Sluzalis goes back-to-back in MD State Bar Table Championships
Skip Maloney
Jul. 30, 2019
(l to r): Tom Zippler & Brandon Sluzalis
(l to r): Tom Zippler & Brandon Sluzalis
While the 2019 Maryland State 8-Ball Bar Table Championships didn’t get quite the ‘name draw’ of its predecessor, the 2019 Maryland State 9-Ball Bar Table Championships, the two did share a winner. Back in March at Brews & Cues in Glen Burnie, MD, Brandon Sluzalis went undefeated through a field of 104 to claim the first MD State 9-Ball Bar Table title. On the weekend of July 27-28, at the same location, Sluzalis got into the hot seat of the 8-Ball Bar Table Championships, and in the end, won it, though not before he was challenged and defeated once, by Tom Zippler, who’d won five on the loss side to reach him for a true double elimination final. The event drew 100 entrants to Brews & Cues.
 
Sluzalis, who’d faced and defeated the likes of James Aranas, Shaun Wilkie and Brett Stottlemeyer in the March 9-Ball event, did not run into them playing 8-ball in Glen Burnie. Stottlemeyer and Wilkie did compete, just not against Sluzalis. It took him five matches to get into the hot seat, downing Rusty Hamilton 6-1, and Tony Conn 6-4, before picking up a forfeit win over Marko Stanley. He advanced to defeat Dwayne Laub 6-3 and picked up Gary Kline as an opponent in a winners’ side semifinal.
 
Zippler, in the meantime, had defeated Lance Fessler 6-1, Mark Ford 6-4 and Derick Daya 6-1 before being sent to the loss side by Rick Molineiro 6-3. Molineiro advanced and drew Steve Fleming in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
By identical 6-1 scores, Sluzalis and Molineiro sent Kline and Fleming to the loss side, and squared off against each other in the hot seat match. Sluzalis sent Molineiro to the semifinals 6-2 and waited for Zippler to finish his loss-side run.
 
On the loss side, Kline drew Zippler, who’d defeated Brian Dietzenbach and Rick Winpigler, both 6-4, to reach him. Fleming picked up co-event director Rick Scarlato, Jr., who’d defeated his fellow event director Loye Bolyard 6-4 and Matt Haines, double hill.
 
A pair of 6-2 victories sent Fleming and Zippler to the quarterfinals, eliminating Scarlato and Kline. A third 6-2 win sent Zippler to the semifinals and a rematch against Molineiro, who’d added a few matches to Zippler’s weekend.
 
Zippler exacted his revenge on Molineiro 6-4 and turned to face Sluzalis in a true double elimination final.  A single race to 10 would have yielded the same result as the two races to 6 did. Zippler, on the wings of that intangible ‘momentum’ took the opening set 6-4. Sluzalis came back in the second set to win it and the 8-ball Championship 6-3. The hypothetical ‘race to 10’ would have gone double hill with Sluzalis winning it 10-9.
 
Event directors Rick Scarlato, Jr., and Loye Bolyard thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as sponsors McDermott Cues, Billiard Sports Network, Lights Out Billiards Apparel, Phillippi Custom Cues and TAP Pool League (Chesapeake Region).