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Jeziorski and Klein split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r) Bryan Jeziorski & Matt Klein

It was to have been an ‘A’ team battle. As Bryan Jeziorski sat in the hot seat and Matt Klein was working his way through the loss side of the March 1 stop on the Tri-State Tour, the prospect of a final match between two of the Tri-State’s premiere A players seemed like a distinct possibility. And it almost came to pass. Klein, #2 on the tour’s list of A+/A players, completed a five-match, loss-side streak, prepared for a rematch against Jeziorski, #7 on that A+/A list of players. With a late hour and the prospect of work looming, mere hours away, the two opted out of a final match, leaving the undefeated Jeziorski as the official winner of the $1,000-added event that had drawn 57 entrants to The Spot in Nanuet, NY.
They met first in a winners’ side quarterfinal, won 7-2 by Jeziorski, who advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Marco Daniele, a C player. In the other winners’ side semifinal, Mike Strassberg, the tour’s #1 C+ player, squared off against Joe Rubino (B).
Jeziorski and Daniele battled to double hill before Jeziorski prevailed, advancing to the hot seat match. Strassberg and Rubino checked in with a double hill fight, as well. One that sent Strassberg to the hot seat match against Jezioski. Jeziorski downed Strassberg 8-4 in what would prove to be his last match.
On the loss side, following victories over Jaydev Zaveri 7-5 and Demain Patrick 8-6, Matt Klein leap-frogged into the quarterfinals when Daniele forfeited. He was joined by Emmanuel Arelzga, who, after defeating Jay Choi 7-4 and Syed Alli 8-5, eliminated Joe Rubino 7-3.
Klein and Arelzga locked up in a double hill battle, eventually won by Klein, who went on to eliminate Strassberg 8-5 in the semifinals. The decision was made to not play a final match, the money was split and everybody went home.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at The Spot for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Liquid Weighted Cues , Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, March 8, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.  

Robinson comes from the loss side, wins first regional tour event on the Predator Pro Am Tour

(l to r): Nick Croce, Sherwin Robinson, Eric Toledo & Ron Bernardo

Between them, the winner, runner-up and third-place finisher in this past weekend’s (Feb. 8-9) stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour at Steinway Billiards, had only 10 recorded cash finishes in any regional tour events anywhere. Nick Croce, who finished third, had half of those. Eventual hot seat occupant and runner-up Erick Toledo had four, one per year, all on the Predator Tour dating back to 2008 (’19, ’10, ’09 & ’08). His best, before this past weekend, was his third-place finish in ’08. The eventual winner, Sherwin Robinson, had only one recorded cash finish anywhere, that occurred two years ago on the Predator Pro Am, when he made it as far as a winners’ side semifinal, before forfeiting out of that match and finishing in the tie for 5th place.

Robinson, Toledo and Croce earned their top cash finishes by navigating through a relatively large field that included some of the tour’s more recognizable competitors. Robinson, for example, in his first loss-side match, eliminated B+ player Pascal Dufresne, who’s fresh off his best recorded earnings year (2019), in which he won two stops each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State tours and whose recorded cash finishes last year alone were three short of the total for Robinson, Toledo and Croce over the last 10 years. The $1,000-added event drew 87 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Toledo and Robinson met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Croce and Ray Feliciano squared off in the other one. Toledo got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Robinson. Croce joined him after defeating Feliciano 7-1. Toledo moved into his first (recorded) hot seat match and won it 9-5 over Croce, assuring himself his best (recorded) finish ever, regardless of what happened in the finals.

On the loss side, Robinson launched his three-match, loss-side journey against Dufresne, who was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently included a double hill win over Arturo Reyes and a 7-1 victory over Duc Lam. Feliciano picked up Ron Bernardo, fresh off of two straight, double hill matches versus DeMain Patrick and Kanami Chau.

Identical 7-4 scores sent Robinson and Bernardo to the quarterfinals, over Dufresne and Feliciano. Robinson went on to defeat Bernardo in those quarterfinals 8-6 and Croce, in the semifinals 8-5.

It was going to be either Robinson or Toledo walking away with his first (recorded) regional tour win. It was Robinson, edging out in front of Toledo at the end and winning the match 9-7, who chalked up the event title.

A Second Chance, single-elimination event that drew 15 entrants saw Jason Goberdhan down Mikhail Kim 7-3 in the finals to claim the $160 first-place prize. Kim pocketed $100 as runner-up, while Dave Callaghan, who’d been defeated by Kim, and Julian Tierney, who’d been defeated by Goberdhan, each took home $30. An 11-entrant, single elimination Third Chance event was won by Jose Mendes, who downed Juan Guzman, double hill, in the finals. Mendes pocketed $130. Guzman took home $90.

Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Cappelle (, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest. He also thanked his own Predator Pro Am staff to include his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for this coming weekend (Feb. 15-16), will be hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Sieczka and Mierzwa split top prizes and share ‘Polska duma’ on first 2019 Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): Frank Sieczka & Jan Mierzwa

It was, as one Tri-State Tour rep called it, a day of Polska duma, which translates into Polish pride. League teammates and friends Frank Sieczka, Jan Mierzwa and Grzegorz Kasica were among 36 entrants, who signed on to the first 2019 stop on the tour on Sunday, January 5, and ended the day at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ as the $1,000-added, 8-ball event’s final three. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Sieczka claimed the title when he and Mierzwa opted to split the final two cash prizes.
All three advanced to a winners’ side quarterfinal, but in one of those quarterfinal matches, Sieczka and Mierzwa met for what turned out to be the one and only time. Sieczka had started his day with a shutout over Sebastian Karwas. He then downed Jaydev Zaveri, double hill and  Emit Yolcu 6-2, before running into Mierzwa and sending him to the loss side 6-4. Sieczka moved on to face DeMain Patrick in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the meantime, Kasica, who’d sent Qian Chen, Hunter Sullivan, and Michael Graf to the loss side, squared off against Allison LaFleur in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Sieczka got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Patrick and was joined by Kasica, who’d shut LaFleur out. Sieczka claimed the hot seat with a 6-4 win in what turned out to be his last match.
It was Patrick who drew Mierzwa, three matches into his loss-side streak that would end with the cash split. Mierzwa had downed Joe Mazzeo 6-4 and picked up a forfeit win over Liran Rabin to reach Patrick. LaFleur picked up (relative) newcomer Brandone Alli, who’d defeated Shweta Zaveri 6-3 and Artur Trzeciak (another representative of Polish pride) 6-4.
Mierzwa and Alli advanced to the quarterfinals; Mierzwa, 6-3 over Patrick and Alli, 6-2 over LaFleur. Mierzwa took the quarterfinal match over Alli 6-4, marking the 6th time in the event’s final 14 matches that members of the ‘Polska duma’ group had won a match by that score.
The semifinal and last match of the evening between Mierzwa and Kasica made it seven 6-4 scores out of the last 14 matches, as Mierzwa left Kasica in third place. Sieczka and Mierzwa opted out of the final and the first 2019 stop of the Tri-State Tour’s 2019-2020 season went into the books with a dash of Polish duma.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Liquid Weighted Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Quick Stik, Phil Capelle,  Pool & Billiards,  Bender Cues, Dayton Cues, and Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 12, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.