Super Billiards Expo Day Two

Dennis Hatch

The single elimination format of this years Players Championship left many a sad face at the end of day two of this four day event, as the sixteen pairings on Friday fought to stay in the tournament by trying to win two of the three eight game sets.

Even though the format of best of three sets seemed to give every player the chance to win even if they lost the first set, it soon became apparent that it was non the less like any other single elimination event and the sixteen losing players inevitably found themselves packing their bags at the end of day two.

The following pairings saw many of the star players taking an early departure from the proceedings:

Corey Deuel beat Arsenio Fernandez
Evan Lunda beat Matt Tetrault
Alex Pagulayan beat Tommy D’Alafonso
Jeremy Sossei beat Rajeesh Vanella


Young thirteen year old Sergio Rivas (14th birthday June 2013) who hails from Milwaukee, decided to enter the Pro event this year after finishing 4th in the Amateur Open last year, out of 1,000 entrants. Not a bad achievement for a 12 year old!!!

Sergio soon found himself with the daunting task of playing Dennis Hatch in his first round match, and amazed all who had the privilege of witnessing his talent on the pool table. Not only did Sergio conduct himself in a very professional manner, but soon found himself tied with Dennis with one set apiece. Surprisingly, Dennis could not shake off this young terrier, and soon found himself on the wrong side of a 6-5 scoreline in the third set. 

Dennis leveled it at 6-6, only to see young Sergio miss a bank on the 9 ball into the side pocket in game 13. This was the turning point in the match (especially for Mr. Rivas) as Dennis took the remaining two games to win the match.

Dennis acted out a big wiping of his brow, illustrating that the big man was indeed relieved to have gotten by this very talented youngster. Dennis also lifted Sergio into the air and gave him a big congratulatory hug.

I made a point of chasing down young Sergio after the match, and sat him down and interviewed him to find out what makes him tick.

I was very impressed by the young man's answers to my questions, and came away feeling that I had just interviewed a young man of twenty, not thirteen.

Remarkably, Sergio has only been playing pool competitively since the age of ten, and honed his skills with his father playing at home. It was also pleasing to hear that Sergio only generally plays in weekend events, so that his pool does not interfere with his schooling. The only time that he ignores that rule is if he can make up his class work prior to say a four day event that may pop up now and again.

I specifically asked him if playing such a famous player as Dennis made him nervous, and maybe did he feel the pressure build up as he got further into the match. I was surprised by his answer when he informed me that he was a little nervous during the first two sets, but had no nerves in the third set.

I asked him if he missed the very important bank due to some added pressure, and was put in my place when he said, "No, it was just a difficult bank". Words of wisdom from a thirteen year old coming on thirty three.

It was also nice to hear that his father was on hand to witness this remarkable match, that he will always remember it as the day I nearly took down the Hatchetman.