Saco and Panzarella share Tri-State victory

By the time that Rich Saco and Mike Panzarella were ready to play the final match of the Tri-State Tour stop on Saturday, Aug. 7, it was actually 2 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 8. Saco had sent Panzarella west 7-3 from among the winners' side final eight, so while the match would have been an interesting ‘revenge' final that would have capped a five-match, one-loss side journey for Panzarella, the two opted to share the first and second place prize money, while officially declaring Saco the winner, as the winners' side opponent. The $500-added, A-D handicapped event drew 48 entrants to Castle Billiards in Edison, NJ. 

After sending Panzarella to the one-loss side, Saco sent Annie Flores over 7-3, as Joe Varvaro was busy getting by Kyle Bubet 6-1. In the hot seat match that followed, Varvaro took a commanding 5-1 lead before Saco rallied to win six in a row and take possession of that hot seat. 

Panzarella began his one-loss side campaign with a 7-4 win over Bob Perkins, and a 7-2 win over Pete Ziemak, which set him up to face Flores. Following a 6-3 win over Dom Christie and a 7-4 win over Rick Shellhouse, it was Chuck Giallorenzo who faced Bubet.  Panzarella got into the quarterfinals with a 7-4 win over Flores, and was joined by Bubet, who'd downed Giallorenzo 6-3.   

Panzarella then defeated Bubet 9-7 in those quarterfinals and moved into what proved to be the final match of the event.  That semifinal match between Panzarella and Varvaro was a contributing factor in the decision not to play a final, because the two battled back and forth to double hill in a lengthy match that ended with Panzarella's fifth and final victory on the one-loss side.