Archive Page

Korsiak comes from the loss side to win Dynaspheres Cup Series 8-Ball Championships

Joey Korsiak

Joe Korsiak chalked up his second major event victory in the state of Maryland in 2021 last weekend (June 5-6) with a come-from-the-loss-side win at the $3,000-added Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championships ($1,500 from Billiard Sports Network and $1,500 from Championship Fabric, LLC) that drew 108 entrants to Center Pocket in Bowie, MD. Last month (May), he chalked up a win at the MD State 9-Ball Championships and earlier in the month had finished 3rd in the Dynaspheres Cup 10-Ball Championships, behind Shane Van Boening and Raphael Dabreo. He’s won more events midway through this year than he won all year in his best recorded earnings year at the tables (2005), when he cashed in 10 events, including the US Open 9-Ball Championships (33rd), the SBE Players Championship (5th), the 16th Ocean State 9-Ball Championship (17th) and five stops on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, at which he finished as runner-up, twice, to Mike Davis and Dennis Hatch.

The event was as notable for the competitors who weren’t around as it neared the end as it was for those who figured into its final matches. Some of the more prominent competitors who were on-hand included Shaun Wilkie, Bucky Souvanthong, “Pooky” Rasmechai, Brian Dietzenbach, Brandon Shuff, Matt Krah and the Mastermaker brothers, Joey and Danny, to name just a few. The event also featured a contingent of junior players, fresh off their competition in the series of On the Wire Creative Media’s Junior International Championships (JIC), the most recent of which was held in the same location as this event at the end of May.

Nathan Childress, 18, who, after four JIC events, is ranked at #1 in the “18 and under Boys” division, #2 in the ProAm division and has won the last two “18 and Under” tournaments opened his Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball campaign with a shutout and won three more before being sent to the loss side by Mid-Atlantic veteran Steve Fleming. He was defeated by “Pooky” Rasmechai in his first loss-side match. Skylar Hess, 12, who is ranked #3 in the “13 and Under Girls” division and won the last JIC stop in that division was welcomed to the world of ‘big folk’ pool with two straight losses. D’Angelo “Jaws” Spain, 9, who is ranked at #5 in his own “13 and Under Boys” division, #17 in the “18 and Under Boys” and #45 in the ProAm division went two and out, but congratulations are certainly in order, for “Jaws” and all of the juniors, for getting out onto the tables and competing. They’ll continue to do so on the JIC tour and will get a second chance on the Dynaspheres Cup circuit at the second Junior Championship event (the first was in February), set for the weekend of September 25-26.

Korsiak’s path to the winners’ circle in this Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championships opened smoothly enough with a 6-1 victory over David Stanley and was followed by four straight 6-4 wins over Redgie Cutler, Joey Mastermaker, Kevin West and Robert Pole, Jr. He arrived at his winners’ side semifinal match against Scott Haas with a 64% game-winning percentage. Del Sim got by Kamrin Kohr 6-3 in his opener, before downing William Miller 6-1, Richard Winpigler 6-2, Thomas Haas 6-4, and Jake Lebon 6-3 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match with a slightly better game-winning average than Korsiak (70%) as he prepared to face off against Dennis Spears.

Korsiak got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Haas. Sim, in the meantime, was struggling with Spears in a double hill match that eventually did send Sim into the hot seat match against Korsiak. Sim prevailed 6-3 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Haas picked up “Pooky” Rasmechai, who’d lost his opening match to Dennis Spears and was in the midst of a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that featured two double hill wins, had most recently eliminated junior competitor Nathan Childress 5-3 and Shaun Wilkie 5-1 and was about to come to an end. Dennis Spears drew Steve Fleming, who’d been defeated by Childress in the 4th winners’ side round and on the loss side, had defeated Matthew Rezendes 5-2, both Tony Long and Mike Saleh 5-3 and Thomas Haas 5-2.

Fleming leapfrogged into the quarterfinals when Spears forfeited. He was joined by Scott Haas, who’d survived a double hill fight versus Rasmechai. Haas was not as fortunate in what proved to be his second straight double hill match. Fleming defeated him, only to be eliminated 5-3 by Korsiak in the semifinals.

Among any number of scenarios that one might have predicted for the true double elimination final that followed, what happened would not likely have been one of them. In the initial, race-to-6 opening set, Korsiak gave up only a single rack. In the race-to-5 second set, he didn’t give up any at all and claimed the event title.

Held under the auspices of the Billiard Sports Network, The Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championships were streamed live throughout the weekend. Tournament director Tina Malm and Billiard Sports Network’s Jake Lawson and Josh Setterfield extended thanks to the ownership and staff at Center Pocket for their ongoing hospitality throughout the Dynaspheres series of events, as well as title sponsor Dynaspheres Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Gina Cunningham (Keller Williams Integrity), East Coast Prime Meats, Courtyard by Marriott (Bowie, MD), Hampton Inn by Hilton (Bowie, MD), Luke Thompson Photography, MB Cues/Mike Burton, Integrity Cues, Break Out Billiards Apparel, AZBilliards, Premier Billiards, CueScore.com, The League Room, Championship Fabric, LLC, S&T Billiards, DFE Billiards Cue Repair, American Billiard Covering  and JB Cases.

The next stop on the Dynaspheres Cup series, scheduled for the weekend of July 31-August 1will be a Double 8-Ball Championship, once again to be hosted by Center Pocket in Bowie, MD. The event will be followed by a second Junior Championship on the weekend of Sept. 25-26 and the series finale, scheduled for Nov. 6-7, the Dynaspheres Cup 9-Ball Championships.

US 1 Billiards February Pro Am – Del Sim vs Jalal Al Saresi

“Jawz” Joins Team Break Out

BreakOut Apparel would like to welcome our newest member to the family, D’Angelo “Jawz” Spain! We can’t say enough about this young man. At only 9 years old, he is an absolute beast on the table. He not only competes against other juniors but adults as well. He learned how to play pool at the young age of 4 years old. He is currently coached by his father, Frank Spain, and we are excited to see what the young man can do. He’s poised, confident, respectful, and a fierce competitor on the table. Check out his list of accomplishments at only 9 years old.

TOURNAMENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
2020 – Brews and Cues 9 Ball Tournament (Glen Burnie, MD)
• 1st Place
2020- TAP Short Stack 8 Ball Tournament (Glen Burnie, MD)
• 1st Place
2020 – Joss North East 9 Ball Juniors Event (Amsterdam, NY)
• 1st Place 12 & Under
2019 – APA Junior Nationals Tournament Skill Level 5’s (St. Louis, MO)
• 49th place out of 101 players
2019 – Summer Classic Scotch Doubles Tournament (Baltimore, MD)
• 1st Place
2019 – APA Juniors National Qualifier (Laurel, MD)
• 1st place – Advanced to Nationals in St. Louis in July
2019 – Maryland State Juniors BEF 9ball Tournament 12&U (Laurel, MD)
• 3rd Place
2019 – Billiards Education Foundation Nationals Qualifier (Greenville, SC)
• 5th Place

His other SPONSORS include:
• Jacoby Custom Cues • Risky Shotz Billiards

Please welcome “Jawz” to the #BreakOutFamily. Jawz is the second junior player to join the Break Out Family, joining Skylar Hess. The complete roster of Break Out players is Allison Fisher, Loree Jon Hasson, James Aranas, Shaun Wilkie, Del Sim, James Blackburn, Ashley Burrows, Manny Perez, Clint Palaci, Steve Fleming, Tina Malm, Chuck Sampson, Dylan Spohr, Shanna Lewis, Skylar Hess and D’Angelo Spain.

We have more exciting news in the works, so stay tuned to your news feed!

You can follow Jawz on Facebook & Instagram:
@JawzSpain

Wilkie goes undefeated to capture his third Maryland State title in eight years

Shaun Wilkie

Shaun Wilkie has chalked up his fair share of tournament victories over the years, dating back to our first recorded awareness of his presence 20 years ago, when he finished 9th at a stop on the Planet Pool Tour in Pikesville, MD. His first recorded victory in an event came two years later on that same tour. Since that time, he’s gone on to win events on the Action Pool Tour (APT; lots of them), the Blaze Tour, the Mezz Pro Am Tour, the Predator Pro Am Tour, the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour and various State of Virginia championships. With two exceptions, however, he’s had a difficult time securing a victory at a tournament with “Maryland” in its official title. He came close four times last year, finishing as runner-up in the MD State 10-Ball, 9-Ball Bar Table, and 9-Ball Championships and third in the MD State 8-Ball Championships. The two exceptions in this ‘drought’ was a victory in the Maryland State 8-Ball, two years ago and a victory in the Maryland Open, eight years ago.
 
Wilkie ended his extended Maryland State drought with a victory at the 2020 Mezz Cues Maryland State Bar Table 8-Ball Championships on the weekend of February 8-9. He went undefeated through the field of 105 entrants, at the event, hosted by Brews & Cues on the Blvd. in Glen Burnie, MD.
 
Wilkie and long-time opponent Rick Molineiro battled twice for this title. Molineiro’s career, while not as illustrious or as successful as Wilkie’s, began, in our records, with a 5th place finish on the Planet Pool Tour in 2001. Like Wilkie, Molineiro’s a regular competitor on the Action  Pool Tour and also like Wilkie, has found limited success in Maryland, although he did finish third at this event last year.
 
They met first in the hot seat, once Wilkie had disposed of his winners’ side semifinal opponent, Tom D’Alfonso 6-2 and Molineiro had defeated another APT veteran, Steve Fleming, 6-4 in the other one. In their first of two, they battle to double hill before Wilkie prevailed to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Fleming ran right into Kristina Tkach, the young Russian woman, who’s a strong competitor in the ‘stable’ of Roy’s Basement. Tkach had lost her third-round match to Wilkie and was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her as far as the semifinals. She had recently eliminated Del Sim, double hill, and Roger Haldar 6-4 to draw Fleming. D’Alfonso drew Eddie Abraham, who’d recently defeated Tom Zippler and Shane Wolford, both 6-4.
 
Tkach eliminated the Action Pool Tour’s 2018 Tour Champion and last year’s runner-up, Steve Fleming 6-1. She was joined in the quarterfinals by Abraham, who’d defeated D’Alfonso 6-3. In a double hill quarterfinal, Tkach prevailed and advanced to meet Molineiro in the semifinals.
 
Molineiro was arguably playing ‘above his weight’ in the semifinals; up against an opponent with four event victories last year alone, to include a win on the APT, downing Chris Bruner, the tour’s #1 competitor at the time, in the hot seat and finals. Had Chris not won the semifinals, Tkach would have faced Wilkie in the finals of that event. Molineiro pulled it off, though, downing Tkach in this event’s semifinals 6-4 to earn himself a second shot at Wilkie in the hot seat.
 
Momentum may have been on Molineiro’s side, but Wilkie wasn’t interested. He took command of the only set that proved necessary, downing Molineiro 6-2 to complete his first Maryland State title run in two years.
 
Event directors at On the Hill Productions, Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues on the Blvd., as well as title sponsor Mezz Cues, Lights Out Billiards Apparel, TAP Pool League (Chesapeake Bay Region), Billiard Sports Network for their stream of the event throughout the weekend, AZBilliards, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth, and Turtle Racks. On the Hill Productions will return to Brews & Cues on the Blvd. for their next scheduled event, the MD State Bar Table 9-Ball Championships, to be held on the weekend of April 4-5.

Hohmann backs up Steinway Classic title with NYC Singles 8-Ball Championship title

Tony Robles, Thorsten Hohmann and Tournament Director John Leyman (Erwin Dionisio)

Soto, Rosario, Sugiyama, Musser and Karwas win other division 8-ball titles
 
Three days after winning the 7th Steinway Classic in a thrilling, double hill final match against Fedor Gorst (Oct. 17), Thorsten Hohmann, at the same location, won the Grand Master Division of the NYC 8-Ball Championships (Oct. 20) with a slightly less dramatic 6-1 finals victory over Ruslan Chinakhov. The Grand Master division of the annual event, which drew 22 entrants to Steinway, was one of six division 8-ball tournaments held on the weekend of October 19-20. In all, under the sponsorship of Michael Fedak, the NYC Singles 8-Ball Championships added $15,000, divided among the six divisions, which drew 151 unique entrants.
 
It was Jose Soto who won in the 16-entrant Mixed Master’s Division, Abel Rosario in the 32-entrant Mixed Advanced Division, Akiko Sugiyama in the 32-entrant Women’s Leisure Division, and Maxwell Musser in the 32-entrant Men’s Leisure Division. The largest field, 48 entrants, was the Mixed Open Division, won by Sebastian Karwas.
 
Hohmann’s path to the winners’ circle in the Grand Masters event went through Chinakhov twice. He opened with a double hill win over Joey Korsiak and then, sent Chinakhov to the loss side 6-4. Hohmann then defeated Del Sim 6-4, to draw Damianos Giallourakis in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Nick Ekonomopoulos in the meantime, after being awarded an opening round bye, downed the Steinway Classic’s runner-up, Fedor Gorst 6-2 and Jalal Yousef 6-4 to draw Jimmy Rivera in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Hohmann defeated Giallourakis 6-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Ekonomopoulos, who’d sent Rivera west 6-1. Hohmann claimed the hot seat 6-3 and waited on the return of Chinakhov.
 
On the loss side, Chinakhov was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would give him a second chance against Hohmann. He got by Raphael Dabreo 6-2, Ryan Hsu 6-4, Tony Robles 6-2 and survived a double fight versus Burgos to draw Giallourakis, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Rivera picked up Roland Garcia, who after being defeated by Giallourakis ended Gorst’s run 6-1 and  by the same score, Del Sim’s.
 
Chinakhov and Giallourakis battled to double hill before Chinakhov advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Garcia, who’d eliminated Rivera 6-2. Chinakhov took the quarterfinal match 6-2.
 
He completed his loss-side run with a double hill win over Ekonomopoulos in the semifinals. Hohmann, though, shut Chinakhov down early in the finals and completed his undefeated run with a 6-1 victory over Chinakhov.
 
Soto is the only competitor to come from the loss side to win Mixed Masters Division
 
Five of the six divisions of the NYC Singles 8-Ball Championships featured winners who went undefeated through their respective fields. Jose Soto, in the smallest field (16), competing in the Mixed Masters division, was the only competitor to win a division by coming from the loss side to defeat the hot seat occupant. And he did so, by losing in his first round and winning six loss-side matches to down Cesar Turcios in the finals.
 
Soto lost 5-1 to Tim Edmonds in the opening round of play. Edmonds was subsequently defeated by Brooke Meyers, who advanced to face Turcios in the hot seat match. Turcios claimed the hot seat in a double hill win over Meyers. On the loss side, three of the six matches Soto played, forced him to play a single deciding game to advance; matches against Eddie Kunz, Matthew Harricharan and his quarterfinal match against Miguel Laboy. Soto downed Meyers 6-3 in the semifinals and then, claimed the title with an 8-4 win over Turcios.
 
The largest field of 48, in the Mixed Open division, was won by Sebastian Karwas, who went undefeated. It took Karwas as many matches on the winners’ side of the Mixed Open bracket to claim the title, as it took Soto on both sides of the Mixed Masters bracket to win his. Karwas got by Jim Gutierrez, Keith Stefanowitz, Omar Chavez, Alex Kent and Marco Daniele to face Paul Lyons in the hot seat match. He claimed the hot seat 6-1 over Lyons, who moved to the loss side and downed Daniele in the semifinals 5-3. Karwas took their second match 6-4 to claim the title.
 
Rosario and Schreiber battle it out for Mixed Advanced title
 
Two of the New York area’s better competitors in their respective ranking divisions battled twice to claim the 32-entrant Mixed Advanced title. Abel Rosario and Thomas Schreiber hold top positions in the standings of both the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tours. Rosario is #10 on the Tri-State’s A+/A standings list and the #3 B+ player on the Predator Pro Am Tour. Schreiber is #5 on the Tri-State’s list of B players and # 2 on the Predator Pro Am Tour’s list of B players.
 
After four victories each, they met first in the hot seat match. Rosario claimed the hot seat 6-3. Schreiber moved to the loss side and downed Matthew Rezendes 5-1. He and Rosario fought to an appropriate double hill game 11 before Rosario finished it to claim the title.
 
In the 32-entrant Women’s Leisure division, Akiko Sugiyama won five straight to claim that title. She faced Melissa Schleifer twice and gave up only a single rack over the two matches; that one, coming in Sugiyama’s victory in the hot seat match. Schleifer shut Debra Pritchett out in the semifinals, but punctuating her undefeated run through the field, Sugiyama shut Schleifer out in the finals.
 
Completing the six-tournament event, it was Maxwell Musser, who went undefeated through the 32-entrant Men’s Leisure field. Musser faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals, defeating Brian Schell to claim the hot seat, and after Henry Chan had downed Schell double hill in the semifinals, Musser shut him out to take the title.
 
As always, event director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as Dr. Michael Fedak for his continuing financial support for this event (Fedak finished in the tie for 13th place in the Mixed Open tournament). Robles also noted sponsorship support from Predator Cues, and Blatt Billiards. According to Robles, the 2020 NYC 8-Ball Championships are going to be even better. It’s being planned as a three-day event on Columbus Day weekend and Dr. Fedak will be adding $20,000.
 
“This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of Michael and Marilyn Fedak,” said Robles.

West foils a strong, loss-side bid by Wilkie to claim MD State 10-Ball Championships

Rick Scarlato Jr, Shaun Wilkie, Jake Lawson, Chuck Sampson, Michael Yednak, Kevin West, Loye Bolyard

The two competitors who squared off against each other in the finals of the Maryland State 10-Ball Championships on the weekend of September 28-29 are the only two who have ever won the Action Pool Tour’s annual Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament twice. That record was held by Shaun Wilkie, until in 2017 & this past April, Kevin West chalked up his two. West went undefeated in the MD State 10-Ball event, and was challenged by Wilkie, who’d been sent to the loss side in an early round by another Bob Stocks Memorial champion, Brandon Shuff. Wilkie won eight on the loss side to challenge West in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Champions Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.
 
With his finals opponent toiling away on the loss side, West advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Del Sim. Chuck Sampson faced Robert Palucho in the other one. West sent Sim west 7-1 and in the hot seat match, faced Sampson, who’d defeated Palucho 7-5. West and Sampson battled to a 13th deciding game before West dropped the last 10-ball to claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Wilkie and Shuff were working their way toward a potential re-match, which would have occurred in the quarterfinals had it not been for Scott Haas. As Wilkie was busy tallying his 4th loss-side win, downing William Gallagher 7-3, Haas was at work eliminating Shuff 7-5. Wilkie subsequently defeated Haas 7-4, which set him (Wilkie) up to face Del Sim. Palucho drew Michael Yednak, who’d shut out Dylan Spohr and given up only a single rack to co-event director, Rick Scarlato, Jr.
 
Wilkie advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sim and was joined by Yednak, who’d defeated Palucho 7-2. Wilkie took the quarterfinals 7-3 over Yednak and then shut Sampson out in the semifinals.
 
Momentum aside, Wilkie was unable to just roll over West in the finals. West got out in front and won it by three (7-4) to claim the MD State 10-Ball Title. 
 
Co-event directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Champions Billiards, as well as sponsors McDermott Cues, Lights Out Billiards Apparel, AZBilliards, Simonis Cloth, Billiards Sports Network, Chesapeake Bay TAP Leagues and Aramith Balls.    

Sossei goes undefeated, downing Korsiak twice to claim Eastern States Championships

(l to r): Jeremy Sossei, Joey Korsiak, Tony Robles and Jonathan Smith

They’re familiar rivals, Jeremy Sossei and Joey Korsiak. Joey’s been around a little longer; his recorded exploits dating back 20 years. Jeremy’s on record (here) back to 2007. They’re both veterans of the Joss Northeast 9-Ball and Predator Pro Am Tours and have met on numerous (sometimes unrecorded) occasions. When Jeremy arrived at the 2019 Eastern States Championships at Steinway Billiards this past Labor Day Weekend (August 31-Sept. 2), he’d already chalked up five wins on the 2019 Joss Tour, four of them in a row from April to June. Joey entered the tournament with only two ‘cash’ appearances on his 2019 resume. He finished 28th at the Derby City Classic 9-Ball event and was runner-up to Frankie Hernandez at a Predator stop in March. He was among the top five finishers in six events last year and downed Zion Zvi in the finals of a Predator stop last June.
 
As far as we know, the only time they met in a final before this past weekend was in February 2011, when Joey defeated Jeremy in the finals of a Predator Pro Am event. Joey finished as runner-up in another Predator event in April of that year, with Sossei finishing in fourth place.
 
They met twice in this year’s $1,500-added, 10-Ball Open/Pro division of the Eastern States Championships, which, held under the auspices of the Predator Pro Am Tour, drew 19 entrants to Steinway Billiards over the weekend. There was, arguably, a lot more at stake for Korsiak than there was for Sossei as they squared off in the finals of this one. For Sossei, it was going to be just a 6th notch on his 2019 victory belt. For Korsiak, on the other hand, a victory over Sossei would have been his first major victory since last June and only his third since he defeated Sossei eight years ago. It made for some high drama in the finals on Monday night.
 
A concurrent, $1,500-added Amateur event (separate story) drew 83 entrants to Steinway. Gary Bozigian went undefeated to claim that title, downing Matt Klein in the finals.
 
Sossei and Korsiak met first in the winners’ side semifinals of the Open/Pro event. Jonathan Smith and Michael Yednak squared off in the other one. Sossei sent Korsiak to the loss side 9-4 and advanced to the hot seat match against Smith, who’d defeated Yednak 9-6. Sossei claimed the hot seat and waited for Korsiak to finish his three-match march back to the finals.
 
On the loss side, Korsiak picked up Del Sim, who’d eliminated Duc Lam 9-6 and Zion Zvi, double hill, to reach him. Yednak drew Predator Pro Am Tour director Tony Robles. Yednak had sent him to the loss side in an earlier round and Robles had recently defeated Vinko Rumora 9-1 and survived a double hill match versus Jorge Rodriguez to earn the re-match.
 
Robles won the rematch against Yednak and Korsiak downed Sim by the same 9-5 score. Korsiak then eliminated Robles 9-5 in the quarterfinals.
 
Korsiak’s interest in a rematch against Sossei in the hot seat was evident in the gritty double hill victory he chalked up against Smith in the semifinals. As Labor Day drew to a close, Korsiak and Sossei went to work.
 
Sossei opened things with a break and run that was followed immediately by a tight safety match in which they both took about a half dozen shots at the 1-ball before Sossei broke out of it and went up 2-0. Sossei broke dry on the third rack and though Korsiak ran to the 6-ball, he got a little out of position shooting at the 7-ball, missed it and watched Sossei make it 3-0.
 
Korsiak got on the board with rack #4 and drew within one by winning rack #5, as well. They traded racks to 5-4, when Sossei jumped out by two to regain the three-rack lead he owned at the start. Korsiak reduced it back down to two (7-5) with a rack #12 win.
 
Rack #13 proved to be about as unlucky as it gets. Korsiak played a terrific safe shot that forced Sossei to make a soft-shot, multi-rail kick at the 3-ball. He touched it successfully, but it barely moved in the jaws of a corner pocket and Korsiak made the assumption that nothing had hit the rail after contact. Sossei tried to tell him that he’d made a good hit, but Korsiak reached out and touched the cue ball, committing a foul that in essence, took the wind out of his sails.
 
Sossei took the ball in hand and closed out the rack to reach the hill first; 8-5 in the extended-race-to-11 format (if Korsiak reached 9 first, the race would extend to 11).  Rack #14 featured a couple of unforced errors by both of them; Sossei dropped a ball that he had called safe, Korsiak missed a relatively easy shot that was a gateway to the 14th rack finish line, and Sossei scratched shooting at the 8-ball. Korsiak made another unforced error but managed to leave Sossei a difficult shot. Sossei made the shot he had to make and closed it out 9-5 to capture the 2019 Championship title.
 
Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his entire Predator Pro Am staff, to include his lovely wife, Gail. Robles also acknowledged the efforts of UpstateAl and his AZBTv staff for their streaming of selected matches throughout the weekend.

Steve Fleming brings it home at the Maryland State 8-Ball Championship

Rick Scarlata, Brandon Shuff, Steve Fleming and Loye Bolyard (Erwin Dionisio)

It has been a long time coming, but after many years of relentless tour-grinding and dogged determination, local favorite and all-around nice guy Steve Fleming lifted the trophy in victory at the Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD on June 30th. 
 
The summer months historically produce lower turnouts as many prefer to spend time outdoors. This event had fifty-seven players, which is unusually low for a Maryland State event, but it was not without its share of world beaters. Local professionals such as Shaun Wilkie and Brandon Shuff were on deck, as well as the Russian sensation Kristina Tkach, along with Scottish champion Del Sim.
 
Steve played like a man possessed all weekend and was handed his first loss in the sixth round by the seasoned veteran Brandon Shuff. Undaunted, Steve proceeded to eliminate none other than Shaun Wilkie to advance to the winner's bracket. It was here he exacted his revenge on Brandon and marched to victory in the final match. 
 
Steve has been a frequent flyer in many regional and professional events, including the US Open and the Turning Stone Classic Events. Nicknamed "The Ice Cream Man," he certainly did not hesitate to celebrate accordingly!
 
Many thanks to the owners of On The Hill Productions, Rick Scarlato Jr. and Loye Bolyard for hosting another top-quality event. This event was also made possible by the following sponsors:
Billiard Sports Network
Lights Out Billiard Apparel
McDermott Cues
Phillippi Custom Cues
TAP Pool League – Chesapeake Region
 
On The Hill Productions would also like to thank the owner Gary Allen & staff at Champion Billiards for hosting another State event and for their continued support.
 

Kazakis goes undefeated to claim Open/Pro side of 9th Annual Ginky Memorial

Jayson Shaw, Alex Kazakis, James Aranas and Hunter Lombardo

In the absence of defending champion, Klenti Kaci and runner-up Lee Van Corteza (or third-place finisher, Mike Dechaine), Jayson Shaw and Alex Kazakis were the early, euphemistic ‘fan favorites’ going into the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament, held over this past Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27). There was a bit of a collective groan when Shaw stumbled in the third round, falling to Del Sim, double hill, to begin a loss-side trip, but the Scotsman validated fan interest in his abilities when he won seven on the loss side to meet Kazakis in the finals. Kazakis, though, coming off his best earnings year to date (2018), completed an undefeated run by downing Shaw in the finals to claim the 9th Open/Pro 10-Ball Ginky Memorial title. The $2,000-added event, held under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Tours, drew 36 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
The weekend also included a $2,000-added Amateur event, which, like the Open/Pro event drew a record field of 169 entrants, divided initially into upper and lower handicapped brackets. Jason Sheerman won seven on the loss side to meet and defeat the man who’d sent him there, Jimmy Acosta, in the finals. Further details on the Ginky Memorial’s Amateur tournament, which once again, crowned a unique champion, will be featured in a separate report.
 
As it turned out, Del Sim’s triumph over the event’s presumed ‘favorite’ was short-lived and ended with a 9-4 loss to Kazakis in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals. What was left at that point was a list of three usual suspects, with one unusual suspect to compete in the winners’ side semifinals. Kazakis advanced to face Jeremy Sossei, who’d just survived a double hill fight versus Raphael Dabreo. The other usual suspect, Zoren James Aranas, advanced to meet the somewhat unusual suspect, 19-year-old Russian phenom, Kristina Tkach, who was the event’s only female competitor.
 
Kazakis sent Sossei to the loss side 9-7, while Aranas sent Tkach west 9-3. Early on, in the battle for the hot seat, it looked as though the second ‘fan favorite’ – Kazakis – was going to join Shaw on the loss side. Aranas jumped out to a 4-0 lead, before Kazakis woke up and chalked up four of his own to tie it and then, take the lead at 5-4. Aranas responded with three racks to tie and retake the lead at 7-5. They proved to be the last three racks he would win in the match. Kazakis followed his five-in-a-row with four-in-a-row to reach the hill first and then, claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Kristina Tkach drew an immediate rematch against the man she’d defeated in the third round of play, Hunter Lombardo. Lombardo had defeated Jimmy Rivera 9-5, Raphael Dabreo 9-1 and moving into the first money round, just did survive a double hill fight against the  Ginky Memorial’s 2016 champion Zion Zvi. Zvi had previously spoiled any hopes Shaw might have been entertaining about a rematch versus Del Sim by defeating Sim 9-6. Sossei had the misfortune of picking up Shaw, four matches into his loss-side winning streak, having given up only eight racks over the past 35 games; two to Mhet Vergara, three to Alan Rolon and three to Dmitris Loukatos.
 
Lombardo successfully navigated his way through his rematch against Tkach, which was tight through about the halfway point of the match. He pulled out in front and advanced to the quarterfinals 9-5. Shaw joined him after eliminating Sossei by the same 9-5 score.
 
Shaw took an early 3-0 lead in the quarterfinals, after which, briefly, it looked as though Lombardo was going to give him a run for his money, literally. Lombardo won two to draw within one at 3-2. Shaw, though, roared right back to win another three in a row to go out in front by four at 6-2. Lombardo fought back a second time with another two, but they’d prove to be the last two. Shaw added his third run of three to win it 9-4.
 
Now, as one might imagine, things started to tighten up. Though externally calm and composed, it was clear from the semifinal get-go that both Shaw and Aranas wanted a shot at Kazakis in the hot seat. From all appearances, this might just have been a match between two buddies with nothing at stake but a good time playing pool; there was no grim determination, or frustration over the occasional (actually, rare) bad rolls. Even the mistakes, and there were a few, were met with an easy sense of humor as these two battled to see who’d be relegated to a third-place finish. It was rare to see either of them actually finish a rack. Each of them conceding up to three balls at the end of racks to move on.
 
Shaw took the opener and Aranas came back to tie it. Shaw won two and then, they traded racks back and forth to 5-3. Aranas missed the 8-ball in the 9th rack and conceded the final three balls to give Shaw a 6-3 lead. Aranas came right back with three in a row to tie things at 6-6 and then sunk four on the break, ran the other six balls and took his first lead at 7-6. It would be his last. Shaw won three straight to end the Filipino’s weekend 9-7.
 
The match everybody had been waiting for, was on.
 
It was a modified race to 11. If Shaw reached 11 first, they’d extend the match to 13. At the 8-7 mark, with Kazakis out in front, that probability remained. But getting there was more than half of the fun of this match, which was preceded by a few trick shot demonstrations by the two of them. Accompanied by microphone commentary that introduced the finalists, they placed two object balls on a diagonal from each other, and stroked the two balls simultaneously. The balls collided at the center of the table, each of them bouncing off the other and landing in a pocket. One time, one of the balls failed to drop into its designated pocket, but bounced off of an extra rail to land in a side pocket.
 
Demonstrations over, they lined up for the lag, won by Kazakis, who opened the proceedings with a win. Shaw responded with a win of his own to mark the first of four ties. Kazakis got out in front by two at 3-1, but Shaw came back to win two to tie it at 3-3. At 5-5, the tide turned in Kazakis’ favor. He won three in a row to give himself an 8-5 lead that he’d never relinquish (Shaw conceded the last three balls in the rack that gave Kazakis this biggest lead of the match).
 
Shaw closed the gap with two in a row to pull within one at 8-7, but in the following rack, Kazakis made a match-defining shot – an oblique angle, long table bank shot on the 8-ball – that led Shaw to concede the game’s last two balls. Kazakis won the next rack to reach the hill first and though Shaw won the 18th rack, Kazakis took the 19th to claim the event title.
 
Event director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his entire Steinway Billiards staff, who worked tirelessly, professionally and with remarkable grace throughout a long weekend with over 200 pool players and a contingent of venue regulars who spent time playing chess and backgammon at nearby tables. Robles also acknowledged his regular tour sponsors, including Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, Capelle (Billiards Press.com), PoolontheNet.com, The DeVito Team, as well as the cooperation of the other sponsoring tours (Tri-State and Mezz Tours) and the tireless, non-stop live stream operated by Upstate Al and his broadcast team.
 
Robles also made note to all in attendance of the defining fact that this annual event is held each year in memory of George “Ginky” Sansouci, who passed away in 2011, and whose legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of innumerable players in the New York area and wherever “Ginky” played. The event was attended by members of the Sansouci family, who were accorded ‘front row’ seating privileges for all of the live-streamed matches and remain deeply grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Ginky’s life with a living, breathing memorial to his influence on the game and the people who continue to play it. 

Lee goes undefeated to take Predator Pro Am Amateur stop at Gotham City Billiards

(l to r): Andrew Lee, Zain Sundaram & John Morrison

Hernandez takes Open/Pro event
 
Andrew Lee got by John Morrison twice during the Predator Pro Am Tour’s visit to Gotham City Billiards on the weekend of May 18-19, and finished undefeated to claim the event title. According to tour director Tony Robles, the event was something of an experiment, designed to divide the normal crowds that show up for the tour’s A/B/C/D amateur events and lead to seriously late night/early morning finishes. Robles isolated the C/D players and invited them to the $1,800-added amateur event that drew 39 entrants to Gotham City Billiards.
 
Of arguably more ‘human interest’ in the amateur event was a match between husband and wife, Monika and Mike Callaghan. They ended up battling for the right to advance to the amateur event’s first money round. More on this when we get to the loss-side activities of the event.
 
On Sunday, May 19, a $700-added Open/Pro event drew 16 entrants and saw Frankie Hernandez claim that title, by winning the semifinals. More on this when we get to the Open/Pro event.
 
In the Amateur event, Andrew Lee and John Morrison met first in a winners’ side semifinal as Zain Sundaram and Juan Melendez squared off in the other one. Sundaram survived a double hill battle versus Melendez to earn his spot in the hot seat match. Lee joined him after sending Morrison to the loss side 7-3. Lee claimed the hot seat 7-1 and waited for Morrison to complete his three-match, loss-side winning streak.
 
The match between the married Callaghans would not normally appear in a report, because only one of them advanced beyond the 9/12 matches. They battled for the right to make it to the amateur event’s first money round. It was a double hill match, 6-5, won by Monika, at the end of which, according to Robles, she stuck her tongue out at husband, Mike, who was reportedly only partially amused. Her elation didn’t last because in the first money round, Mac Jankov, who’d eliminated Bob Toomey 6-3, defeated her double hill to advance and meet Melendez. Morrison picked up Joe Wilson Torres, who’d defeated Keith Jawahir 7-4 and survived a double hill fight against Tony Ignomirello to reach him.
 
Melendez advanced to the quarterfinals with a double hill win over Jankov. Morrison downEd Torres 7-4 to join him. Morrison took the quarterfinal match over Melendez 7-4 and then, defeated Sundaram 7-3 in the semifinals, to earn a shot at Lee in the hot seat.
 
Lee completed his undefeated run by allowing Morrison only a single rack in the finals. The 7-1 victory earned Lee the tour’s first-ever, strictly C/D amateur title.
 
Hernandez downs Sim in semifinals to claim Open/Pro title
 
The one time they did meet, in a winners’ side semifinal of the Open/Pro event, Jorge Rodriguez and Frankie Hernandez battled to double hill before Rodriguez prevailed to get into the hot seat match. He was joined by Del Sim, who had also survived a double hill match, against Alex Osipov. Rodriguez claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Sim, and unable to continue, forfeited the final match. This elevated the status of the event semifinals, allowing its winner, Hernandez, to claim the event title.
 
On the loss side, Frankie Hernandez picked up Pat Fleming, who’d shut out Jennifer Baretta and eliminated Mike Salerno 7-4. Osipov drew Mhet Vergara, who’d defeated Ashley Burrows 7-4 and survived a double hill fight against tour director Tony Robles.
 
Vergara downed Osipov 7-3, as Hernandez had his hands full surviving a double hill fight against Fleming. Hernandez moved on to defeat Vergara 7-3 in the quarterfinal match, and then, in what in effect was the event final, defeated Del Sim 7-4 to claim the event title.
 
Robles thanked Kevin and Isabel Buckley and their Gotham City Billiards staff for their continuing support as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle (Billiards Press), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine, and Billiards Digest. Robles also thanked his always-supportive cast of assistants, to include his lovely wife, Gail.
 
The next stop on the Predator Tour, scheduled for this coming Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-27), will be the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament. As always, the $4,000-added event will be held under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Tours, and will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.