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Ellerman undefeated at Desert Classic Tour Season Finale

Mitch Ellerman (Photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

The Desert Classic Tour closed out their 2014 season at Bullshooters in Phoenix on December 6th and 7th, and Mitch Ellerman took the opportunity to remind the Arizona pool player community that he is still the man to beat on the Desert Classic Tour.
Ellerman rode the winners side on Saturday with wins over Mike Hamman, Rudy Alameda and tour director Dennis Orender. Pacing Ellerman on the winners side was John Ritonya who had notable wins over Jose Gonzalez, Chuck Evans and Brian Reich.
Chuck Evans looked to be on his way to another strong finish until he ran into Ritonya on the winners side. The loss to Ritonya was followed by by a loss to Will Sexton and Evans finished out of the money.
A welcome guest on the tour for this event was WPBA veteran Sarah Rousey. Rousey admitted that she was out of stroke and took a “two and out” finish after losing to Sexton and Ray Robles
Sunday play got underway with six players left in the running. Ellerman and Ritonya were the final two on the winners side, with Tim Daniel, Dennis Orender, Brian Reich and Rudy Alameda all hoping they could still win the event from the one loss side.
Daniel ended Orender’s tournament with an 8-5 scoreline, and Reich sent Alameda back to Tucson in 5th place with an identical 8-5 score.
The match for 3rd and 4th place came down to a notable finish that said quite a bit about Brian Reich. Reich and Tim Daniel were tied at hill-hill and Reich had a tough shot on the 5 ball. With the fans staring at the 5-ball to see if Reich would make a good hit, Reich tapped the cue ball with his cue. Reich presented a surprised Daniel with ball-in-hand and Daniel gladly ran out the rack for the win. While someone who doesn’t know Reich might have been surprised by him calling the foul on himself, anyone who knows him would have expected nothing less.
Back on the winners side, Ellerman was running out at will and turned in a 10-3 trouncing of Ritonya for the hot-seat.
It took some time for Ritonya to recover from the loss to Ellerman and he came out slow in the semi-final against Daniel. Ritonya would come back to make it a hill-hill match, but Daniel would win the case game to win the match 8-7 and earn the right to take his shot at Ellerman in the finals.
Unfortunately for Daniel, he discovered just how hard it is to beat a motivated Mitch Ellerman as Ellerman cruised to a 10-1 win in the first and only set of the finals.
Tournament director Dennis Orender expressed his thanks to Mike and Julie Bates, as well as all of the staff at Bullshooters for hosting another great tournament.
While this event signaled the end of the 2014 season, plans are already underway with lots of changes for the upcoming 2015 season. In addition to the new junior program announced in these pages last month, many more announcements regarding format changes and sponsorship can be found in this month’s paper on page 8.

Jon Smith Wins DCT Season Finale

Jon Smith and Tres Kane

Jon Smith reaffirmed his dominance on the Diamond 7’ tables with an undefeated run through a field of thirty five other players at the Desert Classic Tour’s 2013 Season Finale at Skip & Jan’s in Tempe.
As is always the case on the Desert Classic Tour, Saturday play saw many marquee matches and top players finding themselves scraping to stay alive on the one loss side. Tour points leader Mitch Ellerman had notable wins over Max Maurer, Doc Rice and Brett Huth before dropping a match to Tres Kane. Ellerman watched Kane race to a hill-0 lead before winning seven straight games against Kane to completely change the dynamic of the match. Ellerman would not get past seven though, as Kane put the match away 8-7. Ellerman scored wins over Pete Lhotka and Mike Sandoval late Saturday to earn his ticket to Sunday play. 
Last month’s winner, Mickey Provencio, was two and out with losses to Chuck Evans and Pete Lhotka. #6 ranked Bernie Pettipiece didn’t fare any better with early losses to Todd Dilley and Joe Watson
Sunday play saw four undefeated players joined by two players on the left side of the board come back to determine a final winner. Tres Kane kept his winning streak alive with an 8-5 win over Chuck Evans, and Jon Smith sent #2 ranked Dennis Orender to the one loss side in an 8-6 match,
On the one loss side, Brian Reich and Mitch Ellerman were waiting for opponents. Reich had lost to Bobby Emmons in the first round on Saturday, but scored nine straight wins to keep his hopes of scoring his first DCT win alive. Brian would run over Chuck Evans 8-1 while Ellerman dropped an 8-8 decision to Dennis Orender.
Next up, Reich would eliminate Orender in fourth place with an 8-4 scoreline. 
Back on the winners side, Jon Smith was scoring an 8-4 win of his own, over Tres Kane.
The semi-final match between Reich and Kane couldn’t have been much closer, with the score tied four times before Tres finally won the final two games for the 8-6 win and a rematch against Jon Smith in the finals.
The finals saw Smith take an early 2-0 lead and never look back. Kane did his best to stay with Smith, but just didn’t have the firepower to ever catch up as Smith extended his lead and took the first and only set of the finals 8-4 for first place.

Provencio Undefeated At DCT Tour Stop

Mickey Provencio and Mike Williams

New Mexico’s Mickey Provencio completed a hard fought undefeated run through the field of forty eight players to win the Desert Classic Tour’s November tourstop at Bull Shooters on November 2nd and 3rd.
It was an impressive run that included a win over tour points leader Mitch Ellerman on Saturday and a win over #3 ranked Dennis Orender on Sunday. Ellerman bounced back from the loss to Provencio with a win over Mike Sandoval to earn his place in Sunday’s matches.
A top player who did not make Sunday play was #4 ranked Nick De Leon, who started things off with a win over Prescott’s Bob Soto, but then lost back to back matches to Sammy Martinez and Mike Sandoval.
Sunday play on the winners side saw Chuck Evans defeat Mike Williams 8-4 and Provencio defeat Orender 8-7.
On the west side of the board, Ellerman ran over Pete Lhotka 10-4 and Bernie Pettipiece earned a tough 8-7 win over Tres Kane.
Mike Williams then eliminated Ellerman in a hill-hill 8-9 victory, and Pettipiece sent Orender to the rail 8-3.
The hot-seat match was another close one, with Provencio handing Evans his first loss 8-7.
After Williams eliminated Pettipiece, the semi final match between Williams and Evans got underway. Mike had started his day with an 8-4 loss to Evans, and he was determined to avenge that loss. Williams cruised to an early 4-0 lead and scored an 8-4 win of his own to eliminate Evans and earn Williams a shot against Provencio in the finals.
The final match saw both players go on runs, as Provencio took a 3-0 lead, only to see Williams come back to tie things at 4-4. Another Provencio run saw him take a 6-4 lead and Williams again come back to tie things at 6-6. Finally, it was Provencio’s turn for another run as he won the final two games to win the first and only set of the finals 8-6.
The Desert Classic Tour will bring their 2013 Season Finale to Skip and Jan’s on December 6th – 8th. That event is expected to be at least a $2,000 added event.

Bernie Pettipiece wins 2013 Az. State 14.1 Championship

Bernie Pettipiece

The Desert Classic Tour arrived at Pockets Pool and Pub on September 21st for the 6th stop of the 2013 season.  This was a $1000 added event and would serve as the 2013 Az. State 14.1 Championship.  29 players would arrive on Saturday in hopes of taking the crown.  The tourney saw some of the regular heavy hitters from Phoenix, such as Mitch Ellerman, Bobby Emmons, Nick DeLeon, Mike and Susan Williams, Bret Huth, Tres Kane, Dennis Orender and Brian Reich.  Tucson also brought its fair share of top players in George Teyechea, Rick Galloway, Tom Neil, and Mike Hamman.  2011 Az. State 14.1 Champion Pete Lhotka was also on hand to defend his  2011 title.
As the tourney got started, it was evident Mitch Ellerman was the man to beat.  He started his first match with a run of 61 against Dennis Orender to win 100-14.  Curious to see how far he could get, he continued his run to 101.  Two more wins on Saturday against Larry Channenson and George Teyechea would provide Mitch a final 4 winner’s side match on Sunday.  His opponent would be Brian Reich.  Brian rattled off 3 straight wins against Mike Hamman, John Rehm and Rick Armbrust to reach his shot at Mitch on Sunday.  
At the bottom of the bracket, Bobby Emmons would upend 2011 runner up, Bernie Pettipiece, while Nick DeLeon sent 2011 champion, Pete Lhotka, to the one loss side.  This would set up a showdown with the sharpshooting Emmons against the conservative DeLeon on Sunday.  By close on Saturday, only 8 players remained.
The tourney got off to an early start on Sunday and once again, Mitch was hot out of the gate. He dispatched Brian Reich 100-0, while Nick DeLeon grinded out a 100-73 victory over Bobby Emmons.  Mitch would cruise into the hot seat with a 100-14 win over Nick.
While Mitch was making quick work of his opponents on the winner’s side, a rematch of the 2011 finals was on course between Bernie and Pete.  Pete had defeated Bernie in the finals of the 2011 Az. State 14.1 Championship and Bernie now had his chance to avenge the loss.  He would come away with a 75-41 victory and continue his run of wins against Brian Reich (75-25), Bobby Emmons (75-61), and Nick Deleon (75-65).  His meticulous and patient play led him to the finals, where he is quite familiar in straight pool championship matches.  
The finals would be one race to 125.  Many spectators believed Mitch’s hot hand would lead to a quick finals; however, Bernie had other plans.  As Bernie picked at balls and continued his conservative style of play, he was able to keep Mitch in his chair for most of the match.  A couple of errors on Mitch’s part put Bernie in the driver’s seat, where he ran several racks to finish the match at 125-71 and claim his 3rd Az. State 14.1 title. 
Thank you to Lenny and the staff at Pockets for hosting another successful state championship!  The DCT would like to thank the 2013 sponsors (On Q Cases, Black Heart Billiard Tips,, Billiard and Dart News, Rixx Images,, Jeff Pranke Leather Wraps), and room owners (Pockets, Bullshooters, Kolbys, Skip and Jan’s, Stingers, River City) who continue to support the DCT.  The next tour stop is October 5-6.  Please visit for details.

Grande Wins Desert Classic Tour Stop

Paul Grande (Photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

The Desert Classic Tour returned to Skip & Jan’s Sports Bar in Tempe for the 5th stop on the 2013 schedule with a field of 32 players fighting it out on the 7’ Diamond Tables.
With the best players in the Valley in attendance, it was a slight surprise to see two players ranked outside of the top ten facing off for the hot-seat. #11 ranked Paul Grande started Sunday play with an 8-4 win over #3 ranked Rick Armbrust. Meanwhile, Pete Lhotka (ranked outside of the top 20) beat #1 ranked Mitch Ellerman 8-9 on Sunday morning. That left Lhotka and Grande playing for the hot-seat.
The hot-seat match would be a close one, with Grande coming out as the 8-7 winner.
While the left side of the board looked tough, a handful of the top players on tour didn’t even make it to Sunday play. Dennis Orender (ranked #2), Nick DeLeon (#4) and Bobby Emmons (#7) all suffered “three and out” performances on Saturday and were eliminated out of the money.
While Susan Williams didn’t make Sunday play, she scored her usual upsets over top players with wins over Ray Robles and Dennis Orender on Saturday.
Sunday play on the one loss side was all about “The Freezer”, Scott Frost. After a first round loss to Mike Sandoval on Saturday, Frost had won four matches on the left side of the board to earn his place in Sunday’s matches.
Frost kept things going with a 10-1 win over Tucson’s George Teyechea first thing Sunday morning. Meanwhile, Sandoval scored an 8-6 win over Rick Galloway.
The next round of play saw Frost scoring a 10-5 win over Ellerman and Armbrust eliminating Sandoval 7-5.
The match for fourth place saw Rick Armbrust hold a 3-2 lead over Scott Frost before Frost won eight straight games for a 10-3 win. Frost wasn’t done though, as he went on to win the first nine games against Pete Lhotka in the next match for an amazing run of seventeen games in a row. Lhotka would get on the scoreboard at 9-1, but Frost then closed the match out at 10-1.
The first set of the double elimination finals saw Frost race out to a 4-0 lead and then basically trade racks with Grande for a 10-6 win.
The second set of the finals looked to be going in the same direction for The Freezer as he quickly took a 4-1 lead. That was when Grande took control of the match. He won two games to get back within one rack at 4-3. Frost won another rack and Grande took the next two to tie things at 5-5. Grande then got to the hill at 7-5, leaving Frost needing to win five straight games for the victory. Frost would give it his all and win two in a row before Grande closed out the match with an 8-7 victory.
The Desert Classic Tour will be playing 14.1 at Pockets in Tucson on September 21st and 22nd for the next stop. 

Ellerman Unstoppable At DCT Tour Stop

Mitch Ellerman

Mitch Ellerman defeated John Smith in a match between arguably the two best barbox 8-ball players in the state to capture first place at the Desert Classic Tour’s June event on the 1st and 2nd at Stingers Sports Bar.
As is always the case, the field in this one was a tough one. The forty player field included eight of the top ten players on tour, with only Scott Frost and Manny Chau missing. 
Saturday matches were tough on both sides of the board, and a number of top players would not make it to Sunday play. #2 ranked Nick Deleon dropped matches to Gary Koschnik and Jerry Stuckart on Saturday. #4 ranked Bobby Emmons also failed to reach day two after a “three and out” performance. #10 rated Mike Sandoval had an even worse day with two straight losses in his first two matches.
Only eight players would earn places in Sunday’s matches, with four players undefeated and four players who already had one loss.
Sunday winner’s side matches saw tour points leader Mitch Ellerman scoring an 8-5 win over John Smith and DCT tour director Dennis Orender scoring a 6-2 win over tour newcomer Jason Stanley.
On the one loss side, Tres Kane eliminated Tucson’s Mike Hamman 6-4 and B player Rick Armbrust scored a 5-0 win over Brett Huth. The next round of one loss side play saw Kane fall to B player Jason Stanley 5-5 and John Smith send Armbrust to the seats with a hill-hill 6-4 win. John Smith then eliminated Stanley in 4th place with a dominating 6-0 scoreline.
Back on the winners side, Ellerman was playing Orender in an 8-6 race. Orender took a 1-0 lead and Ellerman had to come with back to back “miracle shots” to avoid a 0-2 scoreline. After Ellerman knotted the score at 1-1, he cruised to an 8-3 win and the hot-seat.
The semi-final match between John Smith and Dennis Orender saw Orender holding early 1-0 and 2-1 leads before Smith took control to win the match 6-3.
The final match was a true contrast in styles as Ellerman has never found a reason to use more than one practice stroke, and Smith brings a very methodical approach to the table and won’t pull the trigger until he knows exactly what he wants every ball to do. On this day, it was Ellerman’s rapid fire game that controlled things. Ellerman won the first three racks and never trailed in the match. Smith got back within two racks twice, but a 5-3 Ellerman lead quickly became an 8-3 Ellerman win.
The Desert Classic Tour will be at Skip & Jan’s on August 17th and 18th for their next event – a barbox 10-ball event.

Frost over Chau for Az State One Pocket Championship

Scott Frost (File photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

Scott Frost beat his Bonus Ball teammate Manny Chau twice as part of an undefeated run through a field of thirty four players to win the Desert Classic Tour's Arizona State One Pocket Championship at Kolby's Corner Pocket on May 18th and 19th.

While Frost's one pocket ability has never been questioned, some might have been surprised to see Chau playing deeply into a one pocket event against the best that Arizona has to offer. Chau's success at the event on this weekend came down to his ball-making ability. Chau may not have the tactical experience that others have in one pocket, but when given an opening at the table, Chau does not miss.
Chau went through his Saturday matches with wins over Pete Lhotka, Dennis Orender and Lenny Marshall;  and started off Sunday play with a win over Bernie Pettipiece. While that match was happening, Frost was sending Tres Kane to the one loss side to earn his place against Chau for the hot-seat.
On the one loss side, eight players were trying to keep their tournament hopes alive on Sunday. Mike Pankoff eliminated Jim Galati, Eric Young beat Lenny Marshall, Dennis Orender defeated Brian Reich and Bobby Emmons took advantage of a forfeit against California's Kenny Thomason.
Young then beat Pankoff and Orender ended Emmons' tournament.
Young kept his hopes alive by eliminating Tres Kane in 5th place. Joining Tres in 5th place was Dennis Orender, after a loss to Bernie on the left side of the board.
Back on the right side of the board, Frost made quick work of Chau 3-0 and took his place in the hot-seat.
Bernie would face off against Chau on the one loss side after eliminating Eric Young in 4th place.
Bernie seemed to have no answer for Chau's ball-making in their semi-final match as Manny scored three quick 8-0 game wins to eliminate Bernie in 3rd place.
Frost took early control of the final race to five and held a 4-1 lead. Considering he had beaten Chau in seven of their last eight games, Frost might have taken his foot off the gas a little bit and Chau quickly won two games to get back within one at 4-3. Chau's two game winning streak seemed to get Frost's attention as he re-focused on the task at hand and won the next game for the 5-3 win and yet another Arizona State One Pocket Championship for the Freezer.
The Desert Classic Tour will be back in action on June 1st and 2nd on the 7' Diamond tables at Stingers in Phoenix.