Penultimate Day at U.S. Open 10 Ball Championships

Saturday began with matches on the one-loss side. Mike Hutcheson took out Phillip Tieu 10-3 and Dennis Hatch got by Vilmos Foldes 10-6. Mark Vidal shot well to defeat former World 9-Ball runner-up Roberto Gomez 10-8 and, in one of the best matches of the week, Johnny Archer slipped past Oscar Dominguez 10-9 after winning a very tricky safety war. Brandon Shuff had no trouble with Rodney Morris and won their match 10-4 and John Morra defeated Drake Niepoetter 10-7. Raymond Faraon kept in gear as he passed Oliver Mendinilla 10-5 and Robert Chavez put Hunter Lombardo on vacation with a 10-5 victory.

Justin Bergman kept hope alive with a 10-3 win over Lee Brett and James Blackburn lost 10-8 to Mark Tademy. Shane McMinn is in fine form as he won over Eric Durbin 10-4 and Tony Chohan is showing no rust as he bested Danny Olson 10-9. It was Shaun Murphy prevailing over Michael Robertson 10-6 while Jayson Shaw commanded the table and beat Scott Frost 10-1.

The next round on the one-loss side was critical. The winners not only stayed alive but were also guaranteed some money while the losers would go home with no check. Dennis Hatch began us with a 10-1 win over Mike Hutchison  and Johnny Archer bested Marc Vidal (we have not seen a score on this match as yet). Jeffrey Ignacio is living up to his reputation as he won over Brandon Shuff 10-6 while John Morra is looking good and got some more momentum as he won over Raymond Faraon 10-5.

Rafael (Martinez) Chavez had surprisingly little trouble with Justin Bergman as he won their match 10-4 and Shane McMinn coasted past Mark Tademy 10-1. Jeremy Sossei sent Tony Chohan to the airport with a 10-8 victory and Jayson Shaw ended this round by taking out Shaun Murphy 10-5.

In the next round Dennis Hatch dominated Erik Hjorleifson 10-1 and Shane Van Boening nipped Johnny Archer 10-8 while Jeffrey Ignacio continued his journey with a 10-5 win over Greg Harada Jr. Josh Roberts played excellently and beat John Morra 10-4 and Rafael Martinez Chavez beat Warren Kiamco 10-4. Shane McMinn ended the run for Tony Robles 10-6, Skylar Woodward did the same for Jeremy Soseei 10-6 and Dennis Orcollo Stopped Jayson Shaw by only the slimmest of margins 10-9.

Our next one-loss round began with Shane Van Boening beating Dennis Hatch 10-4. Josh Roberts then surprised Jeffrey Ignacio 10-8 and Shane McMinn sent Rafael Martinez Chavez home 10-6.

Action thus far on the winners side found Mike Dechaine edging Warren Kiamco on the hill 10-9 and Thorsten Hohmann firing a very hot hand to whitewash Tony Robles 10-0. Darren Appleton continues to excel and ran over Skylar Woodward 10-4 and Sal Butera had a great match that he won against Dennis Orcollo 10-8. Justin Hall sent Erik Hjorleifson left with a 10-9 squeaker and Alex Pagulayan proved that Shane Van Boening can be beaten as he got past SVB 10-7.

Corey Deuel continues undefeated as he beat Greg Harada Jr 10-4 and our final match in the round saw Stan Tourangeau defeating Josh Roberts 10-7.

Thorsten Hohmann isn't out to defeat you. He is there to beat you to death. In his match against Mike Dechaine fans witnessed an extreme example of precision pool. Hohmann's eyes tell the whole story. He expects every shot to work perfectly and most often they do. He is the definition of the phrase "no doubt". Hohmann took every advantage he was given and was simply running out table after table. Hot off his win at the World Tournament of 14.1 in New York his cue ball control was flawless as he jumped out to an 8-3 lead while Mike Dechaine could only sit and watch. Mike was playing well when he got the opportunity but his break was not working as well as normal and he was just not getting any shots under his belt to make him comfortable at the table.

For Dechaine this had to be a very  frustrating moment. Even when Hohmann missed a two ball in rack #12 he left such a severe cut that while Dechaine could make the ball he had to turn the cue ball loose and it ran past shot position so he had to play a safety rather stay at the table. Dechaine did win the safety battle that ensued when Hohmann had to jump to a thin cut and missed the object ball. Dechaine ran the table to trail 8-4 with the break. When Dechaine broke the next rack he had no shot on the one that did not include a scratch. Safety. Hohmann married to the eight ball. He made the hit however and on his next turn at the table he jumped the one into the side and ran until he was on the hill. 9-4.

In the final rack Hohmann was so impressive that Mike Dechaine got up and shook his hand with three balls still on the table. Granted, they were a stop shot runout, but you just do not see that kind of respect offered often in pool.

Hohmann will now go on to face mike Dechaine as Dechaine won his match over Warren Kiamco 10-9 in what must have been a thriller.

On the table next to the Hohmann match we found Darren Appleton doing battle with Sal Butera. WHen we tuned in the match was tied at 6 apiece. Sal, of course, is the son of Hall of Famer Lou Butera and had just defeated none other than Dennis Orcollo. Butera has always been a well-respected player who found the spotlight in big bar table tournaments and the fact that this event is on bar tables suits him just fine, thank you. But Appleton is a bulldog and he is the exception to the rule in that his bite is much worse than his bark. Appleton took the next three racks to go hill-6.

Butera made a pretty runout to win the next rack and get back with 9-7 but he knew his situation was tenuous. The break belonged to Appleton. The table broke apart and came back to gather ugly with clusters. Appleton opened with a safety. After a little back and forth Butera drew back within one at 9-8. But the case game belonged to Appleton and he prevailed in the end 10-8.

Further down the bracket Justin Hall helped himself to a win over Alex Pagulayan 10-8 and Corey Deuel defeated Stan Tourangeau 10-4. This leaves Thorsten Hohmann, Darren Appleton, Justin Hall and Corey Deuel as the four players left who are still undefeated at tis time.

The 6 PM round had four great matches going and we were able to sit ringside at the Pagulayan/McMinn match and nearby to the Shane Van Boening/Mike Dechaine Matchup. Dechaine and Van Boening began their match first and were tied at 5 games apiece when Pagulayan and McMinn entered their fray. McMinn and Pagulayan began by trading racks. Soon they were knotted at two apiece. But then McMinn took the next rack and when Pagulayan scratched in the next game McMinn wound up with a dead combo to lead 4-2. Worse, Pagulayan scratched on his next break shot. McMinn capitalized on the error. 5-2. When McMinn broke and ran the next rack to lead 6-2 Pagulayan took a break to recoup.

Next door Dechaine and Van Boening each moved up a notch to 6-6 and then again to lay at 7-7. Neither man was willing to give an inch and no one could grab the momentum from the other so the next two racks resulted in an 8-8 lockup. A race to two for survival. Dechaine scored first to get to the hill 9-8 but it was Van Boenings turn to break. Van Boening made four balls on the break and had a shot at the one. After a three-four combo he had a roadmap and followed it to join Dechaine on the hill. 9-9 and somebody has to go.

Dechaine had the last break but the table was tough and he turned it over early to Van Boening. He would only rise again for the handshake as Van Boening cleaned up for the narrow win 10-9.

Pagulayan came back from break but mother momentum had not switched chairs. Pagulayan scratched on his break. McMinn took the gift home and led 7-2. McMInn broke and ran the next rack to go 8-2 against the former World Champion and you could see his confidence in every stroke. There is nothing like having faith in yourself and you could see it in every move McMinn was making.  He took the next rack for hill-2. McMinn made four balls on the break and cruised through the remaining balls to take what is probably the biggest win of his career against Pagulayan 10-2.

Our final round of the evening featured Thorsten Hohmann V Darren Appleton and Justin Hall V Corey Deuel. We were ringside with Appleton and Hohmann while Deuel and Hall fought beside us.

Appleton won the lag on table one but broke dry. Hohmann took the rack home to grab first blood. Hohmann now had the advantage as it was his break but he wound up snookered on the lowest ball left on the table after the break, the two. There was also a nasty little cluster of the four, six and seven balls over by one side pocket with the four being mostly hidden by the other two balls. Hohmann played a good safety on the two that Appleton tried to kick in but failed. Hohmann had the two and three balls at his command but that cluster still lingered like a migraine. Thorsten got the only shape off  of the three that allowed him a shot at the four and he converted, then he played a six-seven combo to destroy the cluster and move out to a two-nil lead.

That would not fare well with Appleton but his table broke ugly with lots of the balls in a quarter of the table. He danced around them like a deer over fences and cleared the table to trail 2-1. Hohmann ran down to a tough shot on the six that he sunk up-table by splitting the pocket. He finished off the table to regain his two game margin 3-1. Appleton came right back with a break and run to trail 3-2. For the first time in the match Hohmann did not have a direct shot at the one ball after the break. He had to play safe and left Appleton down-table with three balls blocking the cue balls straight path. Appleton called a kick shot into the corner that failed but the miss wound up with him safe. Hohmann kicked the one ball two rails into an even tougher safety. Appleton was able to kick two rails but he double-kissed the one and left it close to the corner for Hohmann to pluck. Hohmann leads 4-2.

Appleton again broke dry. He bewilderedly took his chair. Hohmann made a jump shot on the one ball but his position came up short and he played safe. Not safe enough. Appleton slid the two into the side but could not clear the rack on that inning. Hohmann wound up with a tough carom to sink the ten but he made it to extend his lead to 5-2. (Remember that Hohmann had just beaten Appleton only days earlier in the finals of the 14.1 event. Both men wanted to make a statement here.)

Hohmann played a great safe in the next rack that had Appleton jumping. He made the hit but once again Hohmann had a cherry shot to begin. A two ball straight into the corner. To everyone's amazement his cue ball followed the two into the corner and a light shone down on Appleton's corner. 5-3. Appleton next broke dry for the third time. But Hohmann uncharacteristically missed his first shot into the side pocket. Appleton faced a tough table with two clusters and most balls near the rails. Appleton had to kick at the three ball and once again he left an easy shot for Hohmann to work. But this was a tough table. He made it look easy as he massaged the balls into position and soon took another bead to lead 6-3.

Hohmann just kept stretching it out. He made a ball on the next break and then played a carom off of the one to sink the ten for the win. 7-3. Appleton is a grinder and you can never count him out. He won the next rack to get to 7-4 and needed a chance to get back to the table quickly. He got that chance when Hohmann scratched on the next break. After that we were at 7-5 and Appleton was right back in the match. But the pool gods were working against Appleton on the break. He broke dry for the fourth time.

Hohmann played a safe on the one. Again Appleton was kicking. And again his kick failed him. Hohmann got ball in hand. Hohmann tried to break out the two ball from the eight on his first shot but missed the collision. He laid safe and left Appleton kicking again. And again he left Hohmann with an open shot. And again Hohmann made the most of it. 8-5. Hohmann broke and ran the next rack to get to the hill 9-5.

Unbelievably, Appleton once again broke dry. Hohmann claimed the rack and the trip to the hot seat match10-5.

On table two Justin Hall opened up with a fine break and run. Deuel answered with one of his own to tie us at 1. Hall took the next rack and Deuel returned the favor to lock us up at 2. Rinse and repeat. 3-3. In the next rack Hall took a shortcut home and sank a five- ten ball combo that gave him the point. When Hall took the next rack as well he had a still less-than-comfortable lead at 5-3.  Deuel found himself with a tough downtime rail cut on the eight ball in the next rack and left Hall out. 6-3. Hall won the next to lead 7-3.

The wheels were falling off for Deuel. Whenever Hall missed he 'missed good" and left Deuel with low-percentage shots. Soon it was 8-3 and Deuel would have to dig deep. But he broke dry and Hall got to come right back to the table. That would take Hall to the hill at 9-3. Deuel won the next rack to drag one back and trail 9-4. When Deuel had to turn the next rack early he saw the handwriting and conceded the match with six balls left on the table. Justin Hall would play for the hot seat.

We will continue these daily updates on AZB but you may also watch the action in real-time with a live stream and updated brackets presented at