Ramirez stops strong loss-side bid by Klein to take home his first 2019 Predator Pro Am title
Skip Maloney
Sep. 23, 2019
(l to r): Lidio Ramirez, Luis Carrasco, Hannah Fields, Matt Klein
(l to r): Lidio Ramirez, Luis Carrasco, Hannah Fields, Matt Klein
They are two of the New York Tri-State area’s heavyweights, so to speak, and they clashed in the finals of the Predator Pro Am Tour’s September 21-22 stop at Steinway Billiards. Lidio Ramirez, the tour’s second-ranked A+ player (behind Miguel Laboy, who won the stop last weekend) was looking to chalk up his first 2019 victory, having finished as runner-up twice; once, on the Predator Tour (April) and once, on the Tri-State Tour (July). Matt Klein, the tour’s #1-ranked B+ competitor (ahead of Jaydev Zaveri) and in the midst of his best earnings year to date, by far, entered the tournament with three wins on the 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour, and two runner-up finishes on the Predator Pro Am, including the Empire State Championships. He’s been 1st, 2nd or 3rd in seven of the 11 tournaments in which he’s cashed in 2019.
 
They didn’t meet until the finals. Ramirez advanced to the hot seat, while Klein lost his opening round match and chalked up 10 loss-side wins to face Ramirez in the finals. Ramirez completed an undefeated run with a victory in the finals of the $1,000-added event that drew 71 entrants to Steinway in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
With Klein at work on the loss side of the bracket, Ramirez advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Ricky Geronimo. The other winners’ side semifinal matched Luis Carrasco against Hannah Fields, who was making only her second appearance on the Predator Pro Am Tour.
 
Ramirez and Geronimo fought to double hill before Ramirez prevailed and moved on to the hot seat match. He was joined by Fields, who’d defeated Carrasco 8-6 in what she described (via Facebook) as “the most challenging and exhausting match (she’d) ever had.
 
“It was fun, we both played smart and neither of us backed down,” she went on to say. “He made me work for every ball but eventually I capitalized and won by a hair.”
 
She described the subsequent hot seat match versus Ramirez as “humbling.” She watched Ramirez (as she put it) “run her (posterior) over,” as he claimed the hot seat 11-8 (she started the match with seven on the wire).
 
Over on the loss side, Klein chalked up wins # 6 and #7 against John Stiles (7-4) and Bryan Toolsee (7-3) to draw Geronimo. Carrasco picked up his second straight female opponent, Debra Pritchett, who’d defeated KC Clayton 6-1 and Jason Goberdhan (the tour’s #2-ranked C+ player, just behind Tony Ignomirello) 7-5.
 
Carrasco downed Pritchett 7-4, as Geronimo ended up on the wrong side of his second straight double hill fight, losing to Klein 7-6. Klein then ended Carrasco’s short, loss-side run 7-4 in the quarterfinals.
 
Hannah Fields would describe her semifinal meetup with Klein as “an amazingly fun match.” She noted in her FB report that his “personality” made the beating she received at his hands feel like “less of an ass-kicking” than it was. Klein’s 10-7 victory (Fields started with five on the wire, racing to the 10), gave him the chance to chalk up his first 2019 Predator Pro Am Tour title.
 
Ramirez had other ideas, like chalking up his first 2019 victory, period. And he did it. He downed Klein 7-5 to claim the event title.
 
A full-field, 16-entrant Second Chance event saw Ray Feliciano and Gary Bozigian battle to double hill in the finals, before Feliciano prevailed to take home the $160 first-place prize. Bozigian was the $100 runner-up. Tenzin Jorden and Suzzie Wong each won $30 for their 3rd place tie.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his own Predator Pro Am team, to include his lovely wife, Gail. The Predator Pro Am Tour will return to Steinway Billiards in a little less than a month, when they host the $7,000-added Steinway Classic from October 15-17. Two days later, on the weekend of October 19-20, Robles’ Silent Assassin Productions, with the sponsorship of Dr. Michael Fedak, will bring the 6th Annual NYC 8-Ball Championships to Steinway Billiards.