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Lewis and Staples split top prizes on NE 9-Ball Series Stop #10 at Yale Billiards

Stop #11 to offer chance to win two all-expenses paid trips to BCAPL World Championships

(l to r): Ken Stopa, Bob Lewis & Josh Staples

Last January, Bob Lewis chalked up his first and most recent cash finish on the New England 9-Ball Series. It was also, according to our records, his first cash finish in anything since 2011, when he finished 5th on a Joss Tour stop and 17th at Turning Stone XVII. He was runner-up to Lukas Fracasso-Verner in the event last January and it appears as though it whetted his appetite for more competition, because this past weekend (Saturday, Jan. 4), he competed again on the New England 9-Ball Series and won*. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the end, he became the official winner when he and Josh Staples opted out of playing a final match. The $500-added event drew 23 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.

Lewis’ five-match march to the winners’ circle in the event’s upper bracket (FargoRate of 643) went through Ben Archer 6-3, Paul Soucy 7-2 and Tim Lavigne 7-1, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Ryan Cullen. In the lower bracket, Ken Stopa (525), in the meantime, on his way to a hot seat match against Lewis, had defeated David Longo 5-1 and survived a double hill fight versus Anthony Petruzelli. Stopa now faced Mike Zingarella, who’d just sent Josh Staples (495) to the loss side 5-3, in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In a straight-up race to 6, Lewis downed Cullen 6-4. In a straight-up race to 5, Stopa defeated Zingarella, double hill, sending him to the loss side and an immediate rematch against Staples.  Lewis and Stopa battled to double hill before Lewis prevailed 7-3 (Stopa racing to 4) to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Zingarella ran right into his rematch against Josh Staples, who’d defeated Ryan McCrum 4-2 and Anthony Petruzelli 4-1 to reach him. Cullen picked up a rematch, as well, against Jim Gravel. They’d met in a winners’ side quarterfinal, won, double hill, by Cullen. Gravel then eliminated Lukas Fracasso-Verner (no small feat) 4-4 (Fracasso-Verner racing to 6) and Tim Lavigne 5-2.

Staples and Gravel handed Zingarella and Cullen their second straight loss; Staples executing a successful rematch, downing Zingarella, double hill, and Gravel eliminating Cullen 4-3 (Cullen racing to 6). In a 4-5 race, Staples won the quarterfinal match over Gravel 4-1.

Staples and Stopa then faced each other in a straight-up race to 4 semifinal that was the final match of the event. Staples prevailed 4-2. Staples and Lewis agree to the split and the day was done.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America.

The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#11), scheduled for January 11, will feature two separate events; one for FargoRates of 525 and above and another for FargoRates of 524 and below (players must qualify to compete). The winner of each event will win an all-expenses paid trip to the BCAPL World Championships in Las Vegas in March.

Savoie, Zieminski and Cullen run out of time and split top prizes on NE 9-Ball Series

(l to r): Kevin Zieminski, Ben Savoie & Ryan Cullen

It’s not difficult enough that pool players have to battle each other, or their own interior mental processes as a tournament advances toward a conclusion. In many cases, involving a variety of factors – number of tables in a room, number of entrants and enforcement of legally established closing times – pool players are in a race against the clock, which sometimes, they lose. On Saturday, February 23, at a stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#14), Ben Savoie, Kevin Zieminski and Ryan Cullen lost their clock race, opted out of the event’s final two matches (semifinals, finals) and split the top three prizes. It was likely most painful for Ryan Cullen, who, at decision time, was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that ended with his quarterfinal victory. Savoie, in the hot seat at the time, was awarded the official event title, with Zieminski, his vanquished hot seat opponent and Cullen’s potential semifinal opponent, in second place. Cullen had to settle for the official third place. The $500-added event drew 69 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.
 
Savoie’s upper-bracket path to the hot seat went through Ray Buthe, Gene Hunt, Mario Argentino and Bart Rivezzi, before arriving at a winners’ side semifinal match against Tito Montalvo. Zieminski, in the meantime, worked his way through the lower bracket, defeating David Colbeth, Sr., Troy Fortin, Mike Felix and Joanne Corbett to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Josh Christian. Cullen, following victories over Greg Madar and Sal Midolo, had been sent to the loss side by Montalvo, and would earn his right to a rematch, seven loss-side matches later.
 
In a straight-up race to 7, Savoie advanced to the hot seat match 7-3 over Montalvo. Ziemenski joined him after winning his straight-up race to 5 against Christian, double hill. Savoie claimed the hot seat, winning what proved to be his last match 6-1.
 
On the loss side, Cullen eliminated Frank Celedita, Darron Jevens and picked up a forfeit win over Mario Argentino, before downing Frank Porto and moving into the first money round, where he defeated Bobby Hilton 6-1 and Tom D’Alfonso, double hill (5-6; D’Alfonso racing to 7). This earned him his re-match against Montalvo. Christian drew Joanne Corbett, who’d eliminated Anthony Petruzelli 4-2 and in a straight-up race to 4, shut out John Kirwan to reach him.
 
Cullen downed Montalvo 7-3 and moved into his last match, the quarterfinals, against Christian, who’d given Corbett a taste of her own ‘shutout’ medicine, by eliminating her 4-0. Cullen gave up only a single rack to Christian in those quarterfinals, and for all concerned, the night was over. Savoie was the official winner, Zieminski was the runner-up and Cullen would never know whether he could have won the two more necessary to give him the title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Bourgeois Farms and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#15), scheduled for Saturday, March 9, will be the $500-added Joe Brown Memorial Tournament, hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.
 
Dionne has also notified potential competitors that following the event at Buster’s Billiards, the New England 9-Ball Series will host its $1,000-added Players Championships, scheduled for the week after the event at Buster’s Billiards, on the weekend of March 16-17. Pre-registration is recommended for the event, which will be hosted back at Yale Billiards, and restricted to 128 players. There will be an additional $250-added 10-Ball event, scheduled for Sunday, March 17 (maximum Fargo Rate of 675, races to 5), which will be limited to 32 players.

Dupuis goes undefeated to take NE 9-Ball Series Tour Championship

Ryan Urso and Joey Dupuis

Capping what’s been a pretty good year for him that included his second victory at the annual New England Pool & Billiards Hall of Fame Open 9-Ball event in March, Joe Dupuis went undefeated at the New England 9-Ball Series invitational Tour Championships on the weekend of September 8-9. The $10,000-added event drew 111 entrants to Bo’s Billiards in Warwick, RI.
 
In the earlier rounds of the upper bracket, Dupuis, competing as an Open player, won three matches in which, on average, he’d given up between three and four racks per match. In his fourth match, against Rich Howard, Dupuis picked up the pace a bit and gave up only a single rack in a 10-1 victory that advanced him to an overall winners’ side quarterfinal match against Sam Samoth. He sent Samoth to the loss side 8-5 to draw Dillon Nickerson in one of the winners’ side semifinals. From the lower bracket, Ryan Urso and Kevin Rodrigues had worked their way through a separate set of lower-ranked opponents giving up, on average, between two and three racks per match, to arrive and face each other in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
In a straight-up race to 6, Urso downed Rodrigues 6-3 and advanced to the hot seat match. Dupuis stepped up the pace a second time, and though Nickerson had three games on the wire, in a race to 9, Dupuis made that point moot by shutting him out to join Urso in the hot seat match. Urso started the hot seat match with five games on the wire in a race to 10, and though he chalked up three on his own, Dupuis chalked up his 10 and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Urso to get back from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, A player Ryan Cullen, who’d been defeated by Nickerson in a winners’ side quarterfinal, defeated Ben Savoie, double hill (7-4) and Roy Morgridge 7-5 to draw a re-match versus Nickerson. Rodrigues drew Ben Benson (B), who’d eliminated C+ players Lindsey Monto 6-2 and Anthony Petruzelli, double hill.
 
In their re-match, the two A players, Cullen and Nickerson battled to double hill, before Cullen finished it, advancing to the quarterfinals. Rodrigues joined him, downing fellow B player Benson 6-3.
 
Cullen gave up only a single rack in his quarterfinal match against Rodrigues and faced Urso in the semifinals. With two games on the wire at the start, Urso downed Cullen, double hill (5-6).
 
Joe Dupuis took his ‘foot off the gas’ a bit in the opening set of the true double elimination final against Urso. As in the hot seat match, Urso started with five games on the wire in a race to 10, and earned his requisite five more, before Dupuis had reached his third (5-2). The two battled to double hill in the second set, with Dupuis winning the deciding 14th game to claim the Tour Championship title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Bo’s Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America.
 
The New England 9-Ball Series will open its 2018-2019 season on Sunday, September 23, with an event to be hosted by Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

Levesque goes undefeated in unhandicapped stop on the NE 9-Ball Series

(l to r): Charlie Matarazzo, Dennis Levesque & Lukas Fracasso-Verner

For stop #21 on the New England 9-Ball Series, the ‘training wheels,’ known as handicaps, were removed. The 24 entrants who signed on for the Saturday, March 31 event, hosted by Straight Shooters in Fall River, MA, were, as usual, split into upper and lower brackets at the start; B or higher players in an upper bracket, racing to 6, and C+ or lower players, in a lower bracket, racing to 5. The brackets came together in the hot seat match and quarterfinals. Dennis Levesque, working in the upper bracket, went undefeated through the field to claim the event title.
 
Levesque faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this event. He won three straight 6-4 victories to advance to a winners’ side semifinal against Mike Cote, as Charlie Matarazzo and Derek Oliveira squared off in the other winners’ side semifinal. Levesque downed Cote 6-3, and in the hot seat match, faced Matarazzo, who’d sent Oliveira to the loss side 5-3. Levesque gave up only a single rack to Matarazzo in the race-to-5 battle for the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Levesque’s opponent in the finals, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that started when John Ferreira sent him to the loss side 6-4 in the event’s opening round. Fracasso-Verner was awarded a bye in his first loss-side round, and after his first two loss-side wins, he ran into Ferreira for a re-match. He eliminated Ferreira 6-4, and survived a double hill battle against Rich Senna to draw Cote, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Oliveira drew David Melancon, who’d defeated Anthony Petruzelli 5-2 and Buddy Oldham 5-3 to reach him.
 
Fracasso-Verner and Melancon handed Cote and Oliveira their second straight losses, both by shutout. In the now-joined brackets in the quarterfinals, Fracasso-Verner downed Melancon 5-2, and then, defeated Matarazzo 5-1 in the semifinals. In what would have been a straight-up race to 5 in any event, the two A players, Fracasso-Verner and Levesque squared off in the finals. Levesque won the first, and only set necessary 5-2 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Straight Shooters, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#22), scheduled for April 8, will be a Partners Tournament, hosted by Snookers in Providence, RI.
 

Dechaine, from the loss side, and Fracasso-Verner split NE 9-Ball Players’ Championships

(l to r): Anthony Petruzelli, Mike Dechaine & Lukas Fracasso-Verner

In the end, it was a battle of generations. Though Mike Dechaine hasn’t got enough years on his resume to be considered a member of any ‘older’ generation (in the vein of Earl Strickland, Nick Varner, or Shannon Daulton, as examples), he has certainly earned the title of veteran player. At 16, Lukas Fracasso-Verner is still young enough to be considered a ‘Junior,’ although he’s been competing against fellow juniors, veterans and the Pros for over three years now.
 
The two met in the finals of the $2,000-added New England 9-Ball Series Players’ Championships. Held on the weekend of March 17-18, the event drew 56 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT. To the surprise of many, although not, apparently, to Dechaine himself, Mike lost his opening match to Lance Lisciotti. This launched a 10-match, loss-side winning streak for Dechaine that allowed him to challenge Fracasso-Verner in the finals. Dechaine took the opening set of the true double elimination final, before he (with a three-hour drive ahead of him) and Fracasso-Verner (more or less in his own backyard), both at that stage with a single loss, opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes.
 
Dechaine’s opening round loss was a 5-6 victory for Lisciotti (as a Pro player, Dechaine was racing to 10). Asked if the loss came as a bit of surprise to him, Dechaine said that it hadn’t.
 
“No,” he said. “Lisciotti is capable of playing well, and he played well.”
 
Later in the tournament, Dechaine had the opportunity for a re-match, and the results were quite different. It should also be noted that in Dechaine’s 10-match, loss-side run, he won just over 89% of the games he played, with an aggregate score of 110-13.
 
As Dechaine began work on the loss side, Fracasso-Verner (an A player) and Anthony Petruzelli (C+) were advancing through their respective upper- and lower-bracket fields for a meetup in the hot seat match. Verner won four to meet Ryan Urso (a B Player) in one winners’ side semifinal, while Petruzelli won his four to face fellow C+ player, Jimmy Gonzalez in the other one. Fracasso-Verner and Petruzelli gave up only two racks between them (one each, to Urso and Gonzalez) to move into the hot seat match. Fracasso-Verner was even stingier in the winners’ side final, giving up none at all to sit in the hot seat.
 
Meanwhile, back at the (loss-side) ranch, Dechaine was mowin’ ‘em down, one by one. Opening loss-side wins of 10-1, 11-1, and 11-3 brought him into the money rounds, where he defeated Bobby Hilton by shutting him out and then, in his re-match against Lisciotti, sent him home 10-2. This set him up to face Urso, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Gonzalez’ first opponent on the loss side was Jack Cooper, who’d shut out Ralph Caton in the first money round, and then survived a double hill fight against Darryl Helm (5-5; Helm, as a C+, racing to 6) to reach Gonzalez.
 
Dechaine and Cooper handed Urso and Gonzalez their second straight loss. With Urso racing to 4, Dechaine eliminated him 11-1. Cooper gave up only one to Gonzalez in a 5-1 victory (Gonzalez racing to 6). Dechaine took the quarterfinal match 13-1 over Cooper, and completed his loss-side run with a 12-2 victory over Petruzelli in the semifinals.
The final match actually dropped Dechaine’s winning-game percentage down a notch, from its 89.4% after the semifinals to 88% at the end of the first double-elimination set. Dechaine won it 10-2, and then, in consultation with Fracasso-Verner, opted out of trying to make it two in a row.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#20), scheduled for the weekend of March 24-25, will be a $500-added, 8-Ball event, to be hosted by Legends Billiards, in Auburn, ME.