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Fracasso-Verner goes undefeated to capture MD State 10-Ball title

Loye Bolyard, David Nangle, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Kevin West, Rick Scarlato Jr. and room owner Giogio Wu

Former junior champion, Lukas Fracasso-Verner chalked up his first major win in almost two years, going undefeated to claim Maryland State’s 10-Ball Championships, held this past weekend (Dec. 11-12) at 7 Billiards Shady Grove in Gaithersburg. MD. Though he had finished atop a short field of Second Chance competitors at a Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour stop this past July, it was a far, pandemic-interrupted cry away from his undefeated run through a field of 140 in the Predator Pro Am Tour’s 2019 Empire State Championships’ Amateur division, in what remains (according to our records) his best earnings year to date. The MD State 10-Ball Championships drew 46 entrants to 7 Billiards Shady Grove. 

Fracasso-Verner was challenged in the finals of this 10-ball event by Kevin West, who’d lost his opening match to Brian Tierney and embarked on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak in which he gave up, on average, only two racks per match. He didn’t give up more than three until his seventh loss-side match.

Fracasso-Verner was stingy in his opening round matches, as well. After an opening round bye, he got by Mike McNiff, Scott Haas and Justin Pelech by an aggregate score of 21-2, arriving at a winners’ side semifinal match against Jimmy Rivera, who was about to add substantially to Fracasso-Verner’s opponent racks. Caleb Koury, in the meantime, advanced through Thang Nguyen (3), Dave Nangle (double hill), and Shawn Jackson (4) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Andy Lincoln.

Both matches for advancement to the hot seat match went double hill; Rivera chalking up three times as many matches against Fracasso-Verner as all of his previous opponents combined, while Koury was being challenged by Lincoln. Fracasso-Verner and Koury ended up squaring off in the hot seat match and though Koury chalked up as many racks against Fracasso-Verner as his first three opponents did (2), they weren’t nearly enough. Fracasso-Verner sat in the hot seat, waiting and no doubt watching, as Kevin West continued his loss-side winning streak.

Lincoln arrived on the loss side to face West, who was six matches into his winning streak, with an aggregate score of 42-7 and most recent victories over Justin Pelech 7-2 and Matt Krah 7-1. Rivera picked up Steve Fleming, who, like West, had lost his opening winners’ side match and was in the midst of his own seven-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently included the elimination of Shawn Jackson 7-4 and Andy Huang 7-3.

Fleming downed Rivera 7-2, as West was busy eliminating Lincoln 7-5. West defeated Fleming 7-4 in the subsequent quarterfinal. West made short work of Koury in the semifinals that followed, downing him 7-1, for a shot at Fracasso-Verner, waiting for him in the hot seat. 

When they squared off in the finals, Fracasso-Verner had won, on average, three out of every four games he’d played throughout the event to that point; 78% (35-10). West, on average, had fallen just short of that at 73% (68-25). Fracasso-Verner had played five matches and 45 games. West had played twice as many matches and games (10 and 93). 

In one of those oddities of statistics, the finals didn’t affect Fracasso-Verner’s overall game-winning percentage at all. It stayed right where it had been at 78%. It did, however, have a significant effect on West’s percentage. Having given up so few during most of his loss-side run, his two overall losses added 14 games to his opponents’ side of that ledger, knocking his overall winning percentage down eight points, from 73% going into the finals, to 68% afterwards. Fracasso-Verner claimed the MD State 10-Ball title with a 7-2 victory in those finals.

Tour directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff of 7 Billiards Shady Grove for their hospitality, as well as Mezz Cues, Turtle Racks, AlleyKat Cue Sports,, Aramith Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region & Safe Harbor Retirement Planners. The next On The Hill Productions event, scheduled for January 22-23, 2022, at the Choptank Bowling & Billiards in Cambridge, MD will be the premier, skill-level event of a new Bar Box Bonanza Series, which will continue through the new year through November, culminating in a $4,000-added finale, scheduled for Nov. 12-13, 2022 at Choptank Bowling and Billiards.