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Bausch, Akaloo and McNamara win Joss Tour Titles

Ron Casanzio with room owner Andrea Duvall and Alex Bausch

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour is on a roll with a new winner each week. Different than previous seasons where one or two players dominated the season with multiple title wins, the 2022 / 2023 Joss NE 9-Ball Tour has seen a different winner at each stop. That record continued through October with Alex Bausch winning his first career tour stop at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard on October 15th – 16th, Kyle Akaloo earning his first career tour stop win at Brickhouse Billiards in N. Syracuse on October 22nd – 23rd, and then Ray McNamara winning his first title of the year at American Pool & Billiards on October 29th – 30. 

Alex Bausch’s win on October 15th – 16th kicked off with an undefeated run to the hot-seat match, where he beat Dan Sharlow 9-5. Sharlow would not make it back to face Bausch in the finals, as Ron Casanzio was tearing through the one loss side and defeated Sharlow 7-5 in the semi-final match. 

Casanzio had lost to Bausch early in the day on Saturday, but won seven straight matches to get to the double elimination finals. Casanzio quickly extended that run of wins to eight, with a 9-2 win over Bausch in the first set of the finals, but Bausch took control in the second set and scored a 7-2 win for his first career Joss Tour Stop. 

Ron Casanzio, Brickhouse Billiards Manager Chloe Romanyk and Kyle Akaloo

The October 22nd – 23rd tour stop at Brickhouse Billiards looked a lot like the event a week before. This time, it was South Africa’s Kyle Akaloo who defeated Casanzio on Saturday as part of his run to the hot-seat match. Akaloo defeated Qays Kolee for the hot-seat 9-6, and Kolee found Casanzio on another winning streak on the left side of the board. This time, Casanzio’s run was only five consecutive wins, including a 7-2 win over Kolee, to put Casanzio in his second final match in as many weeks. 

Casanzio won the first set of the finals 9-7, but faltered again in the second set, dropping that match 7-3 for Akaloo’s first career Joss Tour win. 

Dave Hall, American Pool & Billiards Owner Jerry Giutard and Ray McNamara

The October 29th – 30th tour stop at American Pool & Billiards in Portland Maine saw Dave Hall run through the right side of the brackets and score a 9-3 win over Shane Cote to take the hot-seat. 

Cote, then dropped a heart-breaking 7-6 match against tour regular Ray McNamara, who had lost his Saturday match against Hall 9-8. McNamara strung together five straight wins on the left side of the board and got the finals underway with a 9-4 win over hot-seat holder Hall. While two players had been unable to complete the double dip the previous two events, McNamara was successful in his attempt this time, with a 7-5 win over Hall in the second set of the finals for McNamara’s first win on the tour since June of last year. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Diamond Billiards in Rochester, NY this weekend for tour stop number 8, with another $1500 added main event and $500 added second chance tournament. 

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Two tour veterans, each seeking first Joss NE 9-Ball title, battle it out in finals of season finale

Pete Bowman, Mike Zuglan, Snookers manager Paul Troxell and Ray McNamara

Oldest player to win on tour,’ Bob Darigis, wins Second Chance event

He’d be the first to tell you that it’d been a long time coming. But it did show up. This past weekend (June 4-5), after 20 years of attempts, Ray McNamara (generally known on the tour as ‘Ray Mac’) claimed his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour title, using the last regular season event of the tour’s 2021-2022 season to do so. In an effort that began (as far as we know) with a 7th place finish at a stop in Bristol, CT in October of 2002, McNamara went on to compete regularly on the Joss and other tours, and more recently, won the 364-entrant Amateur Senior event of the Super Billiards Expo this past April. The $1,500-added, 15th stop on the 2021-2022 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour drew 53 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

In addition to crowning a first-time champion, the event played host to another event champion, whom tour director Mike Zuglan described as “the oldest person (he could) think of who won any of (their) events.”  A $500-added Second Chance tournament that drew 14 entrants was won by 71-year-old Bob Darigis.

“Ray Mac and Bob were both around in the days when me, Larry Lisciotti and Joe Tucker were still playing around,” said Zuglan.

Ray Mac’s trip to the winners’ circle had to go through another Joss NE 9-Ball veteran, also looking for his first (recorded with us) win on the tour, Pete Bowman. They met twice; hot seat match and finals. Mac had gotten by Nick Coppola, Lida Mullendore, Clyde Matta and Ryan Cullen to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Bob Madenjian, who, it should be noted, finished in the four-way tie for 5th place behind McNamara in the SBE’s Amateur Senior tournament in April and would end up in the same position at this event. Peter Bowman sent Aro Majumber and Brandon Coley to the loss side before encountering the later-to-be winner of the Second Chance event, Bob Darigis, who battled him tooth and nail to double hill before he sent him over, as well. Bowman then downed Darren Jevons to pick up Kerry McAuliffe in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mac sent Madenjian west 9-2, while Bowman was defeating McAuliffe 9-3. McNamara claimed the hot seat 9-5, which was, as far as we know, his first.

On the loss side, McAuliffe picked up Steve Mack, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Madenjian and jumped onto the loss-side wagon with victories over Rich Kravetz 7-5 and Dan Sharlow 7-3. Madenjian picked up Francisco Salas, who’d also lost to Madenjian on the winners’ side (3rd round) and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals and include the double-hill elimination of Jeremy Sossei, followed by wins over Darren Jevons 7-2 and Frankie Hernandez 7-3.

Mack did his part to secure a rematch versus Madenjian with a 7-4 win over McAuliffe, but Salas took Madenjian out 7-5 and then eliminated Mack 7-3 in the quarterfinals. 

Bowman closed out Salas’ run with a 7-3 win in the semifinals to earn his second shot at Ray Mac, waiting for him in the hot seat. Though Salas would chalk up three more racks against Ray Mac in the finals than he had in the hot seat, Ray Mac prevailed 9-5 to claim his first Joss Northeast 9-Ball title, closing the ‘long time coming’ door behind him.

The final standings in tour points were headed up by Bucky Souvanthong, who appeared in nine of the season’s 15 events, winning five of them. Ron Casanzio finished in 2nd place, based on 10 appearances, with a single win. Jeremy Sossei was in 3rd place, having won three of his five appearances. Len Gianfrate placed fourth, just ahead of Aaron Greenwood. Rounding out the top 10 on the 2021-2022 tour were Jamie Garrett, Dan Sharlow, Frank Hernandez, Mhet Vergara and Bruce Carroll. 

Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked Regina and Steve Goulding and their Snookers’ staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Joss Cues, Turning Stone Resort Casino, Simonis Cloth, Poolonthenet.com, AZBilliards, Aramith, Billiards Press and World Class Cue Care. The next event, the tour’s season finale, scheduled for Sept. 1-4, will be the $25,000-added Turning Stone Classic XXXV 9-Ball Open, hosted by the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY

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Sossei Over Sim For Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Title

Jeremy Sossei Room Owner Bobby Hilton and Del Sim

Jeremy Sossei avenged his only loss to win his second Joss NE 9-Ball Tour title of the year  at Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT on April 9th – 10th. 

Sossei cruised through Saturday undefeated, with wins over Chad Esposito, Scott Carter, Rick Bentley and Ryan Cullen. Sossei’s biggest scare on Saturday was a 9-3 win over Carter that was part of an overall record of 36-7 for the day. While Sossei’s Saturday performance was impressive, equally impressive was Del Sim’s Saturday record of 36-9 with wins over Trystan Speedwell, Bob Ohashi, Jamie Gauthier and Bill Kiley. Joining Sossei and Sim on the winners side Sunday morning were Aaron Greenwood and Dan Sharlow. 

Greenwood scored a decisive 9-2 win over Greenwood and Sim matched that with a 9-2 win over Sossei. Sim then won a close 9-7 match over Greenwood to take the hot-seat. 

Sossei was put to the test in his first match on the left side of the board, as last week’s winner Lukas Fracasso-Verner took him to hill-hill before Sossei scored the win. Sossei then moved on to score more comfortable wins over Sharlow (7-2) and Greenwood (7-3) to line up a rematch with Sim in the finals. 

Sossei won the first set of the double elimination finals 9-6 and then flexed his 9-ball muscles a little for a 7-3 win in the second set. It was Sossei’s second Joss Tour win of the season, as he also won the Northeast 9-Ball Open XXXIII back in February. 

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Ryan Cullen take the hot-seat and then hold off a threat from Jamie Gauthier in the finals. Cullen had wins over Sheikh Ahmed, Roger Lakotko and Mike Renshaw on his way to the hot-seat, but dropped the first set of the finals to Gauthier 3-2. Cullen took the second set 3-1, for the win. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour is off for the rest of April and will hold their next event on May 14-15 at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY.

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Francisco Diaz Snags First Joss Tour Title

Francisco Diaz, Room Owner Andrea Duvall and Bucky Souvanthong

Last week’s stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour (see report here) saw Francisco “Frankie” Diaz drop his first match of the event to Mike Donnelly. After that 9-6 loss, Diaz put away his cue and left, forfeiting his match on the one loss side. Apparently, one of the keys to winning a tour stop is winning that first match. That seemed to be the lesson this week when the tour visited Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY. 

Diaz won his first match this week (9-2 over Jason Hall), and that win helped springboard him to success. Diaz finished up Saturday play with a 9-3 win over Aaron Greenwood and an impressive 9-2 win over Qais Kolee. 

Diaz came back on Sunday and proved that Saturday play was no fluke, starting the day off with a 9-1 win over Tim Davis to get to the hot-seat match. It was that match that gave Diaz his biggest challenge of the event, going hill-hill before beating Dan Sharlow. 

On the one loss side, last week’s winner Bucky Souvanthong was making up for an early Saturday loss to Mike Rash. Souvanthong won three straight matches on the left side (Jason Reese, Seth Delvillano and Kolee) to qualify for Sunday play. 

Souvanthong started Sunday play with a tester, as he went hill-hill with Len Gianfrate before dispatching Hendrik Drost (7-2), Jamie Garrett (7-2) and then Sharlow (7-4) to qualify for his third straight appearance in the finals of a Joss Tour stop. 

The finals went one set with Diaz scoring a 9-6 win to remain undefeated and capture his first title on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour. 

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Redgie Cutler on a tear. Cutler took the hot-seat with five match wins by a combined record of 15-3, beating Joe Wysocki 3-1 in the hot-seat match. One of Cutler’s wins on his way to the hot-seat was a 3-0 match over Aaron Greenwood, and it was Greenwood coming from the one loss side to challenge Cutler in the finals. Greenwood would take Cutler to hill-hill but would not be able to stop him, losing in the first set of the finals 3-2 for the Cutler win. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be in action again this weekend with a $1500 added main event and $500 added second chance tournament at Diamond Billiards Bar & Grill in Rochester, NY.

Sean Zeng Breaks Through For First Joss Tour Win

Len Gianfrate and Sean Zeng

Sean Zeng has made a habit of cashing in one Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop per year. He finished in 7th place at Eastridge Billiards in 2018, 2nd in the second chance tournament at Diamond Billiards in 2019 and 4th at Sharpshooters early last year. Each finish was progressively better each year as far as prize money, but if you are only going to cash in one tour stop a year, you may as well shoot for the moon. He hit the moon at the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop at Brickhouse Billiards in Syracuse, NY on June 26th and 27th.

Zeng was one of the forty eight players who competed in this, the second “post covid” stop on the tour. He kicked things off with a win over Jordan Turner and then turned in back to back hill-hill wins over Mike Lally and Bucky Souvanthong. A must less stressful 9-4 win over Tony Antone sent Zeng into Sunday play undefeated.

Zeng kept up his winning ways on Sunday with a 9-4 win over Rohit Aggarwal. On the opposite side of the board, Len Gianfrate had a little more of a problem with Marko Clarke, but won the match 9-7. Zeng would then beat Gianfrate by that same 9-7 scoreline.

On the one loss side, two early tournament favorites were heading towards a showdown. Both Ron Casanzio and Souvanthong had lost their third round matches on Saturday. Souvanthong to Zeng and Casanzio to Dave Grau in a 9-1 match he would likely prefer to forget.

Casanzio and Souvanthong both had five straight match wins on the left side of the board, and faced off against each other for third place. As expected, that match was a close one, that went to Casanzio 7-6. Casanzio would have to settle for second place though, as he then lost to Gianfrate in the semi-final match 7-5.

The rematch between Zeng and Gianfrate only went one set, with Zeng scoring another 9-7 win for his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour victory.

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw nineteen players looking for their share of $500 in added prize money. The winner’s side came down to Dan Sharlow and Dave Ricci, with Ricci taking the hot-seat 3-1. After Sharlow eliminated Jim Kearney on the one loss side, he came back and avenged his earlier loss with a 3-1 win over Ricci in the first set of the finals. The second set went to Ricci with another 3-1 scoreline for first place.

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will take the 4th of July weekend off, and get back to their next event at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY on July 10th – 11th.

Casanzio Takes Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Win Undefeated

Ron Casanzio, Room Owner’s Son Jeremiah Imburgia and Bruce Nagle

As it turns out, building a sizable winning stream of Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stops is a difficult proposition. Bucky Souvanthong came into Diamond Billiard Bar & Grill in Rochester NY, on November 2nd and 3rd looking to add to his two stop winning streak. Lyn Wechsler and Jeremiah Imburgia had other plans though, as they eliminated Souvanthong from play on day one of the event. 
 
Having more success on this weekend were Len Gianfrate, Dave Mills, Bruce Nagle and Ron Casanzio, who all escaped Saturday play undefeated. On Sunday, Gianfrate defeated Mills 9-5 and Casanzio beat Nagle 9-6. Casanzio then went on to send Gianfrate to the one loss side in the hot-seat match 9-3.
 
On the one loss side, both players coming over from the right side on Sunday won their matches with Nagle over Imburgia and Mills over Wechsler. Nagle then went on to eliminate Mills 7-4 and Gianfrate 7-6.
 
The finals went one set with Casanzio staying unbeaten and defeating Nagle 9-4 for first place. 
 
Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Qais Kolee in the hot-seat with a 3-0 win over Dan Sharlow. Sharlow then dropped the semi-final match to Sean Zeng. Zeng won the first set of the finals 3-2, but Kolee won the second set 3-0 for first place. 

Grau Wins Eastridge Joss Tour Stop

Dave Grau, East Ridge Billiards owner Chris Braiman and Spencer Auigbelle

Dave Grau went undefeated at Eastridge Billiards in Rochester, NY on February 23rd – 24th for his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop win in over ten years. No one can say he didn’t have to fight for it though. 
 
Grau’s Saturday wins were fairly routine, with the closest competitor (Joe Mayo) losing to Grau 9-6. Sunday, on the other hand, was a different story. Grau started his Sunday campaign with a hill-hill win over Jorge Teixeira and then followed that up with another hill-hill win, this time over Spencer Auigbelle for the hot-seat. 
 
Bucky Souvanthong put together an impressive five match winning streak on the one loss side, after losing a 9-6 match to Ron Casanzio on Saturday. Souvanthong ran out of gas on Sunday though, finishing in 4th place after a loss to Teixeira. Teixeira then dropped a 7-1 decision to Auigbelle in the semi-final match. 
 
The rematch between Grau and Auigbelle in the finals was just slightly more decisive with Grau winning the first (and only) set 9-7 for first place. 
 
Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Chris Braiman run through the right side of the board, scoring a 3-0 win over Dan Sharlow for the hot-seat. Aaron Cameron had lost to Braiman in his second match of the day, but navigated the one loss side and defeated Sharlow 3-1 in the semi-final match. Cameron would get his revenge and then some, in the final match. A 3-2 win in the first set of the finals was followed up by a 3-1 win in the second set to give Cameron first place. 
 
The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be back in action this weekend with the $2500 added 10th NE Pool & Billiard Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open at Snookers in Providence R.I. 
 

Souvanthong holds off Casanzio for Joss Tour Win

Bucky Souvanthong (Courtesy Erwin Dionisio)

Bucky Souvanthong held off a late charge from Ron Casanzio to win the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop at East Ridge Billiards in Rochester NY over the October 5th – 6th weekend.
 
Souvanthong’s Saturday consisted of three wins, 9-4 over Dan Sharlow and then back to back 9-3 wins over Sean Zeng and Dave Mills
 
Joining Souvanthong on the winner’s side on Sunday were Lyn Wechsler, Casanzio and Sourith Thammavong. Casanzio made quick work of Wechsler 9-1, while Souvanthong had a slightly closer 9-4 win over Thammavong. That left Souvanthong and Casanzio to battle for the hot-seat, which Souvanthong took 9-6.
 
Thammavong had two tough 7-5 wins on the left side of the board (Brad Guthrie and Sharlow), but wasn’t ready for Casanzio as Casanzio ended Thammavong’s day in third place 7-2. 
 
The first set of the double elimination finals went to Casanzio 9-7 in another close match, but Souvanthong took control of the second set and cruised to a 7-2 win for first place. 
 
Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Mark Creamer come back from a first round loss to Marco Kam and win seven straight matches to take first. Creamer got his revenge over Kam 3-2 on the one loss side, and that match would contain the last rack he would lose in this event. He defeated Nick Coppola 3-0 and then proceeded to double dip Steve Winter 3-0 twice to take first place. 
 
The next stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be this weekend (October 12th – 13th) at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY. Tour director Mike Zuglan is busy taking entries for January’s Turning Stone Classic XXIII and players are urged to contact him to get their entries fees paid asap.