Sheerman wins seven on the loss side to win finals rematch against Acosta at Ginky Memorial
Skip Maloney
May 29, 2019
Luis Lopez, Jason Sheerman, Greg Matos and Jimmy Acosta
Luis Lopez, Jason Sheerman, Greg Matos and Jimmy Acosta
No one has ever repeated as the champion of the annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial’s Amateur Tournament. Raj Vannala was the event’s inaugural champion in 2011, and after that, it was won by Daniel Dagotdot, Michael Yednak, Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, Rhys Chen, Tony Liang, and Phil Davis. Last year, Lukas Fracasso-Verner won the title and was the only one of the previous eight champions to compete this year. Delimelkonoglu and Yednak competed in the Open/Pro event. The amateur event maintained its ‘unique winner’ tradition at the 9th annual Ginky Memorial, held this past Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27). Jason Sheerman, defeated in an early round by Jimmy Acosta, won seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Acosta in the finals and become the 9th unique amateur to win the Ginky Memorial. Sheerman had cashed in two previous Ginky Memorial appearances, finishing 25th in 2017 and 17th in 2016. The tournament’s namesake would be proud to know that his annual memorial tournament has crowned a new amateur winner every year since the event was inaugurated. This year’s $2,000-added Amateur event, held under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Pr Tours, drew a record 169 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
The Open/Pro side of the 9th Annual Ginky Memorial was won by Alex Kazakis, who went undefeated through a field of 36 entrants, downing Jayson Shaw in the finals (see separate story). Shaw, by the way, was looking for his third Ginky Memorial title, having been one of only two competitors to have won the Open/Pro side of the event twice, in 2015 & 2017. Mike Dechaine won the inaugural Open/Pro event in 2011, was runner-up to Earl Strickland in 2012, and won it a second time in 2014.
 
In this year’s Amateur event, the 169 entrants were initially divided into upper and lower handicap brackets, merging only as the event drew near the end. With Sheerman already at work on the loss side, Acosta advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Mike Saleh. Greg Matos, in the meantime, squared off against Jim Gutierrez.
 
Acosta got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 victory over Saleh and was joined by Matos, who’d sent Gutierrez to the loss side 7-3. Acosta claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Matos and waited (though not for very long) on what turned out to be the return of Sheerman.
 
It was Saleh who picked up Sheerman, four wins into his loss-side streak that had most recently included a 7-4 win over Juan Guzman, and 8-5 win over Andrew Lee. Gutierrez drew Luis Lopez, who’d defeated Mac Jankov 6-4 and Bob Mapes 7-5 to reach him.
 
Sheerman chalked up his fifth loss-side win 7-1 over Saleh. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Lopez, who’d eliminated Gutierrez 6-3. 
 
Win #6 for Sheerman sent Lopez to the figurative showers 10-5. Win #7 did the same to Greg Matos, who was eliminated 9-7.
 
As it turned out, the quarterfinals and hot seat match were happening simultaneously in this event, going into Monday evening. So, when Matos fell to Acosta in the hot seat match, the semifinals started immediately (this was happening just as the finals of the Open/Pro event were getting underway). So, Acosta didn’t have a lot of time in the hot seat to think about the fact that the competitor he’d sent to the loss side in what must have seemed like a lifetime ago, was on the verge of earning a rematch. And earn it he did.
 
Sheerman took full advantage of his second chance against Acosta. He defeated him 9-7 to become the 9th different player to capture the George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Amateur title.
 
Event director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his entire Steinway Billiards staff, who worked tirelessly, professionally and with remarkable grace throughout a long weekend with over 200 pool players and a contingent of venue regulars who spent time playing chess and backgammon at nearby tables. Robles also acknowledged his regular tour sponsors, including Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, Capelle (Billiards Press.com), PoolontheNet.com, The DeVito Team, as well as the cooperation of the other sponsoring tours (Tri-State and Mezz Tours) and the tireless, non-stop live stream operated by Upstate Al and his broadcast team.
 
Robles also made note to all in attendance of the defining fact that this annual event is held each year in memory of George “Ginky” Sansouci, who passed away in 2011, and whose legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of innumerable players in the New York area and wherever “Ginky” played. The event was attended by members of the Sansouci family, who were accorded ‘front row’ seating privileges for all of the live-streamed matches and remain deeply grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Ginky’s life with a living, breathing memorial to his influence on the game and the people who continue to play it.