Prater takes two out of three over Almonte to claim Q City 9-Ball title

Tommy Prater and Dot’s Cue Club Owner

It’s rare these days to come across a regional tour pool player who has yet to enter our AZBilliards database by winning a cash payout. Rarer still is discovering a player who does so by winning a regional tour event. Not that the AZBilliards database is comprehensive enough to capture every pool player alive, or, for that matter, document every event from New York City to  the beaches of Santa Monica, CA, but the regional tournaments and events we do cover tend to be populated by players who come out regularly and in the end, go home with varying amounts of cash.

This past weekend, June 8-9, the two competitors who finished as winner and runner-up at a stop on the’s Q City 9-Ball Tour arrived on the scene having recorded only one cash payout between them. The winner, Tommy Prater, entered the database for the first time, while runner-up Eddie Almonte recorded only his second cash payout, having finished in third place at a Q City 9-Ball event last August. They played three times to claim the event title; battling for the hot seat and twice, in a true, double-elimination final. The $500-added event drew 32 entrants to Dot’s Cue Club in West Rocky Mount, NC.

The two newcomers to the AZBilliards database were not competing in a field without its share of veteran players on the Q City 9-Ball Tour. Prater’s trip to the hot seat match began with a 5-4 win over the patriarch of the Tate family, Randy Tate (racing to 6). Prater followed with a double-hill win over Tracy Hardie and a 5-2 win over Thomas Sansone which set him up in a winners’ side semifinal against Delton Howard. 

Almonte, in the meantime, was awarded an opening round bye and followed up with two straight, double-hill wins, over his son, Eddie, Jr. and Lionell Swanston. Almonte drew Ron Sellers in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Prater defeated Howard 5-4 (Howard racing to 7) and advanced to the hot seat match. Almonte gave up just a single rack to Sellers and joined him. Prater won (as far as we know) his first hot seat match, defeating Almonte in their first of three, 5-2.

On the loss side, Howard picked up Jose Irrizarry, who’d lost his opening-round match to Lionell Swanston and embarked on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that had started with two 7-4 wins over Matthew Swain and Jerry Cannon, before giving up just a single rack in his next 15 games. He gave up the one to Kaitlyn Giddens and in a rematch, shut out Swanston. Sellers arrived on the loss side and drew Glenn Weatherly, who’d lost his second-round match to Giddens and won four on the loss side, including two, double-hill wins against Jack Whitfield and Steve Page, in the middle of which, like Irrizary, he gave up only a single rack to the competitors in between; Justin Outlaw (0) and Thomas Sansone (1). 

Irrizarry and Howard battled to double hill before Irizzary advanced to the quarterfinals. Sellers ended Weatherly’s loss-side streak 5-2 and joined him. Sellers advanced one more step, downing Irrizarry 5-2 in those quarterfinals.

Sellers’ loss-side campaign was limited to two victories, as Almonte defeated him 6-2 in the semifinals and went on to win the opening set of the true, double-elimination final against Prater, double hill.

Altamonte came on strong in the second set as well, drawing within a game of forcing a second, double-hill match. Prater, though, edged out in front to win the second set 5-4 (Altamonte racing to 6) and his first regional tour title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Dot’s Cue Club for their hospitality, along with title sponsor, (Randy Tate), Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC, TKO Custom Cues and Realty One Group results (Kirk Overcash), Dirty South Grind Apparel (Angela Harlan-Parker), Federal Savings Bank (Alex Narod), CHC Underground (Chris Clary), Run Racks Worldwide Apparel (Wanderer Kelly) and AZBilliards.

The next stop on the’s Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 15-16, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Cary, NC. 

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