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Foldes wins his third straight Andy Mercer Memorial Tournament at Rum Runner in Vegas

Run Runner Owner Geno Hill and Vilmos Foldes

About eight years ago, when Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes shifted his pool-competition activity to these United States, settling in Las Vegas, he started to make appearances on the Mezz West Tour, chalking up two wins in four cash-payout performances on that tour in 2014. The following year, he cashed in 11 appearances on that tour, including one victory. He also began a string of appearances on the Jay “Swanee” Swanson Memorial Tournament, finishing as runner-up to Rodrigo Geronimo that year. He has cashed in every “Swanee” Memorial since then, winning it finally in 2019.

In 2016, Foldes appeared in six memorial tournaments, winning the Chuck Markulis and Bob Stocks Memorial, and cashing in the “Swanee” (4th), the Don Coates (9th), the Cole Dickson (5th), and in his first cash finish on the Las Vegas-based Andy Mercer Memorial, he finished 7th. 

In 2017, Foldes added attendance at the Cole Dickson and Brendan Crockett Memorials, at which he finished as runner-up to Beau Runningen. In the same year that he chalked up his first, and so far, his only win on the “Swanee,” Foldes won his first of three straight titles at the Andy Mercer Memorial Tournament, downing Shane Van Boening in the finals. In 2020, he defended that title, winning nine on the loss side to down Chad Vilmont in the finals, leaving such pool luminaries as Dennis Orcollo, Warren Kiamco and Van Boening in the dust, so to speak.

In all, since 2015, he’s cashed in 17 memorial tournaments, winning six of them. He won the 6th this past weekend (March 18-20), going undefeated at the $3,750-added, 31st Annual Andy Mercer Memorial, hosted by Rum Runner in Las Vegas, NV. He may not be the only person to have appeared in all of the mentioned memorial tournaments (the actual number of them, being hard to determine), but he is certainly doing his part to keep the memories of eight esteemed members of the US pool community alive. 

Foldes’ path to the winners’ circle that saw him win 24 of the first 34 games he played, went through Goran Mladenovic, Sal Butera, Donnie Branson and Max Eberle to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Sam Cordova. Dave Datillo, in the meantime got by Gary Onomura, Tommy Baker, Jeff Gray and, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, Gary Lutman, who’d return to challenge Foldes in the finals. This set Datillo up to face Blake Baker in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Datillo moved into the hot seat match with a double hill win over Baker. Foldes downed Cordova 6-1 to join him. Foldes checked in with another 6-1 victory, this time over Datillo, to claim the hot seat, sporting a ‘three out of every four,’ game-winning percentage (75%).

On the loss side, Baker picked up Ian Costello, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Cordova and then defeated John Farris 6-3 and Max Eberle 6-4. Cordova ran into Lutman, who’d followed his loss to Datillo with a double hill win over Mladenovic and a shutout over Donnie Branson, who’d just knocked Shane Van Boening out of the tournament 6-4.

Lutman chalked up his second loss-side double hill win, against Cordova and advanced to the quarterfinals. Baker joined him after knocking Costello out 6-4.

In his third double hill match of four played on the loss side, Lutman downed Baker in those quarterfinals and then, gave up only one to Datillo in the semifinals. Foldes completed his undefeated run with a 6-4 victory over Lutman in the finals to claim his third straight Andy Mercer Memorial title.

Tournament director Jack Murray thanked Geno Hill and his Rum Runner staff for their hospitality, as well as all of the players who have in the past and did, this year, gather to pay homage to Andy Mercer, who passed away in 1990.

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The “Kid” chalks up another one, going undefeated at the 3rd Annual 8-Ball Classic in Duluth

Efren Reyes – Photo courtesy of On The Wire Media

 

Efren Reyes, in the midst of a ‘retirement tour,’ scheduled to conclude this August, chalked up the latest in an incredibly long list of US and world championship titles with an undefeated run on the 3rd Annual 8-Ball Classic, held on the weekend of June 2-3. The event drew 16 of the world’s best talents at the table to The Break Room in Duluth, MN.
 
He’s known as “Bata,” which translates into “Kid,” because when he was younger, there was another player with the same name. As the younger of the two, he was designated “Bata” to distinguish him from the other player. The need to make that distinction disappeared a long time ago, as year after year, the “Kid” morphed into “the man” at the tables. In spite of eye surgery in 2005 and his own admission that he’s been ‘slowing down,’ the only difference between the younger and older versions of “Bata” Reyes can be found in his motion as he moves around the table. He’s never been a speedball at the table strolls, when he’s assessing the lay of the balls and choosing his target, but he’s a little slower and deliberate now. What hasn’t changed is what has often been described as his ‘genius’ in making shots, which has earned him a secondary nickname as “The Magician.’ To many of us otherwise normal human beings, some of these magical shots can seem downright impossible. He made more than just a few of his signature ‘genius’ shots at this 8-Ball Classic, including some in his second and finals match against Dennis Hatch. His pre-shot routine doesn’t vary much, and motionless beyond the movement of his right arm in the practice strokes, he’s the same as he ever was, up to and including a monster break.
 
Reyes opened strong with a 15-7 victory over Danny Olson, allowed Vince Chambers to get a little closer, but advanced with a 15-13 victory over him to face fellow countryman, “The Lion” – Alex Pagulayan – in a winners’ side semifinal. Hatch, in the meantime, after downing Sergio Rivas 15-11, defeated Shane Van Boening 15-12 to draw Corey Deuel in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
By identical 15-11 scores, Reyes and Hatch sent Paguyalan and Deuel to the loss side. By a third 15-11 score, Reyes claimed the hot seat over Hatch, and waited for his return.
 
On the loss side, “The Lion” drew Can Salim, who’d been defeated on the winners’ side by Deuel and then eliminated Danny Olson 15-9 and Billy Thorpe 15-11. Deuel drew a re-match against Jason Klatt, whom he’d defeated in the event’s opening round, and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He eliminated Michael Perron, Jr. 15-10, Vince Chambers 15-9 and Roberto Gomez 15-13 to earn a re-match against Deuel.
 
Klatt wreaked his vengeance on Deuel for the earlier loss with a 15-13 win that sent him to the quarterfinals against Pagulayan, who’d sent Salim home 15-8. Klatt then downed Pagulayan 15-13 and squared off against Hatch in the semifinals.
 
Hatch, who was instrumental in the production of this event, stopped Klatt’s loss-side run 15-11 in those semifinals, and then turned to face the “Kid” a second, and if he wanted to take home the title, a third time in the double elimination finals.
 
The two started out with a typical trading of racks through the opening rounds, until Reyes began to pull out in front, eventually to a 9-4 lead. Hatch mounted a comeback, slowly but surely, to draw within two at 11-9. Reyes, though, re-widened that lead and reached the hill, five racks ahead (14-9). Hatch closed that gap with four in a row to draw within one at 14-13. Hatch broke what proved to be the final rack but came up dry. Reyes, significantly sunk his first high ball, and broke a solid ball away from the 8-ball, which had, until that moment, presented him with his toughest challenge of the layout.
 
Reyes proceeded to run the table to claim the event title. He concluded with a fist-pumping, smile-enhanced little dance around the table before stepping to Hatch for a handshake.
 
It is a final match worth watching and thanks to On the Wire Media, and its owners/commentators Ra Hanna and Beau Runningen, who streamed selected matches of the event throughout the weekend, can be found on On the Wire Media’s Facebook page.
 
Last summer., Reyes interrupted the early stages of his own retirement tour to return to the Philippines, citing fatigue. In an interview/article with a Filipino television station last summer, the author (Dominic Renor) noted that “Father Time has caught up with him; that his eyesight isn’t as dependable as it used to be, making long-range shots more difficult to convert. His wrist isn’t as steady as before.” That said, Reyes was back in form for this 3rd Annual 8-Ball Classic and looks to add a few more master strokes to his already considerable legacy as his retirement tour continues.
 

World Pool Series Announces Media Coverage

The World Pool Series is happy to be able to announce the full details of our media coverage for the 9-Ball Players Championship.
 
For 2018, the WPS has decided to return to pay-per-view in co-operation with UpState Al to ensure that the fans get the best coverage possible with the production being focused on the feature table with some selected matches available via Facebook Live. UpState Al is well known already all over the world for the live streams he provides and the WPS is looking forward to adding his knowledge to the media team
 
Daily passes for the PPV are now available to be purchased for $8,95 a day or $24,95 for full access over four days from April 19 until the 22nd.
 
The WPS will also be offering more live updates via our social media pages in co-operation with On The Wire Creative Media. Ra Hanna and Beau Runningen have been added to the WPS Team for our events in 2018. OTW is based in Los Angeles, CA. and they have been making quite a splash in the pool world over the last few years, predominately due to their viral on the spot reporting, live stream videos, and tournament promotions. OTW has become a highly sought-after choice of professional pool in America as they have a laser sharp focus on two elementary things: Relationships and Results.
 
“We consider OTW an extension of our clients’ organization, working hard to establish a professional but personal collaborative relationship.” says Ra Hanna. We are looking forward to teaming up with the WPS to continue our vision of exposing the exciting world of professional cue sports to the masses.”
 
Darren Appleton (Founder) & Shirley Ang (General Manager): “We will be providing more articles on our own site, more videos on YouTube, and more updates on all of our social media channels. We hope that the decisions we have taken for the WPS for this season will be supported by our fans and the players. We understand that there have been a lot of changes but we believe that they are for the better of the future of the WPS. But we need all players and fans to stand behind us while we go through these changes to be able to offer everyone the best tournaments in the world one day!”
 
Fans are invited to come and watch the best players in the world compete against each other at Steinway Billiards. Tickets can be bought online for $10 a day or $30 for all four days. Fans can also choose to buy VIP access for $15 a day or $45 for the whole event, which will give better seating, waitress service, and a goodie bag!

On The Wire Creative Media Partners With The Billiard Education Foundation

Beau Runningen and Ra Hanna

On The Wire Creative Media (OTW) is proud to announce a partnership agreement with The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF). As the marketing manager for the BEF in 2018, OTW’s charge will be to engage members, capture new followers and grow the number of supporters worldwide, goals which will be achieved by distributing interviews, free live streams and upcoming BEF events thru Facebook, Instagram and the BEF website.

Both the BEF and OTW are invested in supporting the kids through billiards education and instruction; promoting billiards as a positive way to learn life skills, developing and facilitating billiard programs and competition at all levels and providing academic scholarships.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with On The Wire Creative Media,” said BEF President Tom Riccobene. “Beau and Ra are committed to all the BEF stands for and this partnership will help us to do what we do to help these great kids. Each and every one of our juniors deserves to be recognized for their individual work and achievements. Working with OTW is a blessing to the BEF.”
“The BEF is where billiards begins, I love this organization,” said Beau Runningen of OTW.
“Surround yourself with the right people and great things will happen. This partnership is from our hearts,” added OTW’s Ra Hanna. “We are very excited about our relationship with the BEF, the BEF is close to our hearts.”
On The Wire Creative, based in Pasadena, Calif., has been making quite a splash in the pool world over the last few years, predominantly due to their viral on the spot reporting, live stream videos and tournament promotions. OTW has become a highly sought after choice of professional pool in America and were the official live streamers of the 2017 Mosconi Cup held in Las Vegas.
The Billiard Education Foundation was established to ensure that all juniors in the United States have opportunities to play and compete. The BEF’s mission is to develop a lifelong love of billiard sports in junior players by supporting billiard education and instruction, promoting billiards as a positive way to learn life skills, developing and facilitating billiard programs and competition at all levels and providing academic scholarships.

29th Annual BEF Junior Nationals Rolls Ahead in Las Vegas

The most respected, skilled and academically brilliant minded junior cueists from across the United States were just in Vegas competing in an action packed week of billiards. A few miles south of the Vegas strip the Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) had presented and concluded the 29th Annual Junior National 9-Ball Championships. This challenging co-event was held Wednesday-
 
Saturday August 2nd- 5th, 2017, having returned to the family friendly South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. Showcased at one end of the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Billiard & Home Leisure Expo was the BEF junior national’s arena. The competition area boasted 20 professional 9-foot Diamond tables. This junior event is the only opportunity for U.S. billiard student-athletes to qualify to compete at the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World Junior 9-Ball Championships being held this year Oct 31st – Nov. 5th, 2017 in Moscow, Russia.
 
On Tuesday, the registration process was in full motion with the noise and bustle of last minute preparations for the tournament and expo grand openings. There, the junior players received BEF sponsor gifts and a 2017 tournament memorabilia shirt. The junior events kicked off that evening with the highly anticipated and popular annual Adult-Youth Scotch Doubles tournament, which gave parents and juniors the chance to showcase their skills for a doubles fun-filled night and prizes. Even the pros were actively seeking to be recruited to fill in and play. BEF Tournament director Earl Munson remarked, “Big grins everywhere. The pros were playing like kids and the kids were playing like pros!” BCA Hall of Famers and multi world champions Nick Varner & Loree Jon Hasson along with Mosconi Team USA and doubles silver medalist in World Cup of Pool, Skyler Woodward & Shane Van Boening joined with the junior players. Former 2002 junior national champion Beau Runningen was eagerly paired and proved he still had game, and fellow 2017 Team USA member Manny Perez matched up as well. Parent’s skill levels ranged in doubles competition from yikes (Where is the instructor quick?), to wow (Did you see that parent play?!). Eventually the fun night ended with all the pros/junior teams converging to the semi-finals. 1st Place was Skyler Woodward & Trenton White, 2nd Place Nick Varner & Justin Toye, 3rd Place Loree Jon Hasson & Xavier Hultze, 4th Place Beau Runningen & Spencer Ladin.
 
Wednesday, the players meeting and group photo opened the 3 pm start of the first five rounds of the 2017 BEF Junior National 9-Ball tournament. This year’s tournament format incorporated the WPA World Junior style of preliminary double elimination brackets qualifying to a seeded single elimination finals bracket. The format also allows for the larger fields sizes, table and time constraints. This year’s field represented: 167 players, ranging from 7 to 18 years of age, from over 30 qualifying events, more than 25 states and including the U.S. Virgin Islands. There were four participating divisions included 18 & Under Boys (18UB), 18 & Under Girls (18UG), 14 & Under Boys (14UB) and 14 & Under Girls (14UG). The divisions played in 64, 64, 32 and 32 double elimination brackets respectively. The top 25% of players from each division then moved to single elimination brackets with the winners seeded and the one-loss players listed by a blind draw. Without a doubt match play all week was exciting and intense as all players vied to make it to their respective finals single-elimination brackets.
 
On Friday night before the finals, the packed banquet night was held. The banquet comfortably seated all juniors, family members, pros, sponsors, and BEF staff and volunteers to enjoy a great meal, laughs, heartfelt speeches, recognitions, remembrance, awards and honors.
 
Each year players are nominated by their peers at the junior nationals to recognize sportsmanship on and off the table. This special award is in remembrance and recognition of one of BEF’s alumni’s, Brendan Crockett, who was more than just a talented young player taken early from life. Brendan grew from an eager teen-ager to an intelligent, charming gentleman with true character and humility. His humor, willingness to work hard and ability to lead have been an important part of our programs. The 2017 Brendan Crockett Character Award Recipients were: Eric Roberts from Crossville, Tennessee and Eliana Rodriguez from Brooklyn, New York.
 
The Special Guest Speaker at the banquet this year was “The Colonel”, Nick Varner. He humorously recounted his junior moments in the game and he jokingly had some great advice to share. “If you bet twice as much, you will learn twice as fast.” Varner has long been an enthusiastic supporter of the juniors and also stated, “This event is amazing and a great showcase of our (nations) top junior players”.
 
Newly inducted 2017 BCA Hall of Famer Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman also made his 24th appearance at the junior nationals. Dr. Cue, presented the 2017 Artistic Pool awards to this year’s champions, Timmy Bly (Bettendorf, IA), Michelle Jiang (Harvard, MA), Joey Tate Raleigh, NC) and Lana Keith (Dyersburg, TN).
 
The banquet night again amassed much of the junior field with the coveted title of “Academic All American” (AAA) when awards were presented. Of the entire 167 player field, an incredible 45% of this year’s participants (75 players!) earned school GPA’s of 3.5 and 31.6% of the AAA field earned 4.0 GPA’s, to receive recognition! The sport of billiards is definitely attracting, developing, and maintaining academic excellence! The banquet concluded with words of optimism and change from longtime BEF Trustee Tom Riccobene, “Each of us can take home what we have learned here this week and share with the people we love and meet. You’re all champions and we are honored to learn from you”, Riccobene said.
 
The finals play for all divisions was held on Saturday Aug. 5th. In an effort to stay more aligned with the WPA World event, the BEF awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze medals to the top four finishers of each division.
 
All medalists in the 18UB & 18UG divisions along with the gold and silver medalists from the 14UG & 14UB divisions have been nominated for the 2017 WPA World Junior 9-Ball Championships October 31st to November 5th in Moscow, Russia.
 
This junior national was a year of competitive upsets. A trio of past back-to-back champions made up of Nathan Childress (14UB from North Chesterfield, VA), April “The Grinder” Larson (18UG from Bloomington, MN), and Ashley Fullerton (14UG from Lake Park, MN) all sought to become three-peat champions but fell short and all new gold medalists emerged.
 
Larson drew a bye sliding her to the winner side where she then matched up and defeated Katelin Ballou and then Abigail Reese to move her to the 18UG finals 8 bracket. In the semifinals match April was determined to move on but rival Michelle Jiang from Harvard, MA ended her bid to claim her 3rd straight 18UG’s title earning Larson a bronze medal instead for her effort. Gracie Davis from Decatur, IL with her great play also joined Larson for the bronze. Jiang battled it out in the 18UG finals match against Alex Booth from Mount Ayr, IA with Jiang excitedly getting her first 18UG gold medal win with Booth taking the very respectable silver. Jiang has been playing very strong the last few months with her now qualifying for her 4th Junior Worlds. Jiang will head to Moscow, Russia with her fellow Team USA members on Oct 31st, 2017.
 
In the 14UG division it was also a battle to maintain the championship reign, as the 2016 14UG Champion Fullerton from Lake Park, MN tried but failed to make the 14UG’s final bracket losing her first match to Tatum Cutting from Diamond, OH and her second to Vivian Liu from Harvard, MA. Liu and Cutting would eventually become opponents in the bronze medal round where Liu moved on leaving Cutting with the bronze. Gracie Davis from Decatur, IL matched up with Savanna Wolford from Troutville, VA in the other half of the semis with Davis also getting the bronze and earning Wolford a match up with Liu in the finals. The 14UG finals match played at 11am on Saturday spotlighted the two young quiet and upcoming players in Liu and Wolford. Both played well with Liu edging out the win with her first gold medal and Wolford proudly taking home the silver.
 
The title of 18UB champion was newly earned this year by Austin Summers from Metropolis, IL. Summers started out strong winning his first two matches only to come up short against Graham Swinson to earn a spot on the final 16 bracket winner seeded position. Needing only a single match win on the one loss side gave Summer’s his spot on the Final 16 single elimination 18UB bracket. Taking down Lukas Fracasso-Verner in a rescheduled reprieve match due to a disqualification sent Summer’s to play Ricky Evans in the semifinals. Evans from St. Peters, MO was last year’s 18UB champion but Evans struggled to keep Summer’s from finally advancing to gold earning Evans the bronze medal this year. Summers traded wins with Kaiden Hunkins from Waukesha, WI until the match was over with Austin Summers winning gold and Hunkins taking the silver medal for being runner-up in this year’s 18UB division. Thomas Haas from Lancaster, PA also took the bronze medal losing in the semifinals to Hunkins.
 
As always the 14UB’s is a very competitive division with high levels of play even for that age. As in the 18UG and 14UG, defending national champion Nathan Childress from North Chesterfield, VA was chasing his third consecutive championship. But Childress ran into a wall this year from a veteran BEF tournament player from Crossville, TN named Eric Roberts. Roberts knocked the defending champion, in a resounding statement of 6-0, to the one loss side where they would again meet up on the blind draw of the 14UB finals bracket. Again Roberts took Childress out this time for good with another convincing 6-2 win. Roberts would go on to win again in the quarterfinals against Jayden Liu from Harvard, MA only to eventually lose to Joey Tate from Lake Villa, IL in the semifinals earning Roberts his first medal ever with the Bronze. The very skilled Gabriel Martinez from New Braunfels, TX also earned a bronze medal after Joshua Shultz from Stedman, NC defeated him. Shultz earned a finals match with Joey Tate. Tate with 2X Junior Worlds experience under his belt was at an advantage in the high- pressure match for the gold with Shultz. After the last 9-ball was pocketed for the match wins the entire five-players strong Tate family, applauded with joy as their brother was crowned the BEF 2017 14UB Gold Medal Champion and Shultz as runner-up Silver Medalist.
 
The future is very bright for our BEF junior program members as there are now more than ever before, so many high level competitive opportunities at the local, state, national, and international level.
 
Gold Medals:
 
18UB Austin Summers, (Metropolis, IL)
 
18UG Michelle Jiang, (Harvard, MA)
 
14UB Joey Tate, (Lake Villa, IL)
 
14UG Vivian Liu, (Harvard, MA)
 
Silver Medals:
 
18UB Kaiden Hunkins, (Waukesha, WI)
 
18UG Alex Booth, (Mount Ayr, IA)
 
14UB Joshua Shultz, (Stedman, NC)
 
14UG Savanna Wolford, (Troutville, VA)
 
Bronze Medals:
 
18UB Thomas Haas, (Lancaster, PA) and Ricky Evans, (St Peters, MO)
 
18UG Hailey Fullerton, (Lake Park, MN) and April Larson, (Bloomington, MN)
 
14UB Eric Roberts, (Crossville, TN) and Gabriel Martinez, (New Braunfels, TX)
 
14UG Tatum Cutting, (Diamond, OH) and Gracie Davis, (Decatur, IL)
 
The Billiard Education Foundation proudly recognizes the industry leaders who helped make this year’s event possible.
 
Event Sponsors: Billiard Congress of America. Diamond Billiard Products, TLP Billiards, Simonis, Aramith, Ultimate Team Gear, Jacoby Cues, On the Wire Creative Media, Pechaur Cue, ACS, Champion, Valley, Dynamo, Connelly, FCI Billiards, McDermott, Predator, OB Cues, DigiCue, Presidential Billiards, West State Billiards, OGB Millwork, Professional Billiards Instructor Association, Master Chalk, Tiger, Presidential Billiards Pool & Billiard Magazine, Professor Q Ball, Billiards Digest, AzBilliards.com, Dr. Cue, Billiard University, Dave Alciatore, Bob Jewett, Brett Lewis, Jay Helfert, Jeremiah Gage and Tom Riccobene.
 
The BEF gives special thanks to all the individuals who gave countless hours throughout the year to help make this event possible: Samm Diep-Vidal, Tom Riccobene (BEF Treasurer), Jeremiah Gage (BEF Secretary), Shari Stauch (BEF President), Tammy Jo Leonard (BEF Assistant National Director), Earl Munson (BEF Tournament Director) received the 2017 BCA Presidents Award, Rick Doner (BEF Head Referee), Justin Ballou (Assistant Head Referee), Ed Smith (Referee), Ed Stephens (Referee), Angela Williams (Referee), Dennis & Doris Stotler (Referees), Jim Ladin (Volunteer/Donor), Corey and Trena Wolford, Stephanie Shaw (Volunteer), Steve Strange(volunteer), congratulations to the new 2017 BCA Hall-of-Famer “Dr. Cue” Tom Rossman (Junior Artistic Pool Championship Director), Nick Varner (Pro Guest Speaker), Ra Hanna & Beau Runningen for providing live streaming/scoring/brackets through On The Wire Creative Media and pro commentary by Loree Jon Hasson and Max Eberle, Brian Glasgow and his professional team, all the staff at South Point and a huge thanks to BCA’s Rob Johnson, Chance Pack, and Shane Tyree for all their help and support, and to all the parents and juniors who are so dedicated to the sport we give a hearty thank you and we will see you next year in New Orleans.

Beau Runningen Wins First Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial

Beau Runningen (in Brendan Crockett’s favorite jacket) and Vilmos Foldes

Beau Runningen recovered from a second round loss, and went on to win the 1st Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial 10-Ball Tournament held at On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, California on June 10th – 11th. 

 
Runningen’s weekend started off on the right foot with a 7-2 win over Reid Fleming, but was quickly derailed in his second match when he lost a 7-5 decision to Ramil Gallego. After that loss, Runningen went on an impressive seven match winning streak that included notable wins over Fach Garcia, Oscar Dominguez, Dave Hemmah, Ernesto Dominguez, Rodney Morris and Tyler Styer
 
Runningen rode that winning streak into the finals, where he faced previously unbeaten Vilmos Foldes. Vilmos’ run through the winner’s side includes wins over Michael Robinson, Melissa Herndon, Rey Lorenzo, Dave Hemmah, Rodney Morris and Tyler Styer. The final match started off close with the player tied at 1-1, but an uncharacteristic miss on the 10-ball in rack three seemed to start Foldes’ game unravelling. Runningen controlled the match from that point and easily defeated Foldes 11-4 for first place. 
 
While the tournament drew a field of 87 players, those players and the fans weren’t just there for the thrill of competition. They were all gathered to remember the short life of Brendan Crockett, who passed away almost a year ago with his brother Jefferson, in a car accident. 
 
Brendan was a regular competitor on the West Coast and the idea to hold a memorial tournament came together by Melissa Herndon and Desiree Dominguez pretty quickly. Herndon commented on the emotional weekend, “It was incredibly moving to see so many players show up to celebrate Brendan and play in the inaugural memorial tourney.  I heard a bunch of new stories about him, and it really felt like the weekend was about him and not just another tournament.  Brendan loved competition, and 10-ball was his favorite.  His friends, the sponsors, On Cue Billiards, and the players all came together to make this event into an event that Brendan would've loved…and we look forward to making the 2nd Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial 10-Ball Open an even bigger, badder tournament that draws more top name players! “
 
To help raise money at the event, Brendan’s father Bill raffled off a Bill Stroud Joss West cue from his personal collection. Bill Crockett is a cue collector and plans on raffling off a cue at this event each year. The tournament raised nearly $1500 for the Brendan Crockett Scholarship Fund. More information on this fund can be found online at Brendancrockett.org

Deuel goes undefeated to take The Break Room’s 2nd Annual 8-Ball Classic

Corey Deuel

Loree Jon Hasson and Justin Bergman win opening night Challenge Matches

 

As almost anyone familiar with the sport will tell you, when the game is bar table 8-ball, almost anything can happen. And usually does. What happened at The Break Room's 2nd Annual 8-Ball Classic (presented by Dennis Hatch and On the Wire Creative Media) this past weekend (June 1-4) was that Corey Deuel got himself into a 'break' rhythm that, try though they might (and did), his opponents had no answer for. Deuel went undefeated through the field of 14 to capture the $6,000-added event title, hosted by The Break Room in Duluth, MN.

 
With the winner breaking, Deuel won 75 of the 103 games he played over five rounds (73%). With all matches being races to 15, he gave up an average of just over five racks per match. If it hadn't been for Jason Klatt's 11-rack performance in the finals, that average would have been just over four racks per match.
 
In addition to finalists Deuel and Klatt, the event featured the likes of Dennis Hatch (doing double duty as promoter and player), Billy Thorpe, Earl Strickland, Johnny Archer and the runner-up of the 1st Annual 8-Ball Classic, Shane Van Boening  (Dennis Orcollo defeated him in the finals),  whose break worked against him in this event. At one point, after failing to make a ball on one of his breaks, Van Boening conceded an entire table to his opponent. His hot seat match opponent, Deuel, said in a post-match interview that he'd "never seen anybody break balls that solidly and not make anything."
 
The weekend in Duluth began with two Challenge matches on Thursday night, offering $500 to the winner. Both of the Challenge matches went double hill. Up first were two female opponents, representing opposite ends of the experience spectrum; the veteran, eight-time World Champion Loree Jon Hasson squared off against the five-time Junior Champion April Larson (both of whom would play in the main event, as well). The assembled spectators got to choose the game, which they decided would be 10-ball, and they decided, as well, on a race to 7. Hasson and Larson fought back and forth to a deciding game, before the veteran sunk the final ball to win it. At the conclusion of the match, Hasson, in an interview, spoke to her fellow female professionals.
 
"WPBA Ladies," she said. "Watch out! April is the real deal."
 
Later in the evening, Justin Bergman and Billy Thorpe went at it. The crowd selected 10-ball again, but in this case, opted for a race to 11. Like Hasson and Larson before them, the two fought back and forth to double hill, before Bergman closed it out.
 
Though 16 were scheduled to play in the main event, two had to drop out at that last minute, leaving a field of 14. Deuel got by Scott Tollefson 15-4, and then downed April Larson 15-5, which set him up in a winners' side semifinal against Thorpe. Shane Van Boening, in the meantime, following victories over Justin Bergman 15-13, and Johnny Archer 15-7, squared off against Michael Perron, Jr., who'd just sent Jason Klatt to the loss side.
 
Deuel defeated Thorpe 15-1, as Van Boening downed Perron, Jr. 15-4. Deuel, whose break at this point was setting up almost constant break-and-run opportunities, chalked up the hot seat win, 15-7, over Van Boening.
 
On the loss side, Thorpe picked up Klatt, who, following his defeat at the hands of Perron, Jr. went on to defeat Dustin Morris 15-8 and Johnny Archer 15-11. Perron, Jr. drew Earl "The Pearl" Strickland, who'd been defeated by Thorpe in the second round, and then, locked up in an epic, double hill fight against Hatch. Strickland won it and then won a second straight double hill match against Justin Bergman, to pick up Perron, Jr. 
 
Klatt and Strickland advanced to the quarterfinals (the first, $2,000 money round); Klatt 15-3 over Thorpe, and Strickland 15-8 over Perron, Jr. Klatt ended Strickland's run in those quarterfinals 15-10, and then downed an increasingly frustrated Van Boening 15-11 in the semifinals, for a shot at Deuel in the hot seat.
 
Midway through the opening set of the true double elimination final, Deuel and Klatt were tied. Shortly thereafter, though, Deuel, still dropping balls with consistency on his break started to pull ahead. He got out in front by three to reach the hill first, and then closed it out.
 
"I felt like I played OK," said Deuel, humbly, after the match. "I've been working on my fundamentals for the past couple of years. I try to play as many different games as I can and maybe it helped me in this tournament."
 
"He outbroke me, pretty much," was Klatt's assessment of that final match.
 
Hatch, and OnTheWire Media representatives Beau Runningen and Ra Hanna (responsible for the live-on-Facebook stream throughout the weekend and all promotional material related to the event) thanked the ownership (Tom and Dan Witzman) and staff for their hospitality, as well as a long list of sponsors that made this now-firmly-established annual event possible; Fairfield Marriott Inn, Dan Summers Agency, Arrowhead Printing, Heritage Window and Door, Duluth Dodge, AllStar Service and Accessories, Diamond, Twin Ports Paper & Supply, Bernicks Food & Beverage Services, St. Louis County Title Company, Midwest Coin Concepts, Northstar Ford, Pabst Blue Ribbon, BAM Style, Superior Beverage, Uncle Loui's Cafe, Andrew Lesly, Duluth Sheraton, Viele Contracting, TNT Billiard Products, TwinPortsNightlife.com, Fitger's, Voyageur Lake Walk Inn, ReMax Prodigy, and Harley Davidson Sport Center. 
 

On The Wire Creative Media Announces Launch

Their production company offers video and content creation for global brands.

 

The team at On The Wire Creative Media is pleased to announce their launch. The company will offer a diverse and scalable number of production services encompassing video and content creation.

 
The Los Angeles-based firm boasts a professional team who are able to swiftly and effectively conduct single-cam studio interviews, multi-cam, multi-crew commercial shoots, and more. “If you’ve got a product to launch, a brand to build, or a dream to share, contact us today,” said co-owner Ra Hanna.
 
On The Wire Creative Media implements strategies and services that focus on promoting interaction, improving reputation, increasing sales, and tracking success. All of these points lead to a multi-faceted and robust branding campaign. As it launches, On The Wire Creative Media will offer a portfolio of services that include promotional video creation, event promotion, logo design, artwork and ad design, consulting, flyer creation and printing, and T-shirt design and printing.
 
“Irrespective of the scope or budget, we tackle all projects the same way,” said the On The Wire Creative Media team.
 
The team consists of Ra Hanna, a nationally-known media professional who has a knack for capturing each client’s vision, Barbara Lee who brings over 30 years of business marketing expertise to the table, and Beau Runningen who offers his insights into Google analytics and media marketing.
 
Together, the team brings forth hard-hitting knowledge and expertise to deliver the very best branding services for online and offline. Clients can request a consultation by contacting On The Wire Creative Media today.
 
More information is available at http://www.otwpromotions.com.

Mika wins Mezz West State Stop 7

For stop number 7 of the MWST, the tour found itself at Diamond Billiards in Fresno, California. Many top players made the trip to play in the $2000 added event.  Mika Immonen, Rodney Morris, Oscar Dominguez, Vilmos Foldes, Amar Kang and Beau Runningen are just a few that loaded up this monster field. 
 
At the top half of the bracket, Mika Immonen was doing major damage with wins over Ceasar Tejeda, Paul Silva, Jason Williams. Beau Runningen, Melissa Herndon and Joey Chin before running into Amar Kang for the Hot Seat match. Amar made his way through the bottom half of the bracket with wins over Bobby Lees, John Nekali, Ronnie Rodas, Rodney Wynn and Oscar Dominguez. 
 
The hot seat match between Kang and Immonen was an exciting one! Both players traded racks back and forth before Kang made two errors, which Immonen capitalized on, allowing him to find victory and take the hot seat. 
 
Meanwhile Rodney Morris who was defeated in the winners side fourth round by top 7 Phil Prentice, was grinding through players Greg Harada, Jeff Padjan, Rodney Wynn, Vilmos Foldes and Joey Chin. This winning streak lead him to the 4th place match against tour owner Oscar Dominguez who was beaten by Amar Kang in the semi-finals. Morris made some uncharacteristic mistakes which Dominguez punished him for. Dominguez would find quick victory over Morris 9-4. Dominguez then went on to face a tough Amar Kang for a chance at the finals. Kang played flawlessly and Dominguez seemed to run out of steam and despite putting up a battle, lost to Kang 9-5. This win sent Kang back to the finals for another chance at Immonen. 
 
The finals between Amar Kang and Mika Immonen was one for the books. Each player, made incredible outs and showed off their top notch safety game and shot making. This match not only went back and forth, but went hill-hill in the single race to 11. The final rack, Immonen scratched on the break, giving Amar an open table with ball in hand.  Once Kang ran out to the 8 ball, everyone thought it was over. Kang shot and made the 8 ball but unfortunately scratched in the side pocket, leaving Immonen with ball in hand on the 9 ball for the victory. 
 
The Mezz West State Tour would like to thank all their sponsors: Mezz Cues (Miki-Mezz.com), West State Billiard Supply (WestStateBilliards.com), Ozzy Reynolds and CSI (PlayCSIPool.com), Ladin Hyundai and Subaru  (LadinAutoGroup.com),Zan Tips (Zan-Tip.com), Taom Break/Jump Tips (TaomTips.com), Andy Cloth (AndyCloth.com), PiUs Company, So Cal Tap League, Kurzweil Country Meats, fast&loose desgins (fastnloosedesigns.com), Contact Point Media, Turtle Rack, NYC Grind (NYCGrind.com) and AZ Billiards (AZBilliards.com).
 
We would also like to thank Sheri Dadian and her mother Pat, along with the entire Diamond Billiards staff for hosting the event. We would also like to thank all the players for coming out and supporting the tour. 

Oscar Dominguez Wins Mezz Tour Stop #6 at Edgies in Milpitas

The weekend of August 8-9, 2015 a total of 80 players from all over the west coast, along with several special guests from Philippines, came to compete in the Mezz West State Tour. This event was originally scheduled to be the grand re-opening of California Billiards Club, however, due to a cancellation by the city inspectors, the final inspection was moved to the following weekend after the tour stop. Fortunately, the room owners of the nearest pool room, Edgies Billiards in Milpitas, CA came to the rescue to host stop #6 with only a week's notice. Room owners Sue and Tony went above and beyond to accommodate the stop and everyone commented on how great the event went on their 23 gold crowns.
 
The field was star-studded with players like Jeffery Ignacio, Mika Immonen, Rodney Morris, Oliver Medenilla, Raymond Fararon and Corey Deuel. Lots of strong local players like Rodney Wynn, Paul Silva, Frank Robutz and Brian Parks were also in attendance. 
 
With all of those monsters in the field, there was no easy draw.  In the bottom portion of the bracket, first round was a thrilling matchup between one of the Bay area's top players, Jason Williams and Filipino young gun, Jeffery Ignacio. This match was one not to missed as Jeffery won hill-hill, grinding back from an 8-6 deficit. Jeffery would then find victory over Jimmy Qu, David Espinoza, Alex Aguiar and Ernesto Dominguez before tasting defeat from his road partner Oliver Medenilla in the quater finals. Oliver made his way there with wins over Chris Santana, Larry Bohn, Paul Silva and Yoli Handoko. Oliver played a fantastic set against Jeffery and with that win, found himself playing for the hot seat against tour owner, Oscar Dominguez.  Oscar Dominguez made his way through the monster bracket with wins over Corey Deuel, Beau Runningen, Frank Robutz and Bill Skinner. 
 
The hot seat match was a grinder, going back and forth up until it reached 7-7. Oscar then capitalized on a mistake by Medenilla, allowing himself to win the hot seat 9-7. 
 
Meanwhile, on the losers side Brian Parks won seven straight matches over players Michael Langarica, Colin Manzika, Ian Costello, Jaynard Orque, Paul Silva, Jeff Gregory and Mika Immonen before running into Rodney Morris in the 7-8th bracket, where he would find defeat. Rodney Morris went on to win over Jerffery Ignacio and Raymond Fararon. Those victories put in the semi-finals playing Oliver Medenilla for a chance to face Oscar Dominguez in the finals. Unfortunately for Rodney, he was unable to overcome Medenilla and was forced to settle for 3rd. 
 
The finals was a race to 11 and also a rematch from the earlier hotseat match between Oscar Dominguez and Oliver Medenilla. This too was a nail biter. It remained close up until Oscar had the lead at 9-7, when Medenilla fouled and allowed Dominguez to get onto the hill. Medenilla also fell victim to Dominguez the following game and Dominguez would win 11-7. 
 
The Mezz West State Tour would like to thank all their sponsors: Mezz Cues (Miki-Mezz.com), West State Billiard Supply (WestStateBilliards.com), Ozzy Reynolds and CSI (PlayCSIPool.com), Ladin Hyundai and Subaru  (LadinAutoGroup.com),Zan Tips (Zan-Tip.com), Taom Break/Jump Tips (TaomTips.com), Andy Cloth (AndyCloth.com), PiUs Company, So Cal Tap League, Kurzweil Country Meats, fast&loose desgins (fastnloosedesigns.com), Contact Point Media, Turtle Rack, NYC Grind (NYCGrind.com) and AZ Billiards (AZBilliards.com).
 
We would also like to thank Tony and Sue, along with the entire Edgie's Billiards staff for hosting the event. We would also like to thank all the players for coming out and supporting the tour. 
 
Also, congrats to Tina Malm for snagging the Top Female $100 bonus!