Rasmussen comes back from one-loss side to win BAAT stop and maintain top ranking

It may have only been the finals of a single stop on the Bay Area Amateur Tour, but it was, as well, a battle for final top ranking between Niki Rasmussen and Jessica Barnes. Rasmussen came into the $480-added event, which had drawn 24 competitors to Hammerheads in Holiday, FL on the weekend of October 16-17, as the top-ranked player on the tour, with three wins to her credit. Barnes was in third place, with only a single win on the tour, but having finished ahead of Rasmussen in five of the nine stops. They were separated by only 100 points (200 are awarded for a victory), with Kelly Cavanaugh between them.  By the end of the third round of play, however, Cavanaugh was out, Rasmussen was playing from the one-loss side and Barnes was among the winners' side final four, destined for the hot seat.  Rasmussen, though, went on to win five straight on the one-loss side to meet and defeat Barnes twice in a true double elimination final.

Rasmussen's initial undoing came at the hands of Lisa McElroy (ranked #15), who'd sent her west from among the winners' side final eight. From among the four winners left, Lana Loomis (# 11) shutout McElroy and faced Barnes in the hot seat match. Barnes had chalked up a 5-4 victory over tour director Stephanie Mitchell (ranked # 4; not a double hill match; Mitchell had to reach 6). Barnes did unto Loomis, as Loomis had done to McElroy – shutting her out - and waited in the hot seat, with visions of passing Rasmussen in the rankings.

Rasmussen's five-match winning streak on the one-loss side got a shaky start with a double hill win over Sandy Titone. She followed that up with a 6-2 win over Stacey Lantz, which set her up to face Mitchell. McElroy faced Tracey Mullen, who'd defeated Chris Fields and Bettina Chase, both 5-2, to reach her. A McElroy/Rasmussen re-match was avoided when Mullen downed McElroy 5-1. Rasmussen faced Mullen in the quarterfinals following a 5-3 win over Mitchell.

Mullen, who'd been sent west by Barnes, was looking for a re-match herself, but her one-loss side streak ended at three matches, when Rasmussen downed her in a double hill match in those quarterfinals. Loomis, who was already assured of her best finish on the tour this year, ended up in third place on the heels of a dominating 8-1 victory by Rasmussen in the semifinals.

So, the battle was joined. - # 2 in the hot seat facing # 1 – in a true double elimination final that would decide both the event and determine top ranking on the tour. Rasmussen dominated the opening set 6-1, and finished off the 6-3 second set with a break and run that put something of an exclamation point on her winning, top-ranked season.

While Rasmussen went in and came out as the tour's top-ranked player, the second and third place players switched positions; Barnes to second, Cavanaugh to third, as did the fourth and fifth place finishers; Mitchell moving up to fourth, Rachel Delaney moving down to fifth. The BAAT Tour will conclude with a $1,000-added, invitational Grand Finale (no points), scheduled for November 13 at Stroker's Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL.