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Turning Stone Classic XXXV Underway

The Turning Stone Classic XXXV is underway at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, NY.

Jayson Shaw is back and looking to win a record 8th Turning Stone Classic title. He will have to get by Shane Van Boening, who is looking to match Shaw’s current record of seven Turning Stone titles. Other top players competing in this event include Earl Strickland, Mika Immonen, Jeremy Sossei, Donny Mills, Bucky Souvanthong, Danny Hewitt, Frankie Hernandez and Matt Krah.

Fan’s who can’t make it to Turning Stone can watch selected matches online as part of Upstate Al’s Free streaming coverage, and can watch online brackets and live scoring courtesy of AzBilliards and Digital Pool.

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Two tour veterans, each seeking first Joss NE 9-Ball title, battle it out in finals of season finale

Pete Bowman, Mike Zuglan, Snookers manager Paul Troxell and Ray McNamara

Oldest player to win on tour,’ Bob Darigis, wins Second Chance event

He’d be the first to tell you that it’d been a long time coming. But it did show up. This past weekend (June 4-5), after 20 years of attempts, Ray McNamara (generally known on the tour as ‘Ray Mac’) claimed his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour title, using the last regular season event of the tour’s 2021-2022 season to do so. In an effort that began (as far as we know) with a 7th place finish at a stop in Bristol, CT in October of 2002, McNamara went on to compete regularly on the Joss and other tours, and more recently, won the 364-entrant Amateur Senior event of the Super Billiards Expo this past April. The $1,500-added, 15th stop on the 2021-2022 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour drew 53 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

In addition to crowning a first-time champion, the event played host to another event champion, whom tour director Mike Zuglan described as “the oldest person (he could) think of who won any of (their) events.”  A $500-added Second Chance tournament that drew 14 entrants was won by 71-year-old Bob Darigis.

“Ray Mac and Bob were both around in the days when me, Larry Lisciotti and Joe Tucker were still playing around,” said Zuglan.

Ray Mac’s trip to the winners’ circle had to go through another Joss NE 9-Ball veteran, also looking for his first (recorded with us) win on the tour, Pete Bowman. They met twice; hot seat match and finals. Mac had gotten by Nick Coppola, Lida Mullendore, Clyde Matta and Ryan Cullen to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Bob Madenjian, who, it should be noted, finished in the four-way tie for 5th place behind McNamara in the SBE’s Amateur Senior tournament in April and would end up in the same position at this event. Peter Bowman sent Aro Majumber and Brandon Coley to the loss side before encountering the later-to-be winner of the Second Chance event, Bob Darigis, who battled him tooth and nail to double hill before he sent him over, as well. Bowman then downed Darren Jevons to pick up Kerry McAuliffe in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mac sent Madenjian west 9-2, while Bowman was defeating McAuliffe 9-3. McNamara claimed the hot seat 9-5, which was, as far as we know, his first.

On the loss side, McAuliffe picked up Steve Mack, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Madenjian and jumped onto the loss-side wagon with victories over Rich Kravetz 7-5 and Dan Sharlow 7-3. Madenjian picked up Francisco Salas, who’d also lost to Madenjian on the winners’ side (3rd round) and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals and include the double-hill elimination of Jeremy Sossei, followed by wins over Darren Jevons 7-2 and Frankie Hernandez 7-3.

Mack did his part to secure a rematch versus Madenjian with a 7-4 win over McAuliffe, but Salas took Madenjian out 7-5 and then eliminated Mack 7-3 in the quarterfinals. 

Bowman closed out Salas’ run with a 7-3 win in the semifinals to earn his second shot at Ray Mac, waiting for him in the hot seat. Though Salas would chalk up three more racks against Ray Mac in the finals than he had in the hot seat, Ray Mac prevailed 9-5 to claim his first Joss Northeast 9-Ball title, closing the ‘long time coming’ door behind him.

The final standings in tour points were headed up by Bucky Souvanthong, who appeared in nine of the season’s 15 events, winning five of them. Ron Casanzio finished in 2nd place, based on 10 appearances, with a single win. Jeremy Sossei was in 3rd place, having won three of his five appearances. Len Gianfrate placed fourth, just ahead of Aaron Greenwood. Rounding out the top 10 on the 2021-2022 tour were Jamie Garrett, Dan Sharlow, Frank Hernandez, Mhet Vergara and Bruce Carroll. 

Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked Regina and Steve Goulding and their Snookers’ staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Joss Cues, Turning Stone Resort Casino, Simonis Cloth, Poolonthenet.com, AZBilliards, Aramith, Billiards Press and World Class Cue Care. The next event, the tour’s season finale, scheduled for Sept. 1-4, will be the $25,000-added Turning Stone Classic XXXV 9-Ball Open, hosted by the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY

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Sim downs Hohmann in second set of NBL 8-Ball double elimination final to claim event title

Del Sim

Originally from Scotland, the man they call The Highlander – Del Sim – has chalked up two breakout performances in the past two weeks. On the weekend of April 9-10, he finished as runner-up to Jeremy Sossei at Stop #13 on the 2021/2022 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour and then, this past weekend (April 16-17), he went undefeated to win the National Billiard League’s (NBL) 8-Ball Championships, hosted by the league’s flagship venue, Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ. Combined, those two finishes have earned Sim more than all of his (reported to us) payout finishes over the past six years. This past weekend was the only victory (reported to us) since he won a stop on the Tri-State Tour in 2016.

“Well, well, well. . . I finally snapped off a title,” he wrote on the NBL’s Facebook page. “Doesn’t happen very often.”

“I feel reborn,” he wrote later, noting that the victory meant a lot to him for reasons that went beyond the tables. In addition to 8-ball being his favorite game among the many available, the win brought back cherished memories of his father, who would “beam with pride” when he would win in league play as a younger player.

“(It’s been) 8 years since he passed, almost to the day,” he added, “and I feel he would have enjoyed this one the most, with lots of drama and high-level play by all.”

Arguably, the highest drama of the event came in the second set of the double elimination final. Having been defeated by Thorsten Hohmann 8-2 in the opening set, Sim stepped to the table, on the hill at 5-3, with all of his striped balls on the table. Six of Hohmann’s solids were ‘running interference’ against any hopes that Sim was harboring of running to the 8-ball and finishing things right then and there.

“I knew this could be my last opportunity,” he would say later, as he provided commentary to a three-minute video clip of the event’s final rack. 

He stepped to the table and ran the rack. Game, set and match.

“Del played a great second set against me,” commented Hohmann, “and made a heck of an out to win.”

That ‘out’ entailed a planned route for the cue ball, which came off striking Sim’s last striped ball. The target ball dropped into a corner pocket, while the cue ball embarked on a journey that ran above, through and below four of the six solid balls still on the table, coming to rest in a position that allowed Sim to line up and pocket the winning 8-ball in the only pocket that it could have been done.

Del Sim and Thorsten Hohmann

The field of 32 for this NBL 8-Ball Championship, which, due to last-minute cancellations,  became 29 by the time it got underway, was drawn from 13 out of 16 scheduled qualifying events that took place around the country over the past few months. It is a formula that was part of the plan from the beginning, according to league founder Ed Liddawi and employed to hold the league’s 10-Ball Championships this past December.

“The three slots that were available,” explained Liddawi, “were filled by a runner-up and two, third-place finishers from the largest-field qualifiers.”

“We ended up with 16 amateurs and 13 Pros,” he added.

The NBL was to have been launched at about the time the country began its ongoing battle against the pandemic. Its start was delayed and as it has slowly begun its re-launch, it has been designed with far fewer qualifiers and main events than originally planned; a circumstance that Liddawi is planning to rectify in 2023.

Everything at this 8-Ball Championship, according to Liddawi, went according to plan, with (as featured in December’s 10-Ball championships) live music, a comedian (Frank Del Pizzo, with, reportedly, some pool humor in his repertoire) and a mixture of amateurs and pros facing off against each other at various points throughout the event. Two amateurs battled for the hot seat, as, on the loss side, Thorsten Hohmann, was finishing up what would be an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that started with a 6-1 loss to amateur competitor Joe Dupuis and eventually, took him to the finals.

Sim’s path to the winners’ circle went through Kenny Tran, Jason Lynch and John Morra to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Shane Albaugh. Al Lapena, in the meantime, got by Jerry Dunne, Lukas Fracasso-Verner (double hill), and Frankie Hernandez, to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against BJ Ussery.

Lapena and Ussery locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Ussery to the loss side. Lapena was joined in the hot seat match by Sim, who’d sent Albaugh over 8-5. Sim claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Lapena and watched, no doubt with some level of anxiety, as Hohmann worked through the final stages of his loss-side run.

On the loss side, Albaugh drew Hohmann, who’d recently chalked up loss-side wins #4 & #5 against Frankie Hernandez 6-3 and Dennis Spears in a shutout. Hohmann got by Albaugh 6-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Morra, who’d survived a double hill match versus Ussery.

Hohmann and Morra (predictably) locked up in a double hill match that did eventually send Hohmann to the semifinals, where he eliminated Lapena 6-2. The Pro vs. Amateur battle was joined. The recent Hall of Fame inductee versus a competitor looking for his first (recorded) win in six years.

Things didn’t look too good for the amateur in the opening set of the true double elimination final. The Hall of Famer took that set 8-2. Sim ‘caught a gear’ in the second set, getting out in front in the shortened race-to-6 and on the hill, two racks ahead at 5-3. In the final rack, which took a little less than four minutes and was later to be commented on by Sim himself, Sim stepped to the table and ran the rack, taking it, as always recommended, one step at a time. He finished with a commendable display of skill and proverbial nerves of steel that earned him the event title. 

That display is on display as an archived match at the NBL Web site. It is recommended that you watch the live stream of it and switch to the NBL Facebook page to watch Sim run the final rack and comment on his thinking, from start to finish.

The NBL will begin its next season in December, with a schedule of to-be-determined dates at 64 sanctioned locations. The plan, as it was originally intended, will feature four Pro/Am main events, fed by a 2-stage series of eight qualifying tournaments. Further information can be found on the league’s Web site at https://www.nblusa.com/ and on the National Billiard League’s FB page. In addition to its immediate success, defined by accomplishing stated objectives with no apparent serious ‘glitches’ in the logistics of it all, this latest 8-Ball Championship is a model for Liddawi’s larger plan for the NBL.

“It was,” he said, “a ‘proof of concept’ event to show that this business model works.” 

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Sim To Face Lapena For NBL 8-Ball Hot-Seat

Del Sim

Day two is complete at the National Billiard League’s 8-Ball Championships, and the hot-seat is going to come down to Del Sim vs Al Lapena. 

Sim is looking to build on the success he had at last weekend’s Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop and no one has been able to slow him down in this event. He has wins over Kenny Tran, Jason Lynch, John Morra and Shane Albaugh, while Lapena has wins over Jerry Dunne, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Frankie Hernandez and BJ Ussery. 

Action is fierce on the one-loss side today with six players battling it out for their share of the $28,000 prize fund available at this event. Fracasso-Verner will face John Morra on Saturday, with the winner taking on Ussery, and Thorsten Hohmann plays Dennis Spears with the winner playing Albaugh. 

Matches will get back underway Saturday at noon (EST).

Fans can follow all of the action with online brackets at Digitalpool.com. They are also providing free online streaming of every table on their Facebook page. 

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Lampaan Does It Again

Levie Lampaan with Ed Liddawi

Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ hosted it’s first of two NBL 8-Ball Championships amateur qualifiers for the 2022 season yesterday. Another full field of the maximum allowed 32 local and not so local amateurs came out to earn one of the 16 amateur slots in the April 14th Main Event to compete alongside 16 American-based professionals.

Players from NJ, NY, PA, & RI rounded out the field with skillsets ranging from an average B class player up to open speed shortstops. Several upsets occurred as B players beat A class players and even the shortstops got stopped short of victory. The NBL qualifier format of shorter races with alternate breaks serves as an equalizer offering more opportunities for the underdogs to prevail. The $150 entry true double-elimination event is limited to just 32 amateurs where the top 25% win their entries back plus Calcutta or added money prizes. The winner advances on to the main event with a nice sized prize purse paying out the top 1/3 of the field where professionals enter for $1,000.00 each as in traditional pro events of the glory days to weed out stragglers.

Last December’s 10-Ball Event consisted of just 8 amateurs and 8 professionals with a $25,000.00 prize purse. The 2022 NBL 8-Ball Championships this coming April 14th – 16th will be twice the size with a 32 player field comprised of 50% amateur qualifier winners from around the nation and 50% professionals residing in the United States. An additional bonus and incentive in this coming event is the national amateur prize purse being awarded to the top performing amateur outside the top 1/3 main payouts.

Levie Lampaan of Bayonne, NJ won 1 of the 2 qualifiers last year for the inaugural 2021 NBL 10-Ball event but came up short early on in the event as he fell victim to Frankie Hernandez who wound up taking 3rd place in the event and then Jeremy Sossei who played a perfect set with a 1000 TPA shutting Lampaan out of the set and the competition completely. Lampaan was working full-time then and admittedly unprepared for that competition. That may have been the spark that lit the fire for his determination to win this qualifier for another chance to shine on the big stage. “I’ll be ready this time around!” says Levie Lampaan. “I’m not working as much as I was at that time and have more time to dedicate on the table.”

The determination was evident this time around after Lampaan squeaked out his first win, hill-hill in the first round race to 4 over Timmy Clark. Lampaan then grinded his way into the finals by capturing the hot seat with another tough hill-hill win over fellow Pinoy countryman and local NJ legend, AL Lapena. Yes, he’s still around but not the same player he once was in his younger years. The two Filipinos battled it out for the hot seat in a nail biter alternate break race to 6. Lapena then made quick work of worthy competitor Daniel Feliciano 4-0 in their match on the 1-loss side of the charts for another chance at Lampaan. In the 1st set of the finals Lapena got his revenge on Lampaan with a final score of 6-4 forcing a second set for the 1st place finish, top cash prize and a spot at the main event. The valiant effort, was to no avail as Lampaan capitalized on every mistake made by an older and fatigued Lapena and captured the victory with a final score of 4-2 in the second and final, final set. Look for him online this coming April and enjoy all the great top amateur battles in our video archives on NBLUSA.com on our “WATCH” page.

Video Archives: https://www.nblusa.com/watch/

Brackets powered by Digital Pool: https://digitalpool.com/tournament-builder/2022-nbl-8-ball-championships-qualifier/bracket

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Morra wins six on the loss side, double dips Deuel in NBL Inaugural Championship

Ec Liddawi and John Morra

Arguably the most remarkable thing about the National Billiards League’s (NBL) Inaugural 10-Ball Championships, held this past weekend (Dec. 18-19) at Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ, was that they happened at all. Anyone who either knows or has had occasion to work with Ed Liddawi, owner of Sandcastle Billiards and founder of the league, wouldn’t, though, call it a surprise. Liddawi and a list of people he recruited to bring about the NBL’s inaugural league season, as well as that season’s finale, would have told you that the pandemic wasn’t going to stand in his way, nor the closure of rooms originally destined to host the league’s qualifying tournaments throughout the year, nor the cost in players. Liddawi’s vision wasn’t casual and it survived it all, albeit at a smaller scale than originally envisioned.

“Due to the pandemic, it (became) an eighth of the original plan in size and money,” he said. 

The original plan for 64 qualifying events (32 locations, hosting qualifiers twice throughout the year) turned into eight events, yielding eight qualified competitors going head-to-head with eight paying Pros. Those 16 were the field at the league’s first championship final. The plan had lost committed venues to closure (some permanent), tour directors to a variety of issues and players, right and left, to everything from the obvious COVID consequences to issues related to COVID, which grounded players in place, wherever they happened to be and kept them from hitting the road to attend the planned qualifiers. 

“We (Sandcastle Billiard) had two qualifiers,” noted Liddawi. “Wisconsin hosted two in two locations. Texas was there, Rhode Island had one that was won by a Massachusetts guy, and one of the players who’d won mine got sick from COVID and was replaced by Reggie Cutler from Pennsylvania. A California winner was replaced by Richard Ng, who had placed 3rd and 5th in the two held at Sandcastle Billiards.”

“Winners (of the qualifiers) got a full ride,” he added. “Entry fee (to the final event), airfare and hotel.”

Replacing players proved to be among the most difficult obstacles to overcome. There were players who’d qualified and were unable to attend, and pros, as well, who committed, but were unable to attend.

“Earl Strickland, Mike Dechaine and Jennifer Baretta were scheduled to compete,” Liddawi said, “but in the end, they were unable to attend and had to be replaced.”

“There were a lot of fires that had to be put out,” he added, “but overall, I’m pleased.”

The Inaugural 10-Ball Championships proceeded with the planned-and-promised fanfare that included entertainment (vocalists, dancers and NBL cheerleaders) before and after each day’s action, an opening ceremony that concluded with the National Anthem, referees, a 30-second shot clock at every table and uniforms.

“Everything is designed,” said Liddawi, “so that the popularity of the game is elevated.”

The 10-Ball Championships did yield some surprises. Most prominent among them was Canadian John Morra’s loss in the opening round of play, followed by his winning six on the loss side and then, double dipping Corey Deuel in the finals to claim the NBL’s first championship title. Another involved a winners’ side quarterfinal match between Jayson Shaw and New England-based veteran competitor, Joe Dupuis. Fargo Rate gave Dupuis a 3.3% chance of defeating Shaw in a race to 11. Not only did Dupuis defy those odds, but he did so by being seven games out in front and on the hill before Shaw came up with a few racks to make it look closer than it really was.

“I’m not going to say I was shocked,” said Dupuis of his win over Shaw. “I broke and ran my first three racks and didn’t make any mistakes against Jayson. He ended up winning four racks in a row near the end and I just played phenomenally against him.”

“I was fortunate enough where my break was working, maybe the best, ever. It was working just that good. I was making balls on the break, running out, the table worked with me and I just kept the pressure on.”

“He commended me for what I did,” he added, “and later on, he told me the pockets were easy and that when pockets are easy, he doesn’t concentrate as much. He made a few unforced errors, where he expected things to happen and they didn’t.”

John Morra, in the meantime, lost his opening match to Tri-State New York area’s Frankie Hernandez 7-5. Hernandez advanced to down Levie Lampaan 11-1 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, sent Joe Dupuis (fresh off of his victory over Shaw) to the loss side 11-5 in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Corey Deuel opened with a 7-5 win over Shaun Wilkie, downed Jerry Dunne 11-3 and then, sent Justin Bergman to the loss side 11-5 in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Deuel and Hernandez battled for the hot seat. In a match worthy of its place in the 10-Ball Championship archives (for which players will earn royalties based on pay-per-view showings of the recorded matches) Deuel and Hernandez battled back and forth, with Deuel edging out in front to claim the hot seat 11-8.

On the loss side, Dupuis ran into the eventual winner, John Morra, who, after his loss to Hernandez had downed Jonathan Giles 7-5, Ernesto Bayaua 7-4 and Oscar Dominguez 7-1. Bergman drew Shaw, who’d followed his loss to Dupuis with victories over Duncan Kaufman 7-5 and Jeremy Sossei 7-4.

A quarterfinal rematch between Shaw and Dupuis loomed on the near horizon and Shaw did his part to make that happen with a 7-4 win over Bergman. By the same score, Morra spoiled Dupuis’ bid for that rematch.

Morra and Shaw battled to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, with Morra prevailing in the end to face Hernandez in the semifinals. A second double hill battle ensued and again, Morra prevailed for a necessary double shot at Deuel, waiting for him in the hot seat.

Morra and Deuel came within a game of double hill in the opening set of the true double elimination final, but Morra pulled out in front to win it 11-9. In the race-to-7 second set, Morra claimed the inaugural NBL 10-Ball Championship title with a 7-3 win over Deuel.

Liddawi’s list of folks to thank was prodigious, beginning with Pat Fleming of Accu-Stats for his support, along with Zach Goldsmith of Onsite Pool Network (OSPN Felt-Cam; cameras on tables) and Isaac Wooten of DigitalPool.com. He also thanked his tour director, Jose Burgos of the Mezz Pro Am Tour and his assistant, Elvis Rodriguez, along with members of his Sandcastle Billiards staff Brian Cosme, Tom Bedard and Paul Lieb. He extended an additional ‘thank you’ to the NBL’s shuttle driver, Ben S. The event also featured a number of advertisers who appeared on the live stream; Uncle Jay’s Custom Boats, Perfume Ultra, New York Life Insurance, Dragon Billiards and Tap League (Jersey Shore Shops).

At present, the NBL is looking ahead to a single, planned 8-Ball event sometime in June, 2022 and a second Championship next December, as Liddawi continues his quest for further venues at which to hold event qualifiers and other main events designed into the original plans.

“Not many people can see a vision coming to fruition,” Liddawi said, “but now, hopefully, people will be more willing or at least less reluctant or skeptical to participate.”

“Naysayers,” he added, “may now say nothing.”

For further information on the NBL and to keep abreast of its plans, visit the league’s website at nblusa.com or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NationalBilliardsLeague

Dupuis Over Shaw at NBL Championship

Joey Dupuis

Day one is complete at the Inaugural National Billiards League’s 10-Ball Championship, and the man of the day is definitely Joey Dupuis.

After an opening round 7-4 win over Richard Ng, Dupuis shocked the fans both at Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ and watching online, when he took down early tournament favorite Jayson Shaw in the second round 11-7. Dupuis will face Frankie Hernandez to kick off Sunday play. Hernandez had wins over John Morra and Levie Lampaan on Saturday.

The other half of the winner’s bracket will see a battle between Justin Bergman and Corey Deuel to see who moves on to the hot-seat match.

On the one loss side, Shaw will take on Jeremy Sossei and Morra will face Oscar Dominguez.

Fans can follow all of the action on Sunday with online brackets and live scoring at Digitalpool.com, as well as free streaming on the National Billiards League’s Facebook page. Fans watching the online stream will be treated to expect commentary by none other than the Duchess of Doom, Allison Fisher.

Souvanthong Continues Joss Tour Dominance With Ocean State Win

Steve Goulding (owner), Frankie Hernandez, Bucky Souvanthong, Mike Zuglan and Ray McNamara manager

To say that Bucky Souvanthong has dominated the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour this year would be an understatement. Souvanthong has two tour stop wins for the season, and two second place finishes. He has competed in the four out of five tour stops on the 2021/2022 season so far, and competed in the finals of all four. Over the weekend of November 20th – 21st, Souvanthong added to his list of Joss Tour titles as he earned his name in the rafters of Snooker’s Sports Billiards, Bar & Grill in Providence, RI at the 33rd Ocean State 9-Ball Championship. 

Souvanthong kicked off his run through the field of 91 players with a first round bye and then a 9-5 win over Todd Ottilige. A 9-3 win over Dominick Souza was then followed up with a 9-8 match with Ray McNamara for Souvanthong to earn his place in Sunday’s matches. 

With a field this large, it was eight players that came back on the winners side on Sunday. Souvanthong started the day with a 9-5 win over Frankie Hernandez, Kerry McAuliffe won a one sided match over Trystan Speedwell 9-3, Bob Madenjian and Samoth Sam both won hill-hill matches over Alex Bausch and Paul Dryden respectively. 

The final four on the winners side saw Madenjian over Sam and Souvanthong over McAuliffe by the same 9-4 score. The hot-seat match was another 9-4 affair, with Souvanthong over Madenjian.

On the left side of the board, Bausch put together three straight match wins as he eliminated McNamara, Derrick Burnham and McAuliffe. In his next match, Bausch ran into Hernandez, who had a three match winning streak of his own. One of these players had to go home, and it was Bausch as Hernandez won the match 7-3. Hernandez then stretched his winning streak to five with a win over Madenjian in the semi-final match. 

The five match winning streak of Hernandez’s was of no use in the finals, as Souvanthong ran away with a 9-3 victory in the first set. It was Souvanthong’s third win on the Joss tour in just two months. 

The second chance tournament on Sunday was a contrast from the main event as Francisco Cabral dropped an early match to Ben Savoie and then built a seven match winning streak that included back to back wins over Pete Genovese in the finals to win the event.

The next stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour is the Turning Stone Classic XXXIV at the Turning Stone Casino on January 6th – 9th, 2022.

Vergara over Vann Corteza For First Career Joss Tour Win

Lee Vann Corteza, Raxx Owner Holden Chin and Mhet Vergara

Mhet Vergara went through a field of 42 players undefeated, including back to back wins over Filipino powerhouse Lee Vann Corteza, to notch his first career Joss NE 9-Ball Tour win at Raxx Pool Room & Grill in West Hempstead, NY on November 6th – 7th.

Vergara was on a roll on Saturday with wins over Nick Brucato 9-1, Dave Callaghan 9-2, Muhammad Ali 9-0 and Rick Motilal 9-1. Vergara was joined by Vann Corteza, Jonas Souto and Ryan Cullen. While Saturday play had its share of lopsided matches, things tightened up on Sunday. In Vergara’s 9-5 win over Cullen on Sunday, he lost more racks in one match than he lost all day on Saturday. Meanwhile, Vann Corteza defeated Souto 9-6 to set up a Vergara / Vann Corteza hot seat match. That hot seat match was even closer, with Vergara scoring a 9-7 win over Vann Corteza. 

On the one loss side, Souto made quick work of Gregg McAndrews 7-1 and Frankie Hernandez made even quicker work of Cullen 7-0. The matchup between Souto and Hernandez went to hill-hill before Souto pocketed the case 9-ball. In the semi-final match though, Souto was on the wrong side of another hill-hill match, with Vann Corteza advancing to a rematch with Vergara in the finals. 

With all of the close matches leading up to the finals, surprisingly it was a pretty lopsided final match with Vergara scoring a 9-3 win for his first career Joss Tour win. 

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Aaron Greenwood with an undefeated run through the field for the win. Greenwood’s run didn’t come without its challenges, as he scored three straight hill-hill wins over Mike Callaghan and then Ray Lee twice in the hot-seat and final matches.

2021 Ocean State 9-Ball – Frankie Hernandez vs Steve Mack