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Valania goes undefeated, splits top two prizes with Zaveri on Predator Tri-State Tour

Jaydev Zaveri and Joe Valania

Back in February, Joe Valania chalked up what was only his second recorded event victory anywhere at a stop on the Garden State Tour. His first victory, recorded two years previously, was awarded when, as occupant of the hot seat at the time, he and Daniel Dagotdot split the top two prizes at a stop on the Mac Attack Tour. In reporting on the Garden State Tour stop in February, we noted that the win made 2022 Valania’s best recorded earnings year. This past weekend (Saturday, May 7), he added to his best recorded earnings year with his third recorded victory, this time on the Predator Tri-State Tour, though like the 2020 win on the Mac Attack Tour, he and the runner-up (Jaydev Zaveri) split the top two prizes. The $500-added 10-Ball event drew 37 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

It is worthy of note that just below the headliners (Valania and Zaveri), third-place finisher, Sabrina Sherman, came in search of what might have been her second tour win. She had previously recorded only three cash finishes on the tour, including an undefeated run at a stop in February 2019, when she split the top two prizes with Mac Jankov (the ‘Mac’ in Mac Attack Tour). Sherman’s bid to record her second tour win was derailed when she forfeited out of the semifinals, allowing Zaveri to leapfrog from the quarterfinals, directly into the finals, which, as it happened, didn’t happen. 

Valania and Zaveri did meet in this most recent event, in a winners’ side semifinal. Valania had opened with a double hill win over Mac Jankov before sending Dave Fitzpatrick and Jason Goberdhan to the loss side and drawing Zaveri in that winners’ side semifinal. Sherman, in the meantime, had embarked on a bit of a roller coaster ride through her first three opponents, shutting out Donald Henriquez and then, surviving two straight double-hill matches against Tom Crane and Marc Lamberti before running into Jay Chiu in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In what was described by tour representatives as a “stunning upset,” Valania defeated Zaveri 6-1, while Sherman was busy sending Chiu to the loss side 5-3. In what would prove to be the last match for both of them, Valania claimed the hot seat over Sherman 5-1.

Zaveri and Chiu picked up rematches against the two competitors that they’d sent to the loss side in two of the winners’ side quarterfinals. On the loss side, Julian Tierney downed Luis Jimenez 6-2 and Mike Strassberg 6-4 to get to his rematch against Zaveri, while Nick Torraca defeated Rich Cardillo 5-2 and Shweta Zaveri (Jaydev’s wife) 6-4 to draw his rematch against Chiu.

Zaveri and Chiu defeated Tierney and Torraca a second time; Zaveri over Tierney 6-4 and Chiu over Torraca 5-3. In what would prove to be his final match, Zaveri defeated Chiu 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

At that point, with Sherman having already forfeited the semifinals, Zaveri and Valania opted out of a final match. The split of the top two prizes was negotiated and the two went their separate ways in plenty of time (sleep included) to enjoy their Mother’s Day celebrations. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Romer Trophies and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for May 21-22, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.     

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Kaminow goes undefeated to take Tri-State stop

Kevin Coyle, Steve Kaminow and Jan Mierzwa

Steve Kaminow got by Kevin Coyle twice, once by mutual decision, to capture his first Tri-State Tour title. The Saturday, February 7 stop on the tour was a 1,000-added event that drew 25 entrants to Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.
 
Kaminow drew Jan Mierzwa in a winners' side semifinal as Coyle and Dave Fitzpatrick squared off in the other. Kaminow sent Mierzwa to the losers' bracket 7-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Coyle, who'd sent Fitzpatrick over 6-3. Kaminow took possession of his first Tri-State hot seat with a 7-5 win and waited on his return.
 
On the loss side, Mierzwa drew Gary Murgia, who'd defeated Eric Hill 7-4 and Michael Hertz 7-3 to reach him. Fitzpatrick picked up Bob Toomey, who'd gotten by Frankie Scanlon 6-4 and Chris Calabrese 6-5. It was Mierzwa and Fitzpatrick who met up in the quarterfinals, once Mierzwa had eliminated Murgia 7-4 and Fitzpatrick had defeated Toomey 6-3.
 
Mierzwa defeated Fitzpatrick 7-5, before having his short, loss-side streak ended by Coyle in the semifinals 7-4. At this juncture, Kaminow and Coyle opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. As the undefeated hot seat occupant, Kaminow claimed the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of Rockaway Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics.

LaBoy goes undefeated to chalk up fourth 2014 Tri-State win

Paul Spaanstra, Miguel LaBoy and Dave Fitzpatrick

Miguel Laboy won his first Tri-State Tour stop in January. He's won three more since; one in August, another in September, and most recently, on Saturday, November 22 at a $1,000-added event that drew 64 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), New York. Twice, at House of Billiards on Staten Island, he had to defeat the room's owner, Dennis Kennedy to claim the title. In the middle of those two occasions, in August, he and his co-finalist, Lidio Ramirez, opted out of a final match, leaving Laboy undefeated and the official event winner.
 
In claiming his fourth Tri-State title, Laboy had to get by Paul Spaanstra twice. Following victories over Enoch Hooper, Juan Guzman (forfeit), Thomas Rice and Koka Davladze, Laboy met Spaanstra for the first time in a winners' side semifinal. Dave Fitzpatrick and Kevin Huynh met in the other. Laboy prevailed 8-5 over Spaanstra and in the hot seat match, met Fitzpatrick, who'd defeated Hunyh 6-2. Laboy claimed his fourth Tri-State hot seat 10-7 over Fitzpatrick and waited on the return of Spaanstra.
 
Spaanstra started his trip back to the finals against Davladze, who. after being sent over Laboy, had defeated Greg Ackerman 8-5, and Kyle Bubet 8-4. Huynh drew Steve Wade, who'd gotten by Albert Appleton and Thomas Schreiber, both 6-4. Spaanstra eliminated Davladze 8-4, and in the quarterfinals, met Wade, who'd defeated Huynh 6-3.
 
Spaanstra and Wade locked up in a double hill, quarterfinal fight that eventually advanced Spaanstra to the semifinals against Fitzpatrick. A 7-3 win there, and Spaanstra got his second crack at Laboy.
 
Spaanstra got off on the right foot, winning three straight. Laboy, though, answered promptly with three of his own. Spaanstra responded with four in a row to take his largest lead at 7-3. Laboy checked in with another three to narrow Spaanstra's lead to one at 7-6. Though Spaanstra won rack #14, it proved to be his last, as Laboy finished with four in a row to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Barton, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for November 29, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Sieczka goes undefeated to take Tri-State stop at Rockaway Billiards

Paul Spanstra, Frank Sieczka and Kevin Scalzitti

Frank Sieczka and Paul Spanstra battled twice for the event title at stake during the November 8 stop on the Tri-State Tour. Sieczka won them both to win the $1,000-added event that drew 17 entrants to Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.
 
Sieczka, Spanstra, Kevin Scalzitti, and Edward Lalmieu were the final four on the winners' side of the bracket, and proved to be the final four in the event, as well. Sieczka facEd Lalmieu and Spanstra squared off against Scalzitti in the winners' side semifinals. Sieczka sent Lalmieu west 6-1, as Spanstra defeated Scalzitti 7-2. In their first of two, Sieczka downed Spanstra 7-2 and waited in the hot seat for him to get back from the semifinals. 
 
On the loss side, Lalmieu and Scalzitti got right back to work, both winning matches that set them against each other in the quarterfinals. Lalmieu drew Martin Carducci, who'd defeated Dave Fitzpatrick and Tony Ignomirello, both 6-3. Scalzitti faced Chris Carp, who'd gotten by William Meima 7-3 and Ken Sielatycki 7-5. Lalmieu got into the quarterfinals 6-3 over Carducci, and Scalzitti joined him with a 7-5 win over Carp.
 
It was Scalzitti who advanced to the semifinals with a 7-4 quarterfinal win over Lalmieu. Scalzitti put up a fight against Spanstra in the semifinals, forcing a deciding game. Spanstra won that game for a second shot at Sieczka. As Scalzitti had done with him, Spanstra battled Sieczka to double hill, before Sieczka dropped the final 9-ball to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rockaway Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics.

Lio goes undefeated to win her first Tri-State Tour stop

Keith Adamik, Ada Lio and Ricardo Mendoza

Ada Lio, currently running neck and neck with Jennifer Pedutem in the D+/D-class rankings on the Tri-State Tour, and fourth among the tour's top female players, took a major step forward on September 6, when she went undefeated through a field of 28 to capture her first Tri-State title. She took down a couple of "A" class players to do it, too. The $750-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Lio was in a winners' side semifinal before she'd given up more than two racks, downing Larry Chandler 6-1 and Dave Fitzpatrick 6-2 to move among the winners' side final four and a match against Jaydev Zaveri. Roberto Mendoza, in the meantime, squared off against Keith Adamik.
Lio and Mendoza moved into the hot seat match on the heels of identical 7-4 wins over Zaveri and Adamik. Lio claimed her first Tri-State hot seat with an 11-6 victory over the A+-ranked  Mendoza, and waited on what turned out to be the return of the A-rated player, Adamik.
 
Adamik and Zaveri moved to the loss side to compete in the first of the money rounds. Adamik drew Geovanni Hosang, who'd gotten by Chris Schmidt and Roger Hanos, both 7-5. Zaveri faced Sam Hoffman, who'd defeated Mike Strassberg 6-2 and Dave Fitzpatrick 6-5. Adamik and Zaveri advanced to the quarterfinals; Adamik 7-4 over Hosang and Zaveri in a shutout over Hoffman.
 
Adamik downed Zaveri 8-5 in those quarterfinals for a second shot against Mendoza in the semifinals. Adamik took full advantage, winning their re-match 7-2 and turning for a shot at Lio in the hot seat.
 
It didn't look good right from the start for Adamik, who watched Lio chalk up a six-pack before he responded with two racks of his own. Lio won rack # 9, and after giving up a third to Adamik, chalked up three straight to complete her undefeated run 10-3. 
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Batron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State tour, scheduled for September 13,  will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.
 

Marshall goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State Tour stop

Brian Marshall, Ed Medina and Tony Ignomirello

Brian Marshall wound his way through a field of Tri-State veterans to chalk up his first Tri-State win on Sunday, August 10. Marshall faced Ed Medina twice to complete his run; once in a winners' side semifinal and again in the finals. The $750-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Marshall's path through the field began with a win over Vinny Ferri, and was followed by victories over Ed Crespo and Vincent Morris, which set him up for his first encounter against Ed Medina. Tony Ignomirello, in the meantime, faced Mike Strassberg, who would go on to win $750 in the event's Break and Run contest. Marshall and Medina chalked up their first of two double hill matches against each other. Marshall prevailed and moved into the hot seat match against Ignomirello, who'd defeated Strassberg 6-3. Marshall sent Ignomirello to the semifinals 7-5 and waited on Medina.
 
Medina moved to the loss side and ran into young Thomas Rice, who'd defeated Emily Duddy 7-4, and just did get by Vincent Sauro 7-6. Strassberg met up with Allison Honeymar, who had gotten by Mike Erickson 6-3 and given up only a single rack to Dave Fitzpatrick.
 
Medina began his campaign for a rematch against Marshall with a 7-5 win over Rice, as Strassberg ended Honeymar's day 6-3. Medina won the quarterfinal match over Strassberg 7-4 and then locked up in double hill struggle with Ignomirello in the semifinals, for the right to challenge Marshall in the hot seat.
 
Medina got his chance and made good, early use of the opportunity, opening up a 3-0 lead over Marshall in the finals. Marshall, though, fought right back and with some racks traded, the two were tied at 4-4. They were also tied at 5-5 and 6-6, before Marshall sealed the deal to claim his first win on the Tri-State Tour.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Batron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for August 16, will be hosted by Gotham City Billiards.

Ziemak returns to the Tri-State and goes undefeated

Jose Liza Domeneche, Peter Ziemak and Tony Ignomirello

Peter Ziemak, returning to the Tri-State Tour after a brief hiatus, went undefeated to claim his first Tri-State title. He did so at the expense of Tri-State veteran, Tony Ignomirello, who had two shots at Ziemack, but fell short in both of them. The $1,000-added event drew 38 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ. 
 
It wasn't easy for either of the finalists. Ziemack survived two straight double hill battles against Mike Zimny and Borana Andoni at the outset. A slightly less nerve-wracking victory over Smiley Feliz 8-4 put Ziemack in a winners' side semifinal against Jose Liz Domeneche. "Iggy," in the meantime, had his own two opening, double hill wins, against Lisa Peloso and Eddie Perez, before defeating Bob Toomey and Jason Critelli for a seat in the winners' side semifinals, against Frank Sieczka. Ziemak chalked up a third double hill win, over Domeneche, as Ignomirello sent Sieczka west 6-4. Ziemack got into the hot seat 9-7 over Iggy, which proved to be the final match between the two.
 
Domeneche moved to the losers' bracket and met up with Smiley Feliz, who'd gotten by Eric Gasman 8-6 and Ricardo Mejia 7-3. Sieczka faced Jason Critellii, who'd defeated Dennis Kennedy 6-2 and Dave Fitzpatrick 6-4. Smiley put up a fight, forcing a deciding game, but Domeneche moved on to the quarterfinals, where he met Critelli, who'd eliminated Sieczka 6-4. 
 
The prize in Critelli's eyes was a second shot at Ignomirello, who'd sent him to the loss side, but Domeneche got to him first, winning their quarterfinal match, 7-4. Like Critelli, Domeneche had his sights set on a re-match; his, against Ziemak in the hot seat. Ignomirello stopped that from happening,  defeating Domeneche 7-4 and, in effect, ending the night's proceedings. Ziemak and Iggy opted out of a final match, splitting the top two prizes, while declaring the undefeated Ziemak as the event's official winner.
 
Tour representatives once again thanked the ownership and staff at Castle Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics.
 

Simonetti goes undefeated to claim first Tri-State title since March 2013

Dennis Kennedy, Scott Simonetti and Brian Russell

Tri-State Tour representatives callEd Scott Simonetti's undefeated run through a field of 32 on Saturday, July 12, "the story of the day," noting that his play "reminded viewers of the Simonetti of old;" a reference, one assumes, to a year like 2010, which saw Simonetti win three stops on the Tri-State and one stop on the Predator Tour (to go along with 'money' finishes in nine other stops on both). The $1,000-added debut event of the Tri-State's 2013-2014 season on July 12 was hosted by Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.
 
Following victories over Tri Chau, Dave Ascolese, and Dave Jusis, Simonetti moved into a winners' side semifinal match against Jose Liz Domeneche. Dennis Kennedy, in the meantime, squared off against Ramon Feliciano. Simonetti moved into the hot seat match with an 8-5 win over Domeneche and faced Kennedy, who'd defeated Feliciano 6-5. Kennedy fought tooth and nail to secure a double hill win that left him in the hot seat, awaiting the return of what turned out to be Focused Apparel's Brian Russel.
 
Russel, who'd been sent to the loss side by Borana "Queen Bee" Andoni, embarked on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him all the way back to the finals. He got by Chau, Jan Mierzwa, Dave Jusis and Shin Sekine (who'd taken out Andoni for him), to draw Domeneche. Feliciano picked up Frank Sieczka, who'd shut out Robert Jew, and given up only a single rack to Dave Fitzpatrick.
 
Russel marched on, giving up only a single rack to Domeneche as Feliciano was allowing only a single rack to Sieczka. Russel defeated Feliciano 7-5 in the quarterfinal match that followed, and got a shot at Simonetti in the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Kennedy in the semifinals. Simonetti and Russel opted out of a final match, choosing to split the top prizes, leaving the undefeated Simonetti as the event's official title holder.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Castle Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, to be hosted by the Cue Bar in Bayside, NY, is scheduled for July 19.