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Zeng goes undefeated to win MVP Raxx 9-Ball Classic (650 Under)

Erwin Jao, Max Watanabe, Mhet Vergara, Holden Chin, Elvis Rodriguez and Sean Zeng

As we noted in a Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour report last July (2021), Sean Zeng had made something of a habit of cashing in at least one stop on that tour per year. In fact, since 2018, he’d cashed in exactly one event per year (that we know about), commencing with his 7th place finish on the Joss NE tour that year and three years later, a tour win on the weekend of June 26-27, 2021. The single cash finish/win made 2021 his best earnings year to date. The cash he brought home after going undefeated this past weekend (Aug. 20-21) to win the Mhet Vergara ProAm (MVP) Tour’s Raxx 9-Ball Classic (for FargoRates of 650 and under) turned this year into his best earnings year. The $1,500-added event drew 63 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Runner-up Max Watanabe was looking to make the MVP Tour stop his first and only 2022 cash finish, as well. Though a veteran of both the former Tri-State Tour, the current Predator Tri-State Tour and the former Predator ProAm Tour, at which he has claimed numerous event titles over the years, dating back to 2015, and recording his best earnings year in 2019, he had yet to cash in 2022.

Zeng and Watanabe almost met in the hot seat of this MVP Tour stop. Zeng had gotten by Adrian Daniel, Aman Khan, Ricardo Mejia and Roberto Mendoza, to draw Luis Genao in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Watanabe, in the meantime, had sent Mike Callaghan, Glenn Ramsey and Shawn Sookhai to the loss side, before running into Horelbin Ramos, who put up a double hill fight against him. That double hill struggle may have taken all the ‘starch’ out of Watanabe’s game as he entered the other winners’ side semifinal against Erwin Jao.

Zeng got into the hot seat match with an 8-6 win over Genao. Watanabe fell to Jao 8-5, sending Jao up against Zeng. Zeng and Jao locked up in a double hill fight, as well, with Zeng eventually claiming the hot seat and packing Jao off to the semifinals against Watanabe.

On the loss side, Watanabe opened up against Raymond Paragas, who’d lost a second-round battle against Elvis Rodriguez and then embarked on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Sylvester Palacios 7-3 and Pat Fleming 7-5. Genao drew Elvis Rodriguez, who, right after sending Paragas over, lost a third-round match to Roberto Mendoza and went on a five-match, loss-side streak that had just sent John Francisco and Starling Duverge home (7-4, 7-3).

Rodriguez did what he could to secure his place in a rematch quarterfinal against Paragas with a 7-3 win over Genao. Watanabe spoiled the table reunion with a 7-3 win over Paragas. Watanabe stopped Rodriguez’ loss-side run at five, with a 7-3 win in the quarterfinals.

Watanabe then spoiled Erwin Jao’s hopes for a second shot at Zeng, waiting in the hot seat, with a 7-4 semifinal win. In the only set that proved to be necessary, Zeng defeated Watanabe 8-2 to claim the event title.

Tour director Mhet Vergara thanked Holden Chin and his Raxx Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Peri Cues, OB Cues, Queens Bodega and Inthbx apparel. The next stop on the MVP Tour was underway as this report was being filed, the $5k-added, MVP Tour New York State Championships, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

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Rodriguez takes two out of three over Ramirez to claim Predator Tri-State title

Roberto Rodriguez and Lidio Ramirez

They played three times, once in the hot seat match and twice in the finals. Each match came down to a single, deciding game. Lidio Ramirez took the first match, sending Rodriguez to the semifinals. Rodriguez came back to double-dip Ramirez in the finals to win this past weekend’s (June 11-12) stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour. The $1,000-added event drew 36 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens, NY. 

Separately, they worked their way through the field to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match; Ramirez versus Silvestre Palacios and Rodriguez against Paul Lyons. Ramirez sent Palacios to the loss side 7-5, while Rodriguez gave up only a single rack to Lyons, downing him 6-1 to join Ramirez in the hot seat match. Their first of three got underway and moved to its 18th game before Ramirez dropped the 9-ball in the 19th game and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Palacios picked up Hunter Sullivan, who’d defeated Adrian Daniel and Luis Jimenez, both 7-5, to reach him. Lyons drew Euryel Castillo, who’d recently eliminated Jason Goberdhan 7-5 and Linda Cheung 8-3. 

Palacios sent Sullivan home 7-3 and waited for Lyons to complete a double hill win over Castillo to join him in the quarterfinals. Palacios took that quarterfinal match 7-3, only to have his loss-side winning streak stopped at two wins by Rodriguez in the semifinals 8-5. 

The true double elimination finals were on. They battled back and forth to double hill and Rodriguez brought their match count to 1-1. They fought to double hill in the second set and Rodriguez finished it to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 25-26, will be the Predator Tri-State’s Annual Invitational Tournament, to be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

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Francisco comes from the loss side, again, to win his first on Predator Tri-State Tour

John Francisco & Carlos Duque

Four years ago, during a stop on Tony Robles’ Predator Pro Am Tour at Amsterdam Billiards, New York’s John Francisco, in the midst of what is still his best recorded earnings year (2108), was sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal and came back to face and defeat in the finals, the man who’d sent him there, Ehmunrao Toocaram. It was Francisco’s first recorded win and this past weekend (May 21-22), he chalked up his second, this time on the Predator Tri-State Tour. He once again took a loss-side route to the winners’ circle, although it was a considerably shorter route than the one he’d taken in 2018. The $1,000-added event drew 33 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Francisco made it to the hot seat match in this event, his first (that we know about) since 2017, when he was denied the hot seat and eliminated in the finals of a stop on the Tri-State Tour. He duplicated all but the last step of that end-game maneuver this time out. He got by Kevin Shin and Abel Rosario to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Jason Goberdhan. In the meantime, his eventual hot seat and final opponent, Carlos Duque navigated his way through Brian Schell (double hill), Amanda Andries and Tom Crane to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with Mike Pruitt. 

Francisco moved into the hot seat on the heels of a 7-4 victory over Goberdhan and was joined by Duque, who survived his second double hill match, against Pruitt. Duque took a commanding lead in the hot seat match and held on to it, sending Francisco to the semifinals 8-3.

On the loss side, Goberdhan picked up Adrian Daniel, who’d eliminated Thomas Schreiber 7-4 and survived a double hill match against Jaydev Zaveri, to reach him. Pruitt drew Euryel Castillo, who’d knocked out Bob Toomey 7-1 and Tom Crane 9-5.

Daniel gave up only a single rack to Goberdhan and advanced to the quarterfinals. Pruitt and Castillo battled to double hill before Pruitt advanced to join Daniel. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Daniel advanced to the semifinals after shutting Pruitt out. Francisco came within two racks of doing the same to Daniel in the semifinals, earning himself a second shot at Duque with a 7-2 win.

In the extended-race final, Francisco reached his ‘magic number,’ extending the race to 8. In the end, it proved to be a double hill battle for the title, with Francisco winning it 8-7. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as title sponsor Predator, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30), will be the $2,000-added, 10th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

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Wooley wins seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Alli in Tri-State Tour finals

(l to r): Ed Wooley & Brandonne Alli

For a little-known name, Ed Wooley certainly made a strong statement at the Sunday, February 9 stop on the Tri-State Tour. Wooley got sent to the loss side relatively early at the $1,000-added event that drew 33 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, but came back through seven loss-side matches to meet and defeat hot seat occupant, Brandonne Alli. Like Wooley, Alli  was looking to chalk up his first Tri-State win. Unlike Alli, Wooley (according to our records) was looking to record his first cash payout ever. Putting an exclamation point on his loss-side run and appearance in the finals, Wooley shut Alli out in the final match to claim the event title.
 
Once he’d sent Wooley to the loss side, Luis Jimenez advanced to a winners’ side quarterfinal, where he was defeated by Joe Mazzeo 6-4. Mazzeo moved on to face Alli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Adrian Daniel and Michael Graf met in the other one.
 
Daniel and Graf locked up in a double hill battle that eventually sent Daniel ahead to the hot seat match. Alli joined him, once he’d completed his 6-2 win over Mazzeo. Alli defeated Daniel 5-3 to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, it was Mazzeo who picked up Wooley, four matches into his loss-side winning streak. He’d recently completed a successful shutout rematch against Jimenez and the first of three straight double hill wins, against Artur Trzeciak. Graf drew Qian Chen, who’d defeated Hunter Sullivan 5-1 and Shweta Zaveri 6-4 to reach him.
 
Wooley won his second straight double hill match, eliminating Mazzeo. Graf defeated Chen 6-4 and then, in the quarterfinals, was eliminated by Wooley in his third double hill match.
 
Wooley sort of took his foot off the gas in the semifinals, allowing Adrian Daniel to win a rack, but put pedal to the metal in the subsequent finals, shutting Alli out to claim his first (recorded) tour win.
 
Tri-State Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Paul Dayton Cues, Pool & Billiards, Liquid Weighted Cues, JohnBender Cues, Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this Sunday, Feb. 16, will be a $1,000-added 10-Ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Ramirez is undefeated on Tri-State stop

(l to r): Lidio Ramirez & Adrian Daniel

Coming off his best earnings year to date, Lidio Ramirez started the new year off right with an undefeated run through a field of 50 entrants to chalk up his first 2020 Tri-State Tour event title. Ramirez cashed in eight 2019 events; six on the Predator Pro Am Tour and two on the Tri-State Tour. He won a Predator stop and was runner-up twice, once on each tour. Runner-up Adrian Daniel was looking for his first win on the Tri-State Tour in three years, and his first cash finish anywhere since November 2018, when he finished 7th at the 2018 NJ State 8-Ball Championships. The $1,000-added event on Sunday, January 12 drew its 50 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
Ramirez’ path went through Jose Mendez, Russell Masciotti and Kevin Shin to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match versus Edwin Gutkin. Adrian Daniel, in the meantime, squared off against Qian Chen.
 
Ramirez sent Gutkin to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Daniel, who’d defeated Chen 6-2. In his first Tri-State hot seat match in two years, Ramirez downed Daniel 9-6.
 
On the loss side, Gutkin picked up Shin, who, following his defeat at the hands of Ramirez in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had gone on to eliminate Ray Feliciano 7-5 and Eugene Ok 7-4. Chen drew a rematch versus Debra Pritchett, whom he’d sent to the loss side 7-5 in one of the other winners’ side quarterfinals.
 
Shin advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 win over Gutkin. He was joined by Pritchett, who’d successfully wreaked her vengeance on Chen 7-4. Shin defeated Pritchett 9-7 in those quarterfinals and joined Daniel in a mutual semifinal quest for a second shot at Ramirez in the hot seat.
 
Daniel put an end to Shin’s four-match, loss-side streak 7-4 in those semifinals. With that intangible benefit of momentum, Daniel took what appeared to be a commanding lead in the finals that followed and was ahead by 4, when he reached the hill at 8. Ramirez, though, came back to win the four he needed to make it a double hill battle and sunk the final 9-ball to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaners, Paul Dayton Cues, Liquid Weighted Cues, Pool & Billiards, Bender Cues, Billiards Engineering, and Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 19, will be hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Watanabe and Klein start but don’t quite finish Tri-State stop, leaving Watanabe with event title

Max Watanabe & Matt Klein

They met in the opening round of play at the Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, December 8; Max Watanabe and Matt Klein. Familiar opponents on the Tri-State Tour, friends, two of the tour’s highest ranked players. Max at #1 among A players, Matt at #3. The kinds of players who might, at larger tournaments, be seeded so that they wouldn’t meet in an event’s opening round. They did here and Max prevailed 7-4, moving on to advance through the field, all the way to the hot seat. Matt, in the meantime, went on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that ended up giving him a shot at redemption in the form of a second chance against Max in the event finals.

That didn’t happen. They opted out of meeting a second time, allowing Max’s earlier 7-4 win to stand as the defining match between them. On this day, at least. Max, undefeated, claimed the official title of the $1,000-added event that drew 28 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Max’s path after Klein in the opening round went through Joe Mazzeo 7-5 and Debra Pritchett 10-8 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Chris Schmidt. Zain Sundaram, in the meantime, who’d started his day by shutting out Jason Goberdhan, allowing Bob Toomey only a single rack in a 6-1 victory and downing Jim Gutierrez 6-3, drew Jose Carlos Ramos in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Watanabe defeated Schmidt 7-5 and in the hot seat, faced Sundaram, who’d sent Ramos to the loss side 7-1. Watanabe played what proved to be his last match of the day, utilizing some strong safety play to claim the hot seat 8-6 over Sundaram.

Klein, in the meantime, was navigating his way through the loss side. He got by Mikhail Kim, Steve Kalloo and Luis Lopez, before surviving a double hill match against Debra Pritchett. He went on to down Eddie Medina 7-3 and drew Schmidt, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Ramos picked up a re-match versus Adrian Daniel, whom he’d defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal and who’d eliminated Mike Strassberg 6-4 and Jason Goberdhan 6-3 to earn the rematch.

Klein downed Schmidt 7-3 and in the quarterfinal, faced Ramos who’d defeated Daniel a second time 6-3. Klein chalked up his seventh win of the day, sending Ramos home 8-5.

Momentum aside, Klein’s path through Zain Sundaram in the semifinals was not as easy as he might have liked or predicted. They battled back and forth and it was Sundaram who reached the hill (7) first. He gave Klein the smallest of openings in the next rack and Klein forced a 15th deciding game. He won that game to earn a well-deserved second shot against Watanabe, waiting for him in the hot seat.

With some good-natured trash talk and the opportunity to get home a little early, the two opted out of the final. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time of the negotiations, Watanabe claimed the title.

Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The Tri-State Tour will take a couple of weeks off, as the Predator Pro Am Tour holds its season finale at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY this coming weekend and is followed by an Open Date for the Tri-State Tour. The tour will return on the final weekend of 2019 (December 29) for a $1,000-added, A-B-C-D event at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Tri-State Tour stages ‘Battles of the high ‘Cs’ as Goberdhan goes undefeated to win them all

(l to r): Jason Goberdhan & Bob Toomey

The Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, November 24 was restricted to C and D players on the tour and 22 of them showed up to compete; 18, split evenly between C players (including four of the tour’s top five women) and C+ players, to go along with three D+ players and a single D. Six of the tour’s top seven C+ players competed (missing was #6, Mac Jankov), and three of them ended up in the two winners’ side semifinals. Jason Goberdhan, #7 on that list of the tour’s top C+ players went undefeated through the field, downing the #2 C+ player, Bob Toomey twice; hot seat and finals. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
The battle between the #1 and #2 C+ players – Mike Strassberg and Bob Toomey – took place in the second round and yielded a somewhat predictable double hill fight, won by Toomey. He advanced to send Tom McManamon (C) to the loss side 6-4 and draw Brian Schell (#6 C) in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Goberdhan, in the meantime, after an opening round bye, sent Bianca Martinez (#4 C) and Teddy Lapadula (#4 C+) to the loss side and picked up Adrian Daniel (#3 C+) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Goberdhan and Toomey advanced to the hot seat match with identical 6-4 victories over Daniel and Schell, respectively. Goberdhan then sent Toomey to the semifinals 6-2 and waited in the hot seat for his return.
 
Over on the loss side, Schell and Daniel picked up C+ Players Rick Rodriguez (#5) and Dax Druminski (#15). Rodriguez, sent to the loss side by Daniel in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had subsequently eliminated C+ player #1, Strassberg, double hill and shut out C+ player #4, Lapadula, to get Schell. Druminski had eliminated Michelle Brotons (the tour’s #1 female and #1 C player) 7-4 and Marc Antonetti 6-4 to draw Daniel.
 
Druminski and Rodriguez handed Daniel and Schell their second straight loss and advanced to the quarterfinals; Druminski 6-3 over Daniel and Rodriguez, double hill over Schell. Rodriguez then defeated Druminski 6-3 in those quarterfinals.
 
Toomey put a stop to Rodriguez’ ambitions for further advancement with a shutout over him in the semifinals. In the end, the tour’s #7 C+ player (Goberdhan) downed the tour’s #2 C+ player (Toomey) 6-4. Goberdhan went home undefeated with the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, December 1, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

LaFleur and Altamarino split top prizes on Tri-State Tour

Allison LaFleur & Alfredo Altamarino

The Tri-State Tour’s top two women almost met in the hot seat and finals of a $1,000-added tour stop on Sunday, November 17, which drew 29 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. But it didn’t turn out that way. Allison LaFleur went undefeated through the field, and in the end, past midnight, with a long drive ahead for both of them, she and (male) Alfredo Altamarino opted for a split of the top two prizes.
 
The ‘match that almost happened’ actually occurred in one of the winners’ side semifinals. LaFleur’s path to the hot seat was a bit of a roller coaster ride; four matches, two of which went double hill and two of which she gave up only one rack, total. She downed Adrian Daniel and another of the tour’s top women, Vinny Mistry, double hill, shut out newcomer Roger Blanco and in that winners’ side semifinal, gave up the single rack to the woman who entered the tournament ahead of her (just barely) in the tour standings, Michelle Brotons. In the other winners’ side semifinal, a local Shooter’s player, CJ Chey, squared off and defeated Joe Mazzeo 6-2. In her third double hill fight, which reportedly hinged in the end on a safety battle, LaFleur claimed the hot seat over Chey.
 
The potential for a Brotons/LaFleur final was still very much in the air, so to speak.
 
Brotons moved over and picked up . . . guess who – Alfredo Altamarino, who’d been sent to the loss side by CJ Chey in the second round and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him to the finals and include victories over three of the tour’s top women and a prize split with a fourth, LaFleur, who’d end the night at the top of the list. After defeating top-tour-female #3, Amanda Andries 5-2, Altamarino downed #7, Vinny Mistry 7-4 and then, eliminated Mac Jankov 5-3 to pick up Brotons. Mazzeo, in the meantime, picked up Chris Kemp, who’d defeated Marcelo Adinolfi 6-3 and Rick Rodriguez 6-4 to reach him.
 
Kemp moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-4 win over Mazzeo, as Altamarino was busy surviving a double hill battle against Brotons, and ending hopes for a ‘top two women’ final. Altamarino then eliminated Kemp 6-4 and in what was described as a “stunning upset,” his rematch versus Chey in the semifinals was a shutout.
 
LaFleur and Altamarino opted out the final match, split the cash and called it a night.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 24, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Schmidt goes undefeated to win his first regional tour event on Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Luis Jimenez & Chris Schmidt

It had been, according to our records, almost exactly five years since Chris Schmidt had taken home any cash by competing on the Tri-State Tour. In October of 2014, he finished, in successive weeks, 5th and 4th at two stops on the tour. Schmidt returned to the ‘fold,’ so to speak, on Sunday, October 20 to chalk up his first Tri-State victory. Schmidt went undefeated through a field of 22, on hand for the $1,000-added event that was hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.
 
Schmidt had to get by Luis Jimenez twice to claim this event title. Following victories over Tri Chau 7-1 and Paul Wilkens 7-2 Schmidt drew Jimenez for the first time in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Adrian Daniels, in the meantime, squared off against Rick Rodriguez in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Schmidt advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Jimenez. Daniels joined him after a 6-3 win over Rodriguez. Schmidt and Daniels battled to double hill before Schmidt prevailed to claim what appears to be his first recorded claim to a tournament’s hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Jimenez opened his three-match march back to the finals against Desi DeRado, who’d defeated Paul Wilkens 7-5 and Zach Ivie, double hill, to reach him. Rodriguez drew Shweta Zaveri, who’d recently eliminated Bob Toomey 7-5 and CJ Chey 7-1.
 
Jimenez and Rodriguez got right back to work, winning. Jimenez downed DeRado 7-3, as Rodriguez just did survive a double hill fight against Zaveri.
 
Jimenez earned his way to a slot in the finals with two straight double hill wins, over Rodriguez in the quarterfinals and Daniels in the semifinals. Schmidt, though, edged out in front in the final match that followed, defeating Jimenez 7-5 and claiming his first event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 27, will be a Double Points, 10-ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. 

Melendez goes undefeated* to claim his second Tri-State Tour title

(l to r): Juan Melendez & Matt Klein

With his victory* on the Tri-State Tour’s October 13 stop at the Spot in Nanuet, NY, his second overall on the tour, Juan Melendez made 2019 his best earnings year to date, surpassing his 2017 earnings, when he won his first Tri-State event. Going into the $1,250-added, Double Points event that drew 49 entrants to The Spot, Melendez was the Tri-State Tour’s #10-ranked C-Class player. In what proved to be his final match, vying for the hot seat, he downed the tour’s #5-ranked B+ Class player, Matt Klein. The two opted out of a final match.
 
Melendez was challenged early and just did survive a double hill fight against Ada Lio in the event’s opening round. He advanced to down Amanda Andries 6-3 and Suzzie Wong 6-1 to draw Brandone Alli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Klein, in the meantime, squared off against Pascal Dufresne in the other one.
 
Melendez sent Alli to the loss side 6-4, as Klein was sending Dufresne over 7-5. In what proved to be the title match, Melendez claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Klein.
 
On the loss side, Dufresne picked up H. Marcelo (Mars) Adinolfi, who had defeated Joe Mazzeo and Desi DeRado, both 7-3, to reach him. Alli drew Adrian Daniel, who’d recently chalked up two straight double hill wins over Jim Gutierrez and Suzzie Wong.
 
Adinolfi and Daniel handed Dufresne and Alli their second straight loss; Adinolfi, 7-4 over Dufresne and Daniel, 6-3 over Alli. Adinolfi took one more loss-side step with a 7-5 win over Daniel in the quarterfinals.
 
Adinolfi gave Klein all he could handle in the semifinals that followed. They battled to double hill before Klein ended the match, and in effect, the event 7-6. Klein and Melendez agreed on the split of the top two cash prizes and Melendez came away with the official event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Rhys Chen and his staff at The Spot for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 20, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.