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Mills downs Crosby twice to win Open event of 3rd Annual Labor Day Classic at Capone’s

Tony Crosby, Donny Mills and Kyle Bova

Fisher and Jankowski split top prizes in Amateur event

Joining the ranks of Jason Richko and Tommy Kennedy, who won the event in 2018 and 2019, respectively, another Florida pool-playing veteran, Donny Mills went undefeated to claim Capone’s 2020 Labor Day Classic, held on the weekend of September 5-6. Mills had to get by Tony Crosby twice, in the hot seat and finals, to complete his run at the $400-added Open 10-Ball event of the Classic, that drew 24 entrants to Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

In the $200-added Amateur 9-Ball event, Anthony Fisher and Trey Jankowski split the top two prizes after opting out of a final match. Sitting in the hot seat at the time, Fisher claimed the official event title, joining Thomas Fioranelli, the event’s defending champion and James McNulty, who won the inaugural event in 2018. The $200-added Amateur event drew a full field of 64 entrants with Fargo Rates 640 or below. 

Donny Mills was awarded an opening round bye in the Open event and then defeated Mike Steven 7-2 and Anthony Meglino 7-5 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Junior competitor Trenton White. Mills’ opponent in the hot seat and finals, Tony Crosby, opened with a 7-1 victory over Derek Greenwood, and then dispatched Kyle Bova 7-5 and Rhyan Hunter 7-2 to enter his winners’ side semifinal match against Rich Broumpton.

Mills gave up only a single rack to White and advanced to the hot seat match. Crosby joined him after Broumpton broke down his cue when he got behind 0-4. Mills claimed the hot seat with his first of two over Crosby 7-5.

On the loss side, White picked up Nathan Rose, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d most recently eliminated Ray Linares, double hill and James Adams 6-3. Broumpton drew Kyle Bova, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was destined to advance a little more.

White advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 victory over Rose and was joined by Bova, who’d defeated Broumpton 6-2. Bova and White battled to double hill before Bova advanced to the semifinals against Crosby. 

Crosby and Bova battled to double hill, as well, before Crosby prevailed for his second shot against Mills. Mills claimed the Open title with a second victory over Crosby 7-4.

Trey Jankowski and Anthony Fisher

Fisher and Jankowski agree to split, so Fisher can continue competing in the Open

It was, reportedly, Trey Jankowski who offered to split the top two prizes in the Amateur event. Sitting in the hot seat, Anthony Fisher would have had to be defeated twice for Jankowski to have won and those two matches would likely have caused Fisher to drop out of his participation in the Open event. Fisher agreed to the split and went on to finish in the tie for 9th in the Open event.

Fisher’s path to the shared winners’ circle went through Todd Wyrick, Cris Baumgart and Bobby Jones, before arriving at a winners’ side quarterfinal match against Jankowski. Fisher won that match 7-2 to face Carlos Gomes in a winners’ side semifinal. Jeremy Sloan, in the meantime, opened his march to the hot seat match by surviving a double hill fight against Lonnie Garcia, and then downing Robbie Cartrette, TJ Fioranelli, and Louie Smith to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal vs. Mike Burke.

Sloan got into the hot seat match with a 7-5 victory over Burke and was joined by Fisher, who’d sent Gomes to the loss side by the same score. Fisher sent Sloan to the semifinals 7-3 and sat in the hot seat waiting, as it turned out, for Jankowski.

On the loss side, Gomes picked up Moe Fattah, who’d recently eliminated Cartrette and Mike Kandy, both 5-2. Burke drew Jankowski, who, following his defeat at the hands of Fisher, had eliminated Trenton White 5-1 and Derrick Santos 5-2. 

Jankowski and Fattah advanced to the quarterfinals; Jankowksi 5-3 over Burke and Fattah 5-2 over Gomes. Jankowski took the subsequent quarterfinals 5-2 over Fattah and then dropped Sloan in the semifinals 5-3. The decision to split was made and Fisher, with the official victory in his pocket, returned to pursue what turned out to be his tie-for-ninth-place finish in the Open event.

In addition to the regular payouts for the top 16 players in the Amateur event. Two women ended up splitting $40 for being the highest finishing females in the event. Margie Soash and Jessica Human both finished in the eight-way tie for 17th place.

Event coordinator Carrie Vetrono thanked Rocco ‘Rocky’ McElroy and his Capone’s staff, as well as all of the players for “making the event enjoyable.” The next event at Capone’s, scheduled for the weekend of October 10-11, will be one of three venue qualifiers for a December 19 finale. The $300-added ($400 with 40+ entrants) 9-ball event is an Open Handicapped event with varied entry fees, dependent on a player’s handicap, from Open/Pro down to C players. For further information, you can reach Vetrono at Capone’s.  

Rodriguez goes undefeated to win his first 2019 Sunshine State Pro Am title

Bill Bloom, Shannon Fitch and Ricardo Joel Rodriguez

Looking to better his 2018 earnings, the year in which he tallied a win on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour in March and won the Florida 10-Ball Bar Box Championships in November, Ricardo Joel Rodriguez went undefeated through a field of 64 entrants to win the October 5-6 stop (#8) on the 2019 Sunshine State Pro Am Tour’s $1,500-added event ($1,000 by Brewlands and $500 from Predator Cues) at Brewlands Bar & Billiards in North Lakeland, FL . He stopped a seven-match, loss-side winning streak by Bill Bloom, defeating him in the finals to claim the title. Rodriguez’ $1,000 first-place prize doesn’t put his 2019 earnings over his 2018 threshold, but does put him a step closer with a full two months-plus to go.
 
In addition to the event itself, the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour held a mystery auction to raise money for junior competitors Kodi Allen and Trenton White (who was the main event’s top-finishing (9th place) junior) to help offset their expenses for an upcoming trip to Cypress in November, when they will represent the USA in the Jr. World Championships. In addition to the money raised by the auction ($600), the tour donated 5% of the player’s auction to the junior players ($215). An additional $215 was raised by a $50 challenge donation from Jen Radkte, bringing the total to $1,030. Each of the junior competitors will receive half of that total. In addition to the support provided by the tour itself, tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza gave a ‘shout out’ to the sponsors of this mystery auction event – Michael Zingale of Zingale’s Billiards, Carl Watt of Park Ave. Billiards, Pedro Botta of Racks Billiards, Larry Walthal of the host Brewlands, The Central Florida USA Pool League, Don and Jennifer Berzinski of the People’s Tournament, Stitch it to Me Embroidery, Cyclop Balls, Predator Products and Jeannette Lee with the Tampa APA.
 
Congratulations were extended to the Scarberry family as winners of the mystery auction. Some of the items in the bags included a Sneaky Pete rage cue, a signed-by-Jeanette Lee cue and cue ball, free entries to an event at Zingales and on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, gift cards (including Dunkin’), scratch-off lottery tickets, Predator glove and chalk, Cyclops cue ball, Tip tool, T-Shirts, Polos, UFC backpack with ‘extras,’ Tiger Chalk, and if that weren’t enough, two bottles of tequila.
 
The main event tournament saw Ricardo Joel Rodriguez start out with a ‘shutout’ bang over Michael McGuire and then settle into victories over Nataniel Acosta, George McLanahan and Jeremy Bell to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match versus Jordan Burden. Shannon Fitch, in the meantime, downed Anthony Fisher, Thomas White, Francisco Diaz and Justin McNulty (who’d just sent Bill Bloom to the loss side) to face Robert Batson in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Rodriguez’ trip to the winners’ circle was almost rerouted as he and Burden went double hill before Rodriguez prevailed. Fitch joined him in the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Batson. Rodriguez gave up only a single rack to Fitch and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Bloom to conclude his loss-side run.
 
It was Batson who picked up Bloom, four matches into his loss-side streak, that had included recent wins over Jeremy Bell, double hill and, Anthony Cruz. Burden drew Justin McNulty, who’d defeated Trenton White 5-3 and Jeff Brown 5-1 to reach him.
 
Bloom survived a double hill fight against Batson to advance to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by Burden, who’d spoiled any hopes of a Bloom/McNulty rematch by eliminating McNulty 5-1. Bloom and Burden battled to double hill in those quarterfinals, before Bloom advanced.
 
Bloom downed Shannon Fitch in the subsequent semifinals and got a shot at Rodriguez in the finals. With Bloom racing to 8 and Rodriguez to 9, the two battled to a double hill final game, won by Rodriguez, who claimed the title.
 
Tour directors Phillips and Garza thanked Larry Walthal of Brewlands for hosting the event as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch it to me Embroidery, Cyclops, Kamui and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 16, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Rack’s Billiards in Sanford, FL. 

Sunshine State Pro Am holds inaugural Scotch Doubles event – Battle of the Billiards

(l to r): Joe Zinkhan, Tim Baron, Joselito Martinez & Marcos Burgos

Martinez and Burgos down Baron and Zinkhan to claim inaugural title
 
Looking to create a little friendly competition among the multiplicity of pool rooms in Florida, Sunshine State Pro Am Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza launched an inaugural event called Battle of the Billiards Big Dawg Scotch Doubles on the weekend of Oct. 27-28 at Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL. While 19 two-player teams participated in the $500-added, Scotch Doubles event, not all were sponsored by pool rooms. It is Phillips’ and Garza’s hope that as the event progresses in its annual schedule, more and more rooms will opt to send players to compete.
 
This first year’s winners (Joselito Martinez and Marcos Burgos) and runner-ups (Tim Baron and Joe Zinkhan) were independent teams. The two teams played three times, vying for the title. Baron and Zinkhan got into the hot seat, but Martinez and Burgos came back from the semifinals to defeat them in a true double elimination final.
 
Their first match, battling for the hot seat, followEd Martinez and Burgos’ 7-4 victory over the team of Les Duffy and Anthony Fisher, sponsored by Don Kreischer’s Boulevard Billiards. Baron and Zinkhan, meanwhile, faced off against Larry Wathal’s team from Brewlands (Dale Stanley and Mubarak Suleiman) and defeated them 7-5. Baron and Zinkhan claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Martinez and Burgos and waited on their return from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Duffy and Fisher picked up Sam Kantar and David Jacobs from Boynton Billiards, as Stanley and Mubarak drew the team of Trey Jankowski and Mitch Nelson. Both matches finished at 5-3, advancing Kantar/Jacobs and Jankowski/Nelson to the quarterfinals.
 
Kantar and Jacobs won the quarterfinal match by the same 5-3 score and then, in the semifinals, were defeated by that same score by Martinez and Burgos, who earned themselves a second, and as it turned out, third shot at Baron and Zinkhan in the hot seat.
 
Martinez and Burgos took the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-4. In a shortened race to 5 in the second set, Martinez and Burgos won again 5-3 to claim the inaugural Battle of the Billiards Big Dawg Scotch Doubles title.
 
Tour directors Phillips and Garza thanked Jose Del Rio and his staff at Stroker’s Billiards for hosting the event, as well as the owners of all of the venues who sponsored teams, including Stroker’s (which sponsored two teams), Capone’s, Trick Shots (Orlando, FL), Park Avenue Billiards, and the rest of the teams mentioned in the narrative above. They also thanked sponsors Cyclops Balls, Diamond, and AZBilliards.
 
The next regular stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 17-18, will be the amateur-only, $1,000-added Sunshine State Pro Am 10-Ball Bar Box Championships, to be hosted by Rack’s Billiards in Sanford, FL. 

Mills and Meglino split top prizes in Open division of Sunshine State Pro Am

(l to r): Justin Hall, Anthony Meglino & Donny Mills

Rose comes from the loss side to down Adams and capture Amateur title
 
It’s impossible to know how many times Donny Mills and Anthony Meglino have faced each other on Florida-based and other regional tours, but having spent over a decade as part of a ‘Florida Gang’ of top-tier competitors (along with, among many others, Tommy Kennedy, Mike Delawder and Tony Crosby), we can safely call it ‘a lot.’ This past June, they met in the semifinals of a stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour (Meglino 5-3 over Mills). On the weekend of Oct. 6-7, they would have met twice during Stop #11 on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, had they not opted out of a final match. Mills, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, claimed the $1,000-added 10-Ball Open event title, which drew 40 entrants to Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.
 
In a concurrently-run, $300-added, 9-Ball Amateur event, Nathan Rose won five on the loss side to eventually meet and defeat hot seat occupant James Adams to claim that title. The Amateur event drew 45 entrants to the same location.
 
Following an opening round bye in the Open event, Donny Mills downed Anthony Fisher, Robert Batson (both 7-2), and Tommy Kennedy 7-4 to draw Justin Hall in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Meglino, with an opening round bye as well, got by Ed Peterson 7-3, Bill Stroup 7-1 and Marcus Murillo 7-2 to face Nathan Rose (winner of the Amateur event) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Mills defeated Hall 7-5, as Meglino was busy downing Rose 7-4. Mills claimed the hot seat, and, as it turned out, the event title with a 7-4 win over Meglino.
 
On the loss side, Rose picked up Kennedy, who, following his defeat by Mills, downed Trenton White (the event’s top junior player in both events) 6-4, and shut out Stroup. Hall drew Justin Gilsinan, who’d shut out Joe Vetrono and eliminated Joselito Martinez 5-2. Kennedy and Rose locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Kennedy to the quarterfinals against Hall, who’d defeated Gilsinan 5-2.
 
Hall ended Kennedy’s modest, three-match, loss-side winning streak 5-2 in those quarterfinals, and then fell to Meglino 5-3 in the semifinals. Meglino and Mills opted out of the final and the event title went to Mills.
 
Rose wins five on the loss side to meet and defeat Adams
 
Nathan Rose, who was the official winner of Stop #8 on the tour back in July (he split with Jason Sheerman), got sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal match of the Amateur event and won five on the loss side before meeting and defeating hot seat occupant James Adams in the finals. Rose had downed Derek Laprairie, Trenton White (top junior in this event, as well), and Justin Gilsinan before running into Ameet Kukadia in a winners’ side quarterfinal.
 
Kukadia sent Rose to the loss side, double hill, and advanced to face Alec Saputo in one of the winners’ side semifinals. James Adams, in the meantime, following victories over Lisa Perez, Rhyan Hunter, and Dale Stanley met up with Justin McNulty in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Saputo chalked up a double hill win over Kukadia and in the hot seat match, faced Adams, who’d shut out McNulty. Adams claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Saputo and waited on the return of Rose.
 
Rose opened his loss-side trip to the finals with a 6-3 win over Hunter and eliminated Trenton White 6-4 to draw McNulty. Kukadia picked up Stanley, who’d defeated Gilsinan and Jai Smith, both 6-2. By identical scores of 6-3, Stanley (over Kukadia) and Rose (over McNulty) advanced to the quarterfinals, where Rose prevailed, double hill, over Stanley.
 
Rose downed Saputo 6-4 in the semifinals, and then defeated Adams 9-5 in the finals to claim the Amateur event title.
 
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked the ownership and staff at Capone’s, as well as sponsors Cyclop Balls, Diamond, Kamui Tips, Play the Game Clothing Co., Jacksonville Roofing USA, Inc., and AZ Billiards. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour (due to cancellation of a stop in November) will be the tour’s Season Finale, scheduled for December 1-2 at Park Ave. Billiards in Orange Park, FL.