d defeated Emily Cady 5-2 and Rich Ferrell 5-3 to reach him. Bauccio drew Clyde Matta, who’d eliminated Bill Cote, double hill (7-6) and Mike Demarco 7-4.
 
In straight-up races to 5 (Lucas/Blair) and 7 (Matta/Bauccio), Blair and Matta handed Lucas and Bauccio their second straight loss; Blair 5-3 over Lucas and Matta 7-5 over Bauccio. Matta took the subsequent quarterfinal match over Blair 7-3.
 
In a straight-up race to 6, Piersa (651) downed Matta (611) 6-1 in the semifinals to earn himself a second (and potentially, third) shot against Morganelli, waiting for him in the hot seat. Morganelli took the opening and only set necessary 5-2 to claim the NE 9-Ball Series Winter Classic title.
 
Lineham becomes second person on the weekend to eliminate Fracasso-Verner
 
Lukas Fracasso-Verner, 17, has made something of a dangerous habit out of coming from the loss side to claim a number of event titles, including a 12-match, loss-side trip to win last year’s “Ginky” Memorial, and a seven-match, loss-side winning streak to win the NE 9-Ball Series’ Robert Dionne Memorial, two weeks ago. On the weekend of January 26-27, the habit got the best of him at the NE 9-Ball Series’ Winter Classic. He was sent to the loss side in the third round of the main event, and won only one match on the loss side, before being eliminated, out of the money. He rallied a bit in the 10-ball tournament, advancing to a winners’ side semifinal, and then, winning three on the loss side for a shot against Ryan Lineham in the hot seat. Lineham prevailed.
After an opening round bye, Lineham had defeated Kerry McAuliffe and Mike Hurley to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Chad Bazinet. Fracasso-Verner, in the meantime, faced Chad Avallone.  Lineham downed Bazinet 7-5, as Avallone was sending Fracasso-Verner to the loss side 7-4. Lineham claimed the hot seat 7-2 over waited on what turned out to be the return of Fracasso-Verner.
 
On the loss side, Fracasso-Verner shut out Jon Leandro and in the quarterfinals, faced Bazinet, who’d eliminated Francisco Cabral 5-1. Fracasso-Verner downed Bazinet in those quarterfinals 5-3, for a rematch against Avallone in the semifinals. A double hill fight ensued that eventually sent Fracasso-Verner to the finals.
 
They could have played a modified race to 5 in the finals, but Fracasso-Verner and Lineham opted to play it out to the normal race to 7. Fracasso-Verner survived the double hill, opening set of the true double elimination final 7-6, but Lineham grabbed the second set 7-5 to claim the 10-ball event title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, FargoRate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Bourgeois Farms and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#13), will be a $750-added event, scheduled for the weekend of February 16-17 and hosted by Straight Shooters Family Billiards in Fall River, MA.