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Schreiber picks up his first win of the 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour season

(l to r): Thomas Schreiber & Mike Mele

It’s hard to know how the final game in any double hill match is going to affect a player. Some buckle under the pressure, while others rise to the adrenaline-fueled challenge and win. Some, at different times, do one or the other. Thomas Schreiber’s five-year history with the Tri-State Tour suggests that he thrives on double hill matches. It’s difficult to peruse the totality of his recorded history on the tour and determine just how many double hill matches he’s played, but we do know, as one example, that the second time he cashed on the Tri-State Tour, back in December of 2014, Schreiber lost a double hill match in the battle for the hot seat, won a double hill match in the semifinals and though he’d open the finals with four straight, he lost that match, double hill, to finish as runner-up. In a win during the 2017-2018 season, Schreiber got knocked to the loss side in a double hill loss, played two double hill matches to get back to the finals and then defeated hot seat occupant Pashk Gjini double hill to win. Four months later, still in the 2017-2018 season in January of 2018, Schreiber got into the hot seat with a double hill win, and then earned the event title with a double hill win in the finals against Lidio Ramirez.
On Sunday, March 24, Schreiber had a double-hill-free trip through to the hot seat, but in the end, after Mike Mele completed a six-match, loss-side winning streak to face him in the finals, Schreiber got into yet another double hill match that he won to claim the event title. Mele entered the tournament as the Tri-State’s top ‘B’ competitor in its Player of the Year standings, with 22 appearances to his credit since last summer. Schreiber’s a ‘B’ player, as well; seventh on the list, with nine appearances since last summer. The $1,000-added 8-ball event drew 38 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. Schreiber, a two-time winner of the annual NYC 8-Ball Championships (2015/2016), had a bit of an edge in the chosen game category.
Schreiber’s trip to the hot seat saw him win 36 of the 47 games he played, downing Harry Singh, Michelle Brotons, Luis Lopez, and John Durr, before facing David Leggat in a winners’ side semifinal.  Mike Strassberg and Amanda Andries, in the meantime, met in the other one. Mele, at the time, was already at work on the loss side.
Schreiber shut Leggat out to get into the hot seat match. Strassberg survived a double hill match against Andries to join him. Schreiber gave up only a single rack to Strassberg and waited in the hot seat for his eventual double hill matchup against Mele in the finals.
It was Andries who picked up Mele on the loss side, three matches into his loss-side winning streak, which had included recent wins over Joe Romeo 6-2 and Tri V. Chau 6-4. Leggat drew John Durr, who, following his defeat at the hands of Schreiber, had won two straight double hill matches against Jerry Almodovar and Fernando Anderson to face Leggat.
Mele downed Andries 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Leggat, who’d defeated Durr 6-4. Mele and Leggat locked up in a double hill fight, won by Mele, which, in effect, sent him directly to the finals. He leapfrogged over the semifinals when his opponent, Mike Strassberg, had to forfeit that match.
Entering the finals, Mele was looking for his first win on the tour. His closest finish on the tour, to date, came in the season opener of the current 2018-2019 season, last July, when he won six on the loss side to finish as runner-up to Duc Lam. At the tail end of yet another six-match, loss-side winning streak Mele came up against Schreiber and almost predictably found himself in a double hill match for the event title. Schreiber secured it to claim his first Tri-State title since January, 2018, midway through the 2017-2018 season.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the week after the upcoming Super Billiards Expo (Sunday, April 7) will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Acosta goes undefeated to claim final 2018 Tri-State event

(l to r): Jimmy Acosta & Mike Mele

You have to watch the ones that come from deep on the loss side. Once they’ve chalked up five or more on that side of the bracket, they’re usually pretty immune to the nerves that likely plagued them when their loss-side journey began. And by the time they get to the vicinity of the quarterfinals, they’ve been playing non-stop for hours and are likely to be in-stroke for whatever lies ahead. Playing in the last 2018 stop on the Tri-State Tour, it was Jimmy Acosta in the hot seat and Mike Mele, preparing for the semifinals who were doing the watching. It was Rick Motilal that they were watching.
In the end, though, Motilal’s eight-match, loss-side streak was ended by Mike Mele in the semifinals. Mele’s bid for the title was, in turn, stopped in the finals by Acosta, who went undefeated to claim the tour’s final 2018 event title. The $1,000-added event drew 58 entrants on Sunday, Dec. 16 to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Acosta and Mele met first in the hot seat match. Acosta’s trip went through Christian Orque, Shawn Sookhai, Ed Medina and Dave Leggat to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Marc Joseph. Mele, in the meantime, following a double hill win against Raymond Lee in a winners’ side quarterfinal, met up with Dejan Kocev.
Acosta sent Joseph to the loss side 8-4. Mele joined him in the hot seat match after sending Kocev over 7-5. Acosta took the first of their two 7-4 to claim the hot seat, and then, probably, watch Motilal’s advance.
It was Joseph who ran into Motilal on the loss side. Motilal, who’d been sent to the loss-side in the event’s second round by Juan Melendez, had most recently chalked up loss-side wins #5 & #6, downing Ray Feliciano and David Leggat, both 7-4. Kocev drew Nathaniel Raimondo, who’d eliminated Raymond Lee 7-3 and John Stiles 7-2 to reach him.
Motilal got into the quarterfinal match with a 7-4 win over Joseph. Raimondo and Kocev battled to double hill before Kocev advanced to join Motilal in the quarterfinals.
In what proved to be his last win, Motilal sent Kocev home 7-4. The semifinal match that followed was (as described by tour representatives) a “cliffhanger” that went double hill, before Mele finished it for a second shot at Acosta in the hot seat.
The final itself was a bit anti-climactic. Acosta repeated his hot seat match performance, downing Mele 7-4 a second time to claim the event title. 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, which will be the first of 2019, is scheduled for Sunday, January 6, 2019 at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. 

Kaminow picks up third 2016-2017 Tri-State win

(l to r): Steve Kaminow, Esteban Morrell, Jr.

In the absence of Amir Uddin, Steve Kaminow further solidified his spot on the Tri-State Tour's B+ player list with an undefeated win on Sunday, June 11. Kaminow, who picked up a tour win last July and most recently, in March, has now moved into second place in that class behind Carl Yusuf Khan. The $500-added event drew 24 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.


Following victories over Lidio Ramirez 7-2, Eugene Ok 7-6, and Thomas Schreiber 7-3, Kaminow advanced to a winners' side semifinal against David Leggat. Esteban Morrell, Jr., in the meantime, squared off against Adrian Daniel. Kaminow moved into the hot seat match 7-3 over Leggat, and was joined by Morrell, Jr., who'd shut Daniel out. Kaminow claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited on Morrell, Jr.'s return.


On the loss side, Leggat picked up Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, who'd gotten by David Shlemperis, double hill, and Lidio Ramirez 7-5. Daniel drew Zouraiz Ellahi, who'd eliminated Alberto Sanchez 7-4 and Erick Carrasco 6-3.


Delimelkonoglu downed Leggat 7-2, as Daniel squeaked by Ellahi 6-5. Daniel took the subsequent quarterfinal match 7-5 over Delimelkonoglu, before having his short, loss-side trip terminated by Morrell, Jr. in the semifinals 6-4.


Morrell, Jr. came into the finals with two on the wire, and Kaminow took the opening match to half that handicap lead. Morrell, Jr. came back with two racks to go ahead by three, before Kaminow chalked up a pair to draw within one at 4-3. Morrell, Jr. won the next two to reach the hill for a possible extension to nine games. Kaminow put a stop to that with four in a row to win it.


Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, June 17, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Leggat wins seven on the loss side and downs Scalzitti in finals to win his first Tri-State stop

David Leggat and Kevin Scalzitti

You'd think, having defeated someone in the opening round of a tournament, that the chances of seeing that player a second time, especially in the finals, would be minimal; too many possibilities, both in terms of the number of matches played on the loss side of a double elimination bracket, and the vagaries of individual matches played during that run. But it happens.
Just ask Kevin Scalzitti, who on Sunday, May 7, at a $640-added event that drew 29 entrants to BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY, was one match away from an undefeated run on the Tri-State Tour, only to have the opponent he'd defeated 7-2 in the opening round – David Leggat – return from a seven-match, loss-side run and not only defeat him, but shut him out in the finals.
It was not the tournament's only oddity. It was an A/B, C/D tournament, which means (meant) that the two sets of rankings are (were) separated at the beginning into different brackets, and only combined into a single event bracket towards the end. But there were 21 players ranked in the lower C/D bracket, while there were only eight in the upper A/B bracket. In effect, with their own separate bracket, the C/D players had to play three rounds to advance to the same spot in which the eight A/B players began. Two wins put two A/B players into a winners' side semifinal. It took four wins to put two C/D players into a winners' side semifinal.
Advancing to those winners' side semifinals were Scalzitti, who faced Amir Uddin, and Ron Bernardo, who squared off against Dax Druminski. Scalzitti got by Uddin, double hill, and in the hot seat match, met Bernardo, who'd sent Druminski to the loss side 6-4. Scalzitti claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Bernardo, without a clue that he'd just won his last game of the tournament.
On the loss side, Leggat was working his way back. With two under his belt already, he downed Chumreon Sukaritachul 7-3 and Thomas Schreiber, double hill, to draw Uddin. Druminski picked up Dementhriss Hudson, who'd defeated Pashk Gjini 6-1 and Zouraiz Ellahi 6-4.
Leggat and Hudson advanced to the quarterfinals; Leggat 7-5 over Uddin, and Hudson 6-3 over Druminski. Leggat took the quarterfinal match 7-3 over Hudson, and then completed his loss-side run with a 7-3 win over Bernardo in the semifinals. 
The Leggat/Scalzitti re-match was an extended race to 9 in the finals. Leggat needed to reach seven wins first, to extend the match to nine games. He did so without giving up a rack and added two more to claim his first Tri-State title in only two attempts.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 13, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. A week later, the Tri-State will be at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ before joining the Predator and Mezz Tours in presenting the 7th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial, scheduled for May 27-29 at Steinway Billiards. Event coordinators are reminding players that the "Ginky" Memorial is a pre-paid event (which fills up fast in both the Amateur and Pro events). Contact a representative from any of the tours for information on signing up before the May 21 deadline.