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Kosmin stops strong finals challenge by Kasica to go undefeated on Tri-State

Grzegorz Kasica, Adam Kosmin and Mike Strassberg

You have to wonder what a hot seat occupant is thinking when his finals opponent chalks up six racks at the outset of the final match. You also have to wonder what that challenger is thinking as the hot seat occupant proceeds to win nine of the next 10 games to win the match and the event. 
"Pool's a funny sort of game," would be an appropriate thought for both of them.
The hot seat occupant under consideration during the March 19 stop on the Tri-State Tour was Adam Kosmin. His challenger in both the hot seat match and finals was Grzegorz Kasica. Kosmin came back from his six-game deficit in the finals to defeat Kasica and win the $1,000-added event that drew 15 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
Following wins over Max Watanabe (double hill), and Luis Jimenez 7- 4, Kosmin faced Sean Emmitt in a winners' side semifinal. Kasica squared off against Frankie Scanlon. Kosmin downed Emmitt 7-3, while Kasica defeated Scanlon 6-4. Kosmin claimed his first of two against Kasica 9-5 and waited for his hair-raising return.
On the loss side, Emmitt picked up Kevin Scalzitti, who'd gotten by Luis Jimenez (by forfeit) and defeated Max Watanabe 7-5 to reach him. Scanlon drew Mike Strassberg, who'd been defeated by Kasica in a winners' side quarterfinal, and won four straight to face him a second time. Strassberg had defeated Dennis Quinn 6-2, and Frank Sieczka, double hill to draw Scanlon.
Emmitt downed Scalzitti 7-4, and in the quarterfinals, faced Strassberg, who'd eliminated Scanlon 6-4. Strassberg survived a double hill fight versus Emmitt for a second shot against Kasica. Kasica, though, working on a major momentum shift, ended Strassberg's loss-side streak with a 6-2 semifinal win.
The opening paragraph scenario ensued, with Kasica chalking up the first six racks of what would be a 16-rack final. Kosmin answered Kasica's six with five of his own to pull within one at 6-5. Kasica chalked up his seventh, and what proved to be his final rack, before Kosmin came back with four more to win it.
Tour representatives thanked the management and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, April 3, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Crespo goes undefeated to take Tri-State stop

It was, according to our records here at AZBilliards, a month shy of a year ago, that Eddie Crespo won his first Tri-State Tour stop at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. On Halloween night, at the same location, Crespo chalked up his second, going undefeated to capture the $1,000-added event title that drew 17 entrants.
Victories over Dave Ascolese, and John Wu set Crespo up for a winners' side semifinal match against Harry Guevarez, as Bob Toomey faced Frankie Scanlon. Crespo and Toomey survived double hill matches to face each other in the hot seat match, won, in a third hot seat match, by Crespo.
Guevarez moved over to face Luis Jimenez, who'd defeated Tony Ignomirello 7-4 and Ralph Ramos, Sr. 7-3. Scanlon drew Andrew Butler, who'd eliminated Ascolese 7-1 and Ralph Ramos, Jr. 8-4.
Guevarez came out on the winning end of his second straight double hill match, defeating Jimenez. Butler, in the meantime, defeated Scanlon 6-3. Butler took the quarterfinal match versus Guevarez 7-4, but then had his loss-side run stopped by Toomey, double hill, in the semifinals.
With a handicap, Toomey started the re-match finals ahead by three, a lead that Crespo quickly eliminated with four racks. Toomey responded with one of his own to tie the match at 4-4. Crespo responded with three, Toomey won a second game, and Crespo closed it out at 8-5 to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next Tri-State Tour event, scheduled for November 8, will be hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.

Tony Liang wins the 2014-2015 Tri-State Tour Invitational

Overall Grand Champion Tony Liang

The eighteenth annual Tri-State Tour Invitational Tournament took place June 27 & 28, 2015, at Steinway Café and  Billiards in Astoria, NY. The weekend was a huge success for the tour with 14 A & A+ Players, 30 B & B+ Players, 32 C & C+ Players and 16 D & D+ Players who earned their way in to compete in their respective classes and play for their chance to be named the Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion. Steinway Café and Billiards hosted the event for the first time and the players could not be happier about the venue. Steinway Café and Billiards owner Manny Stamatakis and the staff including Anna and George were very professional, helpful and gracious. Manny donated the room and all the table time. Their generosity and support to the players and the event were exemplary. The staff and everyone at the room assured the events success. Steinway Café and Billiards is an excellent venue for the event with professionally maintained tables, a clean a fresh atmosphere and some of the best food in NYC.  
As each day began, organizers John Leyman, Todd Fleitman & Rick Shellhouse congratulated the players on reaching the top of their classes for the season and handed out awards to the top players of the year in each class. The Tri-State Tour added $4000 in cash prizes and the sponsors Ozone Billiards, Fury Cues, Kamui Tips, Sterling Gaming, Cue-Sight, Capelle’s Pool Books, Billiards Digest, Pool & Billiards, Professor-Q-Ball’s News, Blue Book Publications, Steinway Café and Billiards, Amsterdam Billiards, and Romer’s Trophies went out of their way to provide the event with excellent equipment and prizes. The sponsors as the Tri-State has always maintained are owed a debt a gratitude for their dedication to the game and the players, their efforts and generosity are what always make the event so special and such a great success and without their continued support of the sport and the players this event could not happen. 
Awards were presented to the top 3 players in each class, the Most Improved Player of the Year, and Sportsman of the Year. The most improved player went to Chumreon Sutcharitakul. He has grown into an extremely good and competent player over the past year dominating events and raising from a lower B level player to a strong A level player. Each year the tour awards one player the “Sportsperson of the Year” award. It is awarded to someone the tour believes exemplifies what a player should be and how they should act and this year’s award went to Mike Strassberg. Mike is always there to lend a helping hand, has nothing but positive things to say about the other players and never complains. His great attitude is what other players should strive to emulate. 
The top players of the year in the their respective classes were Chris Derewonski taking down the Open Class, Miguel Laboy winning the A+/A class, Arturo Reyes B+ player, Chumreon Sutcharitakul B player, Ramon Feliciano C+ player, Mike Strassberg returning again this yeat as the C player and Mike Davie D+/D class player of the year and returning again as the Ladies Player of the Year was Ada Lio. For a full list of winners for all the classes and events, please see the web site
The action in the tournament got going around eleven on Saturday morning, June 27 with the B+ and B class players along with the D+/D players kicking off the event.  The B+ class saw two players dominate the event and meet each other in the hot seat match, B+ player of the year Arturo Reyes and Alberto Estevez. Both players played very strong all day defeating their opponents handily but Arturo could not be stopped, beating Alberto 7-3 in both the hot seat match and the finals. The B Class event for the second year in a row was dominated by Yomaylin Feliz-Forman even sending the most improved player Chumreon Suctharitakul to the one loss side beating him 7-1 all while being 6 months pregnant. Dave Shlemperis who lost his second match of the day to Eddie Medina 7-5 battled back on the one loss side of the chart winning 5 matches in a row against such strong players as Meshak Daniel, Jamiyl Adams, Chumreon Suctharitakul, Eddie Medina this time 7-6 in Dave’s favor and Luis Jimenez to get to the finals. In the finals Yomaylin took an early lead but Dave battled back and went ahead and then won the set 9-7.
The D+/D class saw Jim Gutierrez and Jessica Herpel battle their way to the hot seat match where Jim played well and did everything right and won the set 7-1. Irene Kim, Jim’s significant other after losing to Jessica Herpel fought back on the one loss side to meet Jessica again in the semifinal match. But the rolls by this time of the event were favoring Jessica and she won the match 7-5. In the finals the games at first were traded back and forth with Jim getting on the hill first but the rolls kept going in Jessica’s favor and she battled on to force an extended race final and finished the set with a ball in hand and a 7/9 combo for the win.
On Sunday, play resumed at 11 AM with the A+/A players and the C+ class and C class arriving to do battle. The A+/A Class saw one player in the finals undefeated while his opponent had lost his first match of the day. This was an almost exact replay of how the event went from the year before except instead of being in the hot seat undefeated Juan Guzman had to battle back from a first round loss to get to the finals. This year Tony Liang who won on the hill 7-6 in the first round then two 7-1 matches and then another 7-6 match found himself in the finals where he went on to beat last years A class champion Juan Guzman 7-3.
In the C+ class Chris DeCaprio sent Ambi Estevez to the one loss side in the third round with a score of 6-2 and then beat Frankie Scanlon 6-3 to get into the hot seat. Ambi Estevez who fell one match short of the finals the year before would not be deterred this year and won against Dennis Kennedy, Mike Esposito and Frankie Scanlon to get to the finals. In a match that could have went either way Ambi prevailed and won the match 8-5. The C class was totally taken over by Robert Jew who bested all opponents including his buddy and the player who he came to the event with Eddie Perez in the finals. Eddie last year’s sportsman of the year played very good all day but lost to Raul Calderon in the third round and then beat Raul in the semifinals 6-4.
This left our 6 class champions to do battle for the Grand Champion title. Robert Jew continued his dominating ways and beat Ambi Estevez 6-3 to win the C+/C playoff and then Jessica Herpel in the C/D playoff 6-0. In the B+/B class playoff Dave Shlemperis executed well very well and bested Arturo Reyes in the match 7-3. But in the A/B playoffs Dave just could not get going right away and fell behind. He caught some wind and started to battle back but by that time it was just too late and Tony Liang went on to win the match 7-3. With the overall finals of the event set, the 2 most dominate players of the event matched up to do battle. And both players played well and traded games with Tony Liang pulling ahead in the middle of the match, never to look back. He won the set 9-6 to become that 2014-2015 Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion.

Morris goes undefeated to take Tri-State stop in Clifton, NJ

Ramon Feliciano, Vincent Morris and Frankie Scanlon

Vincent Morris returned to the Tri-State Tour winners' circle on Sunday, February 15, with an undefeated run through a field of 23. Having won two stops on the tour, four years ago (February and March, 2012), it was his first win since. The $750-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
Following a double hill win in the opening round over Kevin Scalzitti, Morris went on to defeat Jamiyl Adams 7-5 and then meet Bryan Jeziorski in a winners' side semifinal. Frankie Scanlon, in the meantime, squared off against Ada Lio. Morris downed Jeziorski 7-4, as Scanlon was sending Lio to the losers' bracket 7-5. Morris took the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Scanlon and waited on what turned out to be the return of Ramon Feliciano.
Feliciano had been moved to the loss side by Lio 7-5 in the opening round of play. He won five straight, including 6-4 wins over Tony Ignomirello and Mike Strassberg to face Lio a second time. Jeziorski drew Jamiyl Adams, who'd survived a double hill fight against Luis Jimenez and defeated ChristIan Smith 7-4 to reach him. Feliciano successfully wreaked his vengeance on Lio 7-5, and in the quarterfinals, met Jeziorski, who'd defeated Adams, double hill.
In those quarterfinals, the first money round, Feliciano survived a double hill matchup against Jeziorski to face Scanlon in the semifinals. He defeated Scanlon 6-3 and got a shot at Morris, in the hot seat waiting for him.
It was a back and forth, double hill final. After trading racks in the opening two games, Morris moved ahead by two. Feliciano chalked up two to tie. Two more for Morris were followed by two more for Feliciano and the match was knotted at five. Feliciano reached the hill first, winning the 11th rack, but Morris tied it up for the third time and won the deciding game to claim the title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Barton, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for February 22, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Kaminow goes undefeated to take Tri-State stop

Kevin Coyle, Steve Kaminow and Jan Mierzwa

Steve Kaminow got by Kevin Coyle twice, once by mutual decision, to capture his first Tri-State Tour title. The Saturday, February 7 stop on the tour was a 1,000-added event that drew 25 entrants to Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.
Kaminow drew Jan Mierzwa in a winners' side semifinal as Coyle and Dave Fitzpatrick squared off in the other. Kaminow sent Mierzwa to the losers' bracket 7-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Coyle, who'd sent Fitzpatrick over 6-3. Kaminow took possession of his first Tri-State hot seat with a 7-5 win and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Mierzwa drew Gary Murgia, who'd defeated Eric Hill 7-4 and Michael Hertz 7-3 to reach him. Fitzpatrick picked up Bob Toomey, who'd gotten by Frankie Scanlon 6-4 and Chris Calabrese 6-5. It was Mierzwa and Fitzpatrick who met up in the quarterfinals, once Mierzwa had eliminated Murgia 7-4 and Fitzpatrick had defeated Toomey 6-3.
Mierzwa defeated Fitzpatrick 7-5, before having his short, loss-side streak ended by Coyle in the semifinals 7-4. At this juncture, Kaminow and Coyle opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. As the undefeated hot seat occupant, Kaminow claimed the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of Rockaway Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics.

Pastras chalks up his first win on the Tri-State Tour

Teddy LaPadula, Dionysios Pastras and Dennis Kennedy

Dionysius Pastras, a new name on the Tri-State Tour, worked his way through a 'minefield' of veteran tour players, including Teddy Lapadula twice, to capture his first Tri-State (or any other) title. He went undefeated through a field of 19, on-hand for the $750-added event, hosted by Clifton Billiards, in Clifton, NJ.

Pastras' effort was almost derailed early, when he faced Brett Fenstermacher in the opening round. He survived a double hill battle in that opening round, and went on to defeat Ed Crespo, and Dave Ascolese, putting him into a winners' side semifinal against Gary Murgia. LaPadula, in the meantime, squared off against Dennis Kennedy. LaPadula defeated Kennedy, double hill, while Pastras got by Murgia 7-4. Pastras moved into his first hot seat with a 7-4 win over LaPadula.
On the loss side, Murgia drew Brian Cap, who'd benefited from a forfeit (by Ascolese) and defeated Ed Crespo, double hill. Kennedy got Allison Honeymar, who'd been awarded a loss-side bye and then defeated Frankie Scanlon 6-3. Murgia defeated Cap 7-2, as Kennedy got by Honeymar 6-5.
Kennedy took the quarterfinal match 7-3 over Murgia, but ran into something of a buzz saw. LaPadula shut him out in the subsequent semifinals (he'd been responsible for sending Kennedy to the loss side), and got his second crack at the 'new kid on the block,' Pastras.
LaPadula established his credentials with two straight racks at the outset of the finals. He and Pastras then traded racks to a 3-1, LaPadula lead, before Pastras evened things up with two racks of his own. It went back forth to a 5-5 tie, before Pastras pulled away with another two in a row to win it 7-5 and claim his first Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Bartron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, January 31 at the Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.