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Chestna goes undefeated to win his second NE 9-Ball Series stop

Chris Ouimette, Ronny Chestna, and James Smith

In only his first year with an AZBilliards Player Profile, Ronny Chestna has cashed in two events on the New England 9-Ball Series. He shared an event title with Paul Kazalski back in February at the conclusion of the Dave Marcus Memorial (Stop #2) and this past weekend (Nov. 28), he went undefeated in Stop #7 on the tour to claim his first, no-asterisk event title.

Chestna was challenged in the finals by James Smith, who, after benefiting from an opening round forfeit, lost his opening match and went on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that took him all the way to the finals and included a double hill victory over the aforementioned Paul Kazalski. The $500-added event drew 38 entrants to Stroker’s Billiards in Pelham, NH.

Working in the upper bracket of the two employed by the NE 9-Ball Series in their tour stops, and the recipient of an opening round bye, Chestna won three straight 6-2 matches, against Brandon Coley, Dana Mackenzie and Steven Smith. This put him into a winners’ side semifinal against Mark Ruzzano. Chris Ouimette, in the meantime, working in the lower bracket, was also awarded an opening round bye, before defeating Tony Mendonca and Curtis Wright, both 5-3, and then, in a double hill fight, Bob Campbell. Ouimette drew Troy Fortin in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Chestna and Ouimette each gave up only a single rack to their opponent in advancing to the hot seat match; Chestna, 6-1 over Ruzzano and Ouimette 5-1 over Fortin. Chestna put a bit of an exclamation point on his battle for the hot seat, shutting Ouimette out to claim it.

On the loss side, Smith had chalked up five of his eight wins against Mae Paonessa 8-2, Michelle Haddock 6-3 and Josh Turransky 8-3 before running into Paul Kazalski. He eliminated Kazalski, double hill, before defeating Bob Campbell 5-1 and drawing Troy Fortin, fresh from the winners’ side, in the first money round. Ruzzano picked up a rematch against Xhuljano Kamxhiu, whom he’d sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal and had defeated Tyler Boudreau, double hill and Daniel Simoneau 6-2 for a second shot at him.

The last three matches of Smith’s loss-side run all went double hill. He and Kamxhiu handed Fortin and Ruzzano their second straight loss; Smith in the first of his three straight double hill fights, as Kamxhiu, in the meantime, successfully wreaked his vengeance on Ruzzano 6-2.

Smith then defeated Kamxhiu in the subsequent quarterfinal match and completed his loss-side trip to the finals against Ouimette in the semifinals. Smith locked up in his fourth double hill match in the finals against Chestna, but Chestna hung on to win it.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Stroker’s, as well as Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Salotto, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America, Piku Tips and Just the Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories.

The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#8), scheduled for the weekend of December 12-13, will be a $500-added Partners event, hosted by Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

Fracasso-Verner comes from the loss side to win 14th Annual Robert Dionne Memorial

Richard Comeau, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Bobby Lewis, and Marc Dionne

At the age of 17, Lukas Fracasso-Verner has already chalked up an enviable number of regional tour victories. Most recently, in what was, to date, his best earnings year (2018), he added victories on the Predator Pro Am Tour (March) and The New England 9-Ball Series (October),  in the middle of which, on Memorial Day weekend, he became the youngest player (at 16) to ever win the Georgy “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Amateur Tournament in New York City. He won the 8th Annual “Ginky” Memorial by emerging from a field of 143 competitors, winning 12 on the loss side (after being defeated in the opening round of play), and downing hot seat occupant, Chuck Allie, in the finals. On the weekend of January 12-13, Fracasso-Verner signed on to compete in the New England 9-Ball Series’ 14th Annual Robert Dionne Memorial (commemorating tour director Marc Dionne’s father), and trodding what would appear to be a comfortable path for himself, he came from deep on the loss side to challenge hot seat occupant, Bobby Lewis, and win his second NE 9-Ball Series title. The $750-added event drew 31 entrants to Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.
Lukas (easier to type repeatedly than Fracasso-Verner) opened what would prove to be his winning campaign with a 7-3 (upper, higher-ranked bracket) win over Jeff Furness. In the next round, he was defeated, double hill, by Jason Richard (they would come within a single match of meeting a second time). Lukas began a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him to the finals, and then, conclude with a title-earning victory over Lewis.
Richard would advance to a winners’ side quarterfinal against Lewis, who would send him to the loss side 7-3, and then meet Joe Lynch in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Richard Comeau and Emily Cady, in the meantime, emerging from the lower bracket, met in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Lewis shut out Lynch to get into the hot seat match, where he was joined by Comeau, who’d sent Cady to the loss side, double hill. Comeau would force an 11th, deciding game in that hot seat match by chalking up two of the three racks he needed against the much higher-rated Lewis (614 Fargo Rate, compared to Comeau’s 434), who was racing to 9. Lewis though dropped the 9-ball in the 9th game he needed to claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, Lukas was working his way toward the money rounds and an eventual meet-up in the first money round against Lynch. He’d recorded two victories on the loss side, when he chalked up two straight shutouts, over Tom Hood and Geoff James, to meet up with Lynch. Cady, in the meantime, drew Chris Ouimette, who’d defeated Jason Seavey 3-2 (Seavey racing to 4) and Juan White, double hill, 4-2.
Lukas downed Lynch 6-2, as Cady, in a straight-up race to 4, shut Ouimette out to join Lukas in the quarterfinals. Over the next 18 games that put Lukas into the finals, he’d give up only two racks; one each to Cady in the quarterfinals, and Comeau in the semifinals.
Going into the finals, Lukas, needing to win two matches to claim the title, had given up only 10 racks in his last 53 loss-side games (81% win average). With hot seat occupant Bobby Lewis racing to 5 in the opening set (Lukas to 6), Lukas took the opener 6-2. They reduced the ‘races’ in the second set; Lukas to 5, and Lewis to 4 (Lukas with the higher Fargo Rate/642-614). Lukas chalked up his third shutout, finishing with the same win average of 81% with which he went into the finals and claimed the event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked everyone who participated in the event, to which a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the March of Dimes in memory of his father. He also thanked the ownership and staff of Crow’s Nest, and 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 (#12), will be the $2,000-added Winter Classic, scheduled for the weekend of January 26-27, at Snookers, in Providence, RI.