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Baker and Larsen Win U.S. Amateur Championship Titles

Blake Baker

For some, the very best, it’s an annual pilgrimage of sorts.  For others, it’s an opportunity to truly showcase their arrival on the amateur pool scene.  For all of them, the U.S. Amateur Championship is something unique that appeals to the most passionate player. Whether they come to cement a legacy, or just to test their skill against some of the best amateur players in North America, there is no denying that to experience the U.S. Amateur Championship is to experience something truly special. Pool tournaments come and go, but securing the title of U.S. Amateur Champion is something you carry with you forever, literally, when your name is forever added to the Trophy of Champions for generations to come.

That’s what drove more than 2,100 of North America’s top amateur players to try and qualify for the 26th Annual event.  That’s what brought 128 men and 42 women to Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, Fla., in early November to compete in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Of course, there are worse places to be than the sun-soaked skies of the Tampa area, one of the premier vacation destinations in the world, at a time when most of the country is getting its first taste of winter.

Winners of each division also receive an all-expenses paid trip to a pro event next year courtesy of the APA.

And, of course, the championship trophy – a combination of marble and bronze that more closely resembles a piece of art than something won in a pool tournament.

Baker Wins Title in First Appearance
Over the first quarter-century of the U.S. Amateur Championship, the event, in many ways, came to be defined by a list of seasoned veterans, who, year after year, left their mark on the event.  Certain names you came to expect to see on the qualifier list each year, names like Brisbon, Brodt and Parks. Now in its 26th year, a youth movement seems to have taken hold at the U.S. Amateur Championship, with a new crop of young amateur players looking to leave their mark on the event and the sport, much like their predecessors.  It began in 2018, when a previously unknown 26-year-old from Peoria, Ill., named Abe Schaad took home the title.  This year, it was another 24-year-old newcomer making his mark after being inspired by the defending champion.

Blake Baker of Las Vegas went undefeated in his first U.S. Amateur Championship appearance and secured his place in amateur pool history. Baker defeated 65-year-old Bobby Stovall of Cumming, Ga., 11-5 in the championship match.

Baker controlled the finale from the get-go, taking a 4-0 lead in the 9-Ball set before Stovall finally got on the board.  The players traded wins the next two games, making it a 5-2 match.  Baker would win five of the final six games in the 9-Ball set and held a commanding 10-3 lead as the players began the 8-Ball set with the newcomer on-the-hill needing one final game.

Stovall managed to stave off elimination in the first two games of the 8-Ball set, making the score 10-5, but Baker’s bid for the title would not be denied.  In the 16th and final game, he pocketed the 8-ball and the win.

Baker will move on to compete in a 2020 pro event courtesy of APA, and more importantly, his name will be added to the Larry Hubbart Trophy.

Stovall finishes as the Runner-up, his highest finish in the U.S. Amateur Championship.

Defending champion Abe Schaad finished in 3rd, dropping matches to only Baker and Stovall in the process.

One hundred and twenty-eight players competed in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Tina LarsenLarsen Wins Record Third Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship

Tina Larsen of Westwell, Ind., defeated Nathalie Jacob of Montreal, Quebec in a seesaw battle by a score of 9-7.  The victory earned Larsen her third Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship victory, and her first since 2007.  She surpassed Tammie Jones and Amy Chen, both two-time champions, for most Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship career titles.

Before securing her third title, Larsen had to go through a strong newcomer in Jacob, whose previous playing career consisted primarily of 9-Ball, with little experience playing 8-Ball.  Despite her lack of proficiency in 8-Ball, Jacob gave Larsen all she could handle in the final.

Jacob got on the board first in the 9-Ball set, with Larsen taking the next two games and a 3-2 lead.  Jacob took the next rack, before Larsen secured the next two, one by way of a 9-on-the snap.  With Larsen leading 4-2, Jacob showed some fight, battling back to win the next two games and even the match at 4-4.  Larsen regained the lead, before Jacob again evened things up at 5-5.  Larsen took the final game of 9-Ball as the match moved to the 8-Ball set.

Larsen took the first game of the 8-Ball set and the players traded wins over the next three games.  In the fifteenth game of the match, the ladies engaged in a showdown of defensive shots.  It was here that Jacob’s lack of experience in 8-Ball hindered her, as Larsen won the safety battle and eventually the match, 9-7.

Jacob finished as the Runner-up, the highest finish ever for a Canadian in the Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Stacie Bourbeau of Orange, Mass., finished in 3rd Place.

Forty-two ladies competed in this year’s Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Larsen moves on to compete in a Pro Event in 2020, courtesy of APA.

Both championship matches can now be viewed for free the APA YouTube channel at in addition to dozens of other matches that were lived streamed from this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.  Streaming for the U.S. Amateur Championship was sponsored by

The entry window for the 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship is now open with the Preliminary Rounds scheduled across North America in mid-September.

The U.S. Amateur Championship is conducted by the APA, and is the only tournament produced by the APA open to both members and non-members.  Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-September.

As Champions, both Baker and Larsen will return next year to defend their coveted titles.

The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation’s top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.

The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, with leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.  Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play.  The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.

The APA produces four major tournaments each year—the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the APA Junior Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out more than $2 Million in cash and prizes annually!

The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues, Pool Dawg and Valley-Dynamo.

To register for next year’s U.S. Amateur Championship, visit  For more information on the American Poolplayers Association, visit

Orcollo claims VA State 10-Ball Championship title

Dennis Orcollo

Lynch claims Women's title


Only two of the four finalists on-hand for the Open and Ladies' 2016 VA State 10-Ball Championships made it to the 2017 Championships, held on the weekend of February 11-12. In 2016, Janet Atwell and Jacki Duggan chalked up their second straight winner/runner-up (Atwell/Duggan) titles, and though Duggan competed in this year's event, finishing in the tie for 7th place, Atwell didn't play. Eric Moore and Brandon Shuff battled in the 2016 finals, and though Moore competed, finishing in the tie for 13th place, Shuff didn't play this year.

Instead, the respective 2017 Open and Ladies' titles went to Dennis Orcollo and Meredith Lynch
The Open event drew 60 entrants, while the Ladies' event drew 14, both to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
Orcollo and the 2015 VA State 10-Ball Champion, Shaun Wilkie, battled twice in this year's event. Wilkie won their first match (one of the winners' side semifinals), and Orcollo won their second, in the finals.
Orcollo's position as the #3-ranked player in the world, may have led some to believe that he'd cut through this field like a hot knife through warm butter, but 'butter' fought back a bit in this event. Through his opening four matches, Orcollo was giving up between three and four racks per match; four each to Max Schlothauer and Jarrod Clowery, and three each to Chris Bruner and Reymart Lim. Orcollo was still a 'hot knife,' but his opponents in this event were doing a good imitation of butter just out of the refrigerator. In the winners' side semifinals, the 'hot knife' ran into some fresh-out-of-the-freezer butter, in the person of Shaun Wilkie, who defeated him 8-4 to get into the hot seat match. Wilkie was joined by Larry Kressel, who'd sent John Newton to the loss side 8-3 in their winners' side semifinal. Wilkie claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Kressel, and waited (the butter approaching room temperature) for the return of the 'hot knife.'
On the loss side, Orcollo picked up Mike Davis, who'd been defeated by Bobby Stovall in the second round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him just as far as Orcollo. Newton drew Reymart Lim, who'd gotten by Chris Futrell 6-2, and Sean Sporleder 6-4 to reach him. 
Orcollo cut through Davis without giving up a single rack, and in the quarterfinals, faced Lim, who'd given up only one rack to Newton. In the quarterfinals and semifinals, Lim and then, Kressel, put up back-to-back, three-racks-against fights, but were eliminated, sending Orcollo back for a re-match against Wilkie. 
It wasn't looking good for the 'knife' in the early going of the finals, as Wilkie took a 5-2 lead. Orcollo, though won eight of the next nine games to claim the event title.
Lynch goes undefeated to claim VA State Ladies' 10-Ball title
[photo id=45763|align=right]It took Meredith Lynch just five matches to claim the 2017 VA State Ladies' Championship title. She got into the hot seat with an aggregate score of 24-11. Once by Sierra Reams and Lisa Cossette, she faced Bethany Sykes in a winners' side semifinal, as Cheryl Pritchard squared off against Nicole Fleming. Lynch downed Sykes 6-3, and in the hot seat match, in their first of two, faced Pritchard, who'd sent Fleming west 6-4. Lynch gave up four of the 11 racks she'd given up to gain the hot seat by defeating Pritchard 6-4.
On the loss side, Sykes picked up Tina Malm (winner of the APT's Ladies' season opener in January), who'd been defeated by Cossette in the opening round, and gotten by Sierra Reams 5-3, Melissa Mason 5-2, and last year's runner-up, Jacki Duggan, double hill, to reach her. Fleming drew Daisy Lim, who, like Malm, had lost an opening round match (to Fleming 6-1) and downed Terry Stovall, double hill; Cossette 5-3, and Gwen Townsend, double hill to earn a re-match against Fleming.
Sykes and Fleming advanced to the quarterfinals; Sykes 5-2 over Malm, and Fleming 5-3 over Lim, a second time. Three straight double hill battles marked the end of the Ladies' event. Fleming downed Sykes in the quarterfinals, and then, Pritchard eliminated Fleming in the semifinals. Pritchard put up a double hill fight in her second match against Lynch, but Lynch hung on to win 8-7.

Moore comes back from semifinals to win VA State 8-Ball Championships

Reams comes from loss side to win short-field Women's event

Eric Moore solidified his hold on the top position in the Action Pool Tour rankings with a come-from-the-loss-side victory at the VA State 8-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour on the weekend of November 12-13. Sierra Reams, after a loss in one of the winners' side semifinals, came back to claim the VA Women's 8-Ball Championship title. The Open event drew 56 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA. The women drew an extraordinarily short field of six to the same location.

Female competitors living in the vicinity of the Northeast Corridor, extending along a two and half hour section of Route 95 from Midlothian, VA to Elkridge, MD (along with others who may have traveled from other areas), had two choices over the weekend. They could attend the VA State Women's 8-Ball Championships in Midlothian, or the season finale of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour in Elkridge. Combined, the two events drew 26 women, six of whom opted for the APT event in Midlothian. 
Sierra Reams' trek to the victory in the VA State 8-ball event was extended by two matches, when she was defeated, double hill, in a winners' side semifinal by Kim Whitman. Jacki Duggan joined Whitman in the hot seat match, following a 6-4 victory over Terri Stovall. Duggan claimed the hot seat 6-4 over Whitman.
On the loss side, Reams downed Vivian Nguyen 5-1 to advance to the quarterfinals. Bethany Sykes downed Stovall, double hill, to join her. Reams took the quarterfinal match over Sykes 5-2, and then locked up in a double hill fight against Whitman in their semifinals re-match. Reams won it for a shot at Duggan in the finals. Reams defeated Duggan 8-6 to claim the title.
In the Open event, All 10 of the Action Pool Tour's top 10 competitors were on hand to battle for the 8-ball title, all vying (with one event to go) for the top two slots on the season-end ranking list, which will earn those top two players free entry into all three divisions of the 2017 US Bar Table Championships in Las Vegas, and a shared free hotel room during the event. The #1-ranked player, which, with only the one event to go, would appear to be Moore, will earn plane fare to the event, as well.
Moore's primary nemesis in this event proved to be Max Schlothauer, making a rare appearance on the tour; his first this year (he defeated TD Ozzy Reynolds in the finals of an event a few years ago). Moore and Schlothauer came to the first of their two meetings, in the hot seat match, on the heels of two distinctly different paths. Moore faced four opponents before Schlothauer and gave up an average of 3.5 racks to each of them; overall, 28-14. Schlothauer faced just as many and gave up an average of only one rack to each of his opponents; overall, 28-4.
Following victories over Yuta Morooka, Chris Pyle, Chris Bruner, and Danny Mastermaker, Moore squared off against Jamey Mellott in one of the winners' side semifinals. Schlothauer got by Luther Pickeral, Ernie Allen, Alan Duty, and Reggie Jackson to draw Kenny Miller in the other winners' side semifinal. Between them, Moore and Schlothauer gave up only a single rack in the two winner's side semifinals. Moore allowed Mellott one, while Schlothauer advanced to the hot seat match after a shutout over Miller. Moore chalked up as many racks against Schlothauer in the hot seat match, as all five of Schlothauer's previous opponents combined. Schlothauer claimed the hot seat 7-4 and waited on Moore's return.
On the loss side, Mellott picked up Bruner, who, following his loss to Moore on the winners' side, got by Wai Cho Yee, Bobby Stovall, Reggie Jackson and Yuta Morooka. Miller drew Mastermaker, who'd gotten by Duty, double hill, and Rick Glasscock 6-4 (Glasscock had previously eliminated the tour's #3-player, Shaun Wilkie). Mastermaker downed Miller 6-1, advancing to the quarterfinals against Bruner, who'd eliminated Mellott 6-4.
It was Bruner who advanced to meet Moore in the semifinals, following a 6-3 win over Mastermaker in the quarterfinals. Moore ended Bruner's six-match, loss-side streak with a 6-4 win in the semifinals. In a reversal of fortunes, Moore was able to chalk up as many racks against Schlothauer in the finals as had been chalked up against him to that point (8). Schlothauer managed only three in those finals. Moore was able to record his third APT victory on the year, and claim the VA State 8-Ball Championship title, to go along with his previous VA State 10-Ball Championship title that he earned back in February.