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DJ Brads sets Q City 9-Ball record, wins 12 straight to claim event title

There’s a reason that you don’t find evidence of pool players opting to forfeit their opening match so they can spend all of their tournament time on the loss side of a double elimination bracket, waiting for a metaphoric ‘sword’ over their heads to descend and cut them out of the competition. Roanoke, VA’s Damien “DJ” Brads, former US Marine, seems to have developed an affinity for the loss-side experience.

Brads has only been competing on the Q City 9-Ball Tour for about a year now, cashing in five events since last March. He’s won two of them (last March and this past weekend, Feb. 18-19). Both times, he lost his opening match and ended up winning the two sets of a double elimination final to claim the title. In March, 2022, at The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA, he won eight on the loss side to finish with 10 straight wins, matching a tour record set by Larry Nevel in 2014. At a $250-added event which drew 39 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC this past weekend, he broke that record by winning 10 on the loss side and the two sets of the final.

Brads battled to double hill in his opening match before Brian Blankenship sent him off to chalk up his record-setting 10-match, loss-side winning streak. In the meantime, the tour event was playing host to the return of JT Ringgold. Though he’d made limited appearances on the tour in the past two years (three cash finishes since 2021, including two in which he finished as runner-up), he was a long way from the days of 2018/2019, when he cashed in a total of 27 events (nine in events other than the Q City 9-Ball Tour) and won five of them. He returned with his ranking unaffected, needing in this most recent event to win 10 games every time he stepped to the table.

The eventual runner-up, Ringgold advanced through the field, as did Justin Knuckles, who’d lost to DJ Brads in the semifinals of Brads’ win last March. Ringgold and Knuckles squared off in one of the winners’ side semifinals this past weekend, while Jack Whitfield and Eddie Williams met in the other one.

Ringgold advanced to the hot seat match with a 10-1 win over Knuckles. Whitfield and Williams battled to double hill before Whitfield prevailed. Ringgold and Whitfield battled to double hill as well, before Ringgold grabbed the hot seat 10-6 (Whitfield racing to 7).

On the loss side, Brads had won five when he eliminated Joshua Shultz, double hill and Michael Yamuni 6-2 to draw Eddie Williams. Knuckles picked up Tracy Hardie, who had her own loss-side story to tell. Racing to 4 throughout, she’d won two on the winners’ side before she ran into JT Ringgold, whom she battled to double hill before he prevailed, sending her west in the bracket toward a quarterfinal matchup against Brads. She’d eliminated Donna Sellman 4-2 and survived a double hill battle against Chris Gehrki to meet Knuckles.

With Knuckles racing to 7, Hardie advanced to the quarterfinals 4-3. Brads downed Williams 6-2 to join her. It was clear that both competitors had a lot at stake in the quarterfinals, which was reflected in the double hill match that ensued and eventually (6-3) sent Brads to the semifinals against Jack Whitfield.

By the same 6-3 score, Brads defeated Whitfield (racing to 7) and advanced to the double elimination finals against Ringgold. There was a lot at stake for both competitors in this pair of matches, too. And like the quarterfinals, it was reflected in the double-hill, first-set match score of 6-9 that forced a second set. The first set seemed to have a way of taking the wind out of Ringgold’s metaphoric sails. Brad won the second set 6-3 to set the tour’s longest-run-to-the-winner’-circle record.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s, as well as title sponsor, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC),, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and TKO Custom Cues. 

This weekend, Feb. 25-26, Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC will play host to the 11th Annual NC State 9-Ball Open. The Q City 9-Ball weekend will feature a $1,000-added Open tournament and a $250-added 3rd Annual Ladies event. 

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