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Joey Tate goes undefeated to win July 4th weekend stop on the Carolina Pool Tour

Joey Tate

North Carolina’s Joey Tate is right on the verge of making his age an irrelevant fact. He turned 17 less than a month ago (June 28) and he’s in the midst of recording his best earnings year since he started showing up on AZBilliards’ database in 2017 at the age of 12. It could well be that his competitors over these past five years are growing tired of hearing that he’s a junior competitor, especially after he’s defeated one of them in a major event. This past July 4th weekend, he joined 32 other entrants at a $1,000-added stop on the Carolina Pool Tour (in collaboration with the Players Madness Tour) at Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC and went undefeated to the finish line, defeating perennial North Carolina State Champion Mike Davis, Jr. in the finals.

As the Billiards Education Foundation’s 2022 Junior National Champion in the 18 & Under Boys Division, which is only the most recent of his accomplishments since he was a 7th grader, Tate brings to his forays into the ‘real world’ of regional tour competition, a sense of confidence, tempered by an awareness about the dangers of overconfidence.

“When you win,” he said after this past weekend’s victory, “you can get caught up in it, to the point of arrogance; not like in how you behave, but an arrogance in your own mind.”

“You still have to stay humble and hungry,” he added. 

He pointed to separate influences on him, which keep him in that ‘humble and hungry’ mode; his Christian faith, which grants him the opportunity to be, among other things, thankful for the victories, as well as his own experiences at the table and his observations of the top professionals.

“Through experience,” he said, “you can catch the thoughts that trigger arrogance and block them out. And watching pro players when they’re playing their best; you can see how focused they are and how clean their shots are.

“So,” he added, “it’s really about a combination of those things.”

Tate had his ‘hungry and humble’ hands full from the outset. He opened his six-match march to the win against Michael Yingling, who promptly battled him to double hill. Tate survived, advancing through another junior competitor, Cole Lewis 7-3, then, Adam Pendley 7-4 and in a winners’ side semifinal, in a second double hill fight, he defeated Josh Heeter. Tate advanced to the hot seat match. 

Tate’s eventual hot seat opponent, Cory Morphew, on the other hand, shut out three of the four opponents he faced to get to that match; Reene Driskill in their opening-round match, BJ Ussery in the third round and Chuck Ritchie in the winners’ side semifinal. The only opponent he didn’t shut out was Mike Davis, Jr., who chalked up five against him in their second-round match (33 entrants in the bracket made the opening round of the event a single match). Davis and Morphew would meet again in the semifinals, which, as it turned out, did not go well for Morphew. Neither did the hot seat match, won by Tate 7-4.

On the loss side, Heeter picked up Ussery, who’d followed his loss to Morphew with victories over Bruce Campbell 7-4 and Kelly Farrar 7-2. Ritchie drew Davis, who followed his loss to Morphew with a seven-match, loss-side run to the finals, that had recently eliminated Adam Pendley and Clint Clark, both 7-4.

Davis downed Ritchie 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Ussery, who’d eliminated Heeter, also  7-3. Davis gave up only a single rack to Ussery in those quarterfinals and stepped into his rematch against Morphew in the semifinals. 

Davis downed Morphew 7-3 for a shot at Tate in the hot seat. Tate claimed the event title of Stop #8 on the Carolina Pool Tour with a 7-2 win over Davis.

Co-tour directors Nickolus Rogers and Xzavia Boykin of the Players Madness Tour thanked the ownership and staff at Breaktime Billiards and all of the players who attended the July 4th weekend event.

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White comes from the loss side to double dip Ritchie in Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball event

Hunter White

Hunter White chalked up his second 2020 win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, one week shy of six months after winning the first one on the weekend of January 25-26. On the weekend of July 18-19, with tour director Herman Parker still recovering at home from a heart-related problem and Angela Parker ably filling in, the tour moved into Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC. White and Chuck Ritchie played twice in this one, with White winning both sets of the true double elimination final. The event drew 31 entrants to the site.

White and Ritchie made it to their respective winners’ side semifinals. Ritchie advanced to the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Zac Leonard. White, though, got sent to the loss side 9-2 by Junior Young who turned to face Ritchie in the hot seat match. Ritchie won it 7-2 and waited on what turned out to be the return of White.

White opened his loss-side campaign against Sammy Manley, who’d defeated Hank Powell 5-2 and Junior Gabriel, double hill, to reach him. Leonard picked up junior player, Landon Hollingsworth, who’d eliminated Clint Clark, double hill, and Jeff Abernathy 6-1.

White downed Manley 9-2 and in the quarterfinals, was to have faced Leonard, who’d defeated Hollingsworth 7-5. White was able to leapfrog into the semifinals, when Leonard failed to appear on Sunday.

White downed Junior Young 9-1 in those semifinals. White thus completed his loss-side trip back to the finals having given up only three racks over 21 games.

The momentum served White well. He downed Ritchie 9-3 in the opening set, and though Ritchie would force a deciding game in the second set, White would that one as well, 9-6.

Tour director Angela Parker (and in absentia, Herman) thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (July 25-26), will be a $500-added event, hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

Brady holds off Heeter in double elimination final to capture Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

Norris Brady

When they met in the finals of the Feb. 1-2 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, they were both looking to capture their second-ever title on the tour. Josh Heeter captured his first title anywhere with a win on the tour, just over a year ago, when he lost his opening match and won 11 on the loss side to meet and double dip Brian White. Heeter was also runner-up to BJ Ussery in a tour event in October, and 4th in an event, also won by Ussery, in June. Norris Brady was making his first appearance on the tour since June of 2018, a year in which he won a stop on the tour and finished in the money two other times; 9th in the earlier NC State 9-Ball Championships (March) and 13th at a stop in June. Brady was also the tour’s first tour champion in 2013. They met twice in this most recent event in both sets of a double elimination final with Brady in the hot seat and Heeter having won three on the loss side to meet him. Heeter took the opening set of that final to force a second set, won by Brady. The event drew 68 entrants to Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.
They’d both advanced to a winners’ side semifinal. Heeter, facing Clay Davis and Brady, squaring off against Stevie McClinton. Davis sent Heeter to the loss side, as Brady was busy defeating McClinton 9-5. Brady gave up only a single rack, claiming the hot seat 9-1.
On the loss side, it was Chuck Ritchie who drew Heeter, just after surviving two straight double hill fights against Jason Potts and Jeff Abernathy. McClinton picked up Brandon Butts, who’d defeated Jeff Little 5-2 and Zac Leonard 5-5 (Leonard racing to 8).
Butts prevailed in a double hill fight versus McClinton (5-6) and was joined in the quarterfinals by Heeter, who’d eliminated Ritchie 8-4. Heeter then eliminated Butts 8-2 in those quarterfinals to earn himself a rematch against Davis in the semifinals.
Heeter wreaked his vengeance on Davis 8-4, loading himself up on momentum that carried over into the first set of the double elimination final against Brady. Heeter took that opening set 8-1, so they loaded up for a second meet. This one stretched out a bit, as they both looked to claim the title. They battled to double hill before Brady prevailed to claim the event title.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Gate City Billiards Club, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for Feb. 7-8, will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

Ussery dethrones defending champ Davis at 4th NC State 8-Ball Open

(l to r): Mike Davis & BJ Ussery

Mike Davis had won three straight North Carolina State 8-Ball Open titles and arrived in Hickory, NC on the weekend of September 14-15 to chalk up his fourth. His path to the event victory went off-course early as he was sent to the loss side in the event’s second round. He would win seven matches on the loss side, but in the end, it was BJ Ussery, completing an undefeated run, who would unseat him from his 8-Ball Open throne and wear the crown for the first time. The $500-added event drew 28 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory.
Davis was defeated in the second round by Jason Evans, who followed him to the loss side later. In the meantime, Ussery and Shannon Fitch advanced to winners’ side semifinals versus Mike Bumgarner and Justin Martin, respectively.
Fitch and Martin locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Martin to the loss side. Ussery punctuated his advance to the hot seat match with a shutout over Bumgarner. He then downed Fitch 7-4 to claim the hot seat and wait for the event’s defending champion to finish his loss-side run.
After chalking up his first two loss-side wins, Davis eliminated Chuck Ritchie 6-4 and survived a double hill fight against Daniel Gambill to draw Martin in the first money round. Bumgarner picked up Jason Evans, who’d shut out Travis Worden and then, in spite of being down 5-0 to Hank Powell, came back to defeat him 6-5 and face Bumgarner.
Davis and Evans advanced to their quarterfinal rematch; Evans over Bumgarner 6-2 and Davis over Martin 6-4. As Ussery had punctuated his advance to the hot seat match, Davis punctuated his advance to the semifinals with a rematch shutout over Evans. He then earned the right to defend his 8-Ball Open title with a 6-3 over Fitch in those semifinals.
The final match was a straight race to 9. Ussery won it 9-7 to claim his first NC State 8-Ball Open title.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (September 21-22) will be a $500-added ($1,000-added with 64 entrants) event, hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.