Savoie goes undefeated to win Stop #10 on New England 9-Ball Series

Chad Bazinet, Ben Savoie, and Samantha Barrett

Samantha Barrett downs a much higher-rated Chad Bazinet to face Savoie a second time

Though Ben Savoie gets primary accolades for going undefeated on the New England 9-Ball Series’ 10th stop this past weekend (Sunday, May 3), runner-up Samantha Barrett has earned a bit of press for facing him in the hot seat, meeting and defeating a much higher-rated challenger in the semifinals and taking a second shot at Savoie in the finals. The $500-added event drew 34 entrants to House of Billiards in Hampton Falls, NH.

What was surprising about Barrett’s finish was not the fact that she faced and was defeated twice by the eventual winner, but that she faced and defeated a much higher-rated competitor in the semifinals, Chad Bazinet, whose 653 Fargo rate was the third highest at this tournament, behind only Kerry McAuliffe at 665 and Bob Lewis at 657. Winner Ben Savoie at 611 was #7 on that list of top-rated competitors. Samantha Barrett came into the tournament with a 577 Fargo rate.

Barrett was not, however, just ‘off the boat,’ so to speak. She’d recorded some history at the tables which had not reached us here at AZBilliards. She had reportedly competed a lot when she was in college, but stopped when she entered the working world. She hadn’t been competing very much recently, although she did place 5th at the Super Billiards Expo’s Amateur women’s event in 2015, did finish 3rd in an APA’s Women’s amateur event and 1st in a BCA Northeast Regional Partners 8-Ball event. As a matter of perspective, she was and presumably still is a ‘7’ in APA 8-Ball competition. She is also, along with Stacey Tonkin and Catherine Fiorilla, one of the co-founders of the recently-launched Women’s Pool Alliance, which will hold its second event in about three weeks (May 23) at Amazin’ Billiards in Malden, MA.

Working, at the start, in the lower bracket, Barrett got by two male (Jason Seavey & Andy Downs) and one female competitor (Rachelle Rainey) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Dorothy Gauvin. Savoie, in the meantime, in the upper bracket, downed his first two opponents, Mike Nicoloro & Michael Barbagallo by a combined score of 12-2, and then, defeated Beau Powers 6-4 to draw the aforementioned Kerry McAuliffe in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Savoie and McAuliffe battled to double hill before Savoie prevailed 5-5 (McAuliffe racing to 6). Barrett, in the meantime, racing to 7, gave up only a single rack sending Gauvin, racing to 4, to the loss side. Savoie took the first of their two matches 7-3 (Barrett racing to 5), claiming the hot seat and awaiting her return.

On the loss side, McAuliffe picked up Bazinet, who was wending his way to a fateful meet-up with Barrett in the semifinals. Bazinet had lost his second round, upper bracket match and was working on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would end in those semifinals. He’d recently eliminated Beau Powers and Dan Simoneau, both 6-1. Gauvin drew Fred Gilis, Jr., who was working on a six-match, loss-side streak that had included recent wins over the competitor who’d sent him to the loss side, Kyle King 5-1 and Rachelle Rainey 6-1.

In a straight-up race to 6, Bazinet downed McAuliffe 6-4, as Gilis, Jr. was defeating Gauvin 6-1. Bazinet ended Gilis, Jr.’s loss-side streak rather dramatically, shutting him out in the quarterfinals that followed and advancing to face Bassett in the semifinals.

The Fargo Rate Web site, given Bazinet and Barrett’s respective rates (653/537), calculated that the odds were heavily in favor of Bazinet; 62.5% to 37.5%. But in a clear representation of what, in football, is known as the ‘any given Sunday’ rule, Barrett beat the odds, battling Bazinet to double hill before prevailing in the deciding game for a second shot at Savoie, waiting for her in the hot seat.

Fargo Rate calculations actually gave Barrett a better chance at winning the final; a 39.7% chance versus Savoie’s 60.3%. Savoie, apparently did not get the memo. He gave up only a single rack, completed his undefeated run and claimed the event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at House of Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Piku Tips and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#11), scheduled for this weekend (Saturday, May 8), will be a $500-added event, hosted by Run ‘Em Racks in Johnston, RI.