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Mike “Bads” wins Iwan Simonis Ride The 9 Tour entry in the ‘ghost’ tournament phenomenon

Mike Badsteubner (Erwin Dionisio)

Mike Badstuebner won the four matches he needed to win to emerge as the Iwan Simonis Ride the 9 Tour’s fourth champion in the first ‘virtual’ 9-ball ghost challenge that the opted to call The Hunger Games. Alex Bausch was the event’s runner-up.

A total of 21 players played in qualifiers, which began on June 7, to get down to a final 16-players. Larry Steele and Francisco Cifuentes III finished (June 13) as the top two players to advance to the 16-player, single elimination field that eventually crowned Badstuebner. Badstuebner and Bausch both qualified with 110 points.

The qualifying rounds (for entrants with Fargo ratings of 710 or below) featured four sets of five games for each player. The lowest score of the four sets was dropped and a qualification score was derived from the sum of the other three sets. Each pocketed ball in a given rack was worth a single point and the 9-ball was worth two points; points could be deducted for a variety of ‘foul’ reasons. Steele entered the final stage having chalked up 128 points (a little less than 43 points for each of his best three-of-four sets). Cifuentes qualified with a score of 121 (40 +/ points).

The final 16-entrant event, which began on June 14 and finished on Monday, June 22, featured single races to increasing numbers (5, 8, 11 & 13). Steele, in the opening round’s race to 5, fell to Euryel Castillo 25-22 (one of three matches in the opening eight with a score differential of three or less points). Castillo advanced to face Vinny Crescimanno in one of the quarterfinal matches. Badstuebner, in the meantime, fell three balls short of reaching the five-rack potential of 50 points in the opening round by defeating Kevin Burris 47-20. He advanced to face Casey Olivieri in another of the event’s quarterfinal matches.

Second-highest qualifier Francisco Cifuentes III defeated Steve Sutton 43-24 in the opening round, which set him up against Douglas Arcadi in a third quarterfinal. Eventual runner-up Alex Bausch got by Bob Dargis 47-40 in the opening round, which put him against Frank Porto in the remaining quarterfinal.

“Bads” and Castillo advanced to the semifinals; “Bads,” with an 53-0 victory over Olivieri and Castillo downing Crescimanno 53-40 in their races to 8. Bausch and Cifuentes III became the other semifinal ‘team,’ as “Bads” eliminated Castillo 83-56 and Bausch disposed of Cifuentes 96-70.

“Bads” and Bausch finished this event on Gloria Jean’s Iwan Simonis Ride the 9 Tour with a nail biting race to 13. “Bads” claimed the event title and its $600 first prize with a single-point victory over Bausch 104-103.

Tour director Gloria Jean thanked all of the players who participated in this event, as well as feature commentators Melissa Little, Mike Badstuebner, Upstate Al, Mary Avina and Ivan Lee, President & CEO of Iwan Simonis. She thanked all of her sponsors to include title sponsor Simonis Billiard Cloth. Jean is planning more virtual events and is running a “virtual break and run pot.” Further information is available on the Iwan Simonis Ride the 9 Tour page on Facebook.

Boudreau wins NE 9-Ball Series Tour Championship with lowest Fargo rate among final 12

(l to r): Kyle Pepin, Tyler Boudreau & Kevin Bauccio

Pepin wins 11 on the loss side to meet him in the finals
Tyler Boudreau picked the 2019 New England 9-Ball Series Tour Championships to chalk up his first singles win on the tour. On any tour, according to our records. He and Tom D’Alfonso shared first-place honors during the tour’s 20th stop in May, a partners tournament and placed 4th in another partners event in August. Boudreau finished in 3rd place, behind Cullen Ryan and Lukas Fracasso-Verner at the tour’s Players’ Championship in March. Boudreau finished in 9th place in what was his only cash-earning appearance on the 2018 tour. He went undefeated at the $10,000-added event that drew 112 entrants to Bo’s Billiards in Warwick, RI on the weekend of September 7-8.
Boudreau, who, Fargo rated at 445, was the lowest ranked competitor among the event’s final 12, faced a total of eight opponents, with an average Fargo Rate of 522 (+). He faced a lower Fargo rated player only once; Don Roy (435) in the opening round of play. He faced separate much higher-rated opponents in the hot seat and finals – Kevin Bauccio (607) and Kyle Pepin (655).
Boudreau got by Don Roy, Josh Edmonds, James Stonkus, Josh Staples and Casey Olivieri to draw Justin Myers in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kevin Bauccio, in the meantime, after victories over Rick Gatta, Tom D’Alfonso, Ricardo Diaz, Joe Dupuis (last year’s Tour Champion), and Ross Webster faced Cody Porter in the other winners’ side semifinal. Kyle Pepin, who’d opened his campaign with a 7-3 win over Rich Senna, fell to Mike Nicoloro 6-4 I the second round and embarked on an 11-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him into the finals against Boudreau.
In a straight-up race to 7, Bauccio defeatEd Porter 7-4. He was joined in the battle for the hot seat by Boudreau, who, in a straight-up race to 6, had defeated  Myers 6-3. With Bauccio racing to 9 in the hot seat match, Boudreau gave up only three racks to him and claimed the hot seat 4-3.
Over on the loss side, Pepin was working his way through the field. He was six matches into his winning streak that had included two double hill wins (over Tom D’Alfonso and Chad Bazinet) when he ran into his third double hill win (over Gene Hunt) and then, eliminated Lukas Fracasso-Verner 6-4 to draw Cody Porter. Justin Myers picked up James Stonkus, who’d eliminated Casey Olivieri 5-2 and Josh Caesar 5-3.
Pepin advanced to the quarterfinals, chalking up his fourth double hill win over Porter. He was joined by Myers, who’d defeated Stonkus 5-2.
Pepin’s fifth and final double hill win of 11 loss-side matches came in those quarterfinals as he eliminated Myers. He then defeated Bauccio 7-4 for a shot at Boudreau in the hot seat.
With Pepin racing to 10, Boudreau completed his undefeated run with a first set 4-4 victory that earned him his first major regional tour win.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Bo’s Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, BCA Pool League, 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 2019-2020 season of the New England 9-Ball Series (Stop #1) will commence on Sunday, Sept. 22 and will be hosted by Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.