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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.

Trzeciak wins seven on the loss side and after forfeit by Kemp, captures official Tri-State title

(l to r): Artur Trzeciak & Chris Kemp

Normally, when a final match in any event is not played, for whatever reason, it’s the undefeated hot seat occupant who claims the official event title. Not so on Sunday, Feb. 10, when, at the end of a long night on the Tri-State Tour, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning, hot seat occupant Chris Kemp (owner of the host venue, Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ) opted out of a final match against Artur Trzeciak, who’d won seven loss-side matches to reach the finals and was willing to play that final match. Kemp, in the role of gracious host, deferred his claim to the title and the trophy went to Trzeciak. The $1,000-added 8-ball event drew 29 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards.
Trzeciak opened what would be his primarily loss-side day with a victory over Dennis Quinn, before being narrowly defeated by tour regular Bob Toomey 5-4. From there, it was off to the loss side races and his seven-match trip back to the finals.
Kemp worked his way through Joe Mazzeo, Fernando Galeas and John Durr to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Tri Chau. Michelle Brotons, in the meantime, on her way to only her second 3rd place finish on the tour (she was runner-up in the Women’s Leisure Division of the 2017 NYC 8-Ball Championships) got by Kevin Serodio and John DeVito (both double hill) to arrive at her own winners’ side semifinal matchup against Jake Kislowski.
Kemp got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Chau. Brotons joined him after sending Kislowski to the loss side 5-2. Kemp claimed the hot seat 6-4 and presumably resumed duties as the room owner, while waiting for Trzeciak to complete his loss-side run.
On the loss side, Trzeciak got by Kimberly Kowzu, Dennis Quinn (a second time) and John DeVito before avenging his loss against Toomey 5-3. This set him up to face Kislowski, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Chau drew Grzegorz Kasica, who’d recently defeated Frank Sieczka 5-3 and shut out Kevin Serodio to reach him.
Kasica and Trzeciak, good friends, advanced to meet each other in the quarterfinals. Kasica downed Chau 6-4, as Trzeciak was busy defeating Kislowski 5-1. Trzeciak eliminated Kasica in those quarterfinals 5-3.
Brotons, already assured of duplicating her best finish on the tour, to date, was looking for more in the semifinals, but fell short 5-2. Kemp and Trzeciak opted out of the final match, with Trzeciak claiming the title and trophy.
Tour representatives thanked Kemp and his Shooters Family Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, February 17) will be an A/B/C/D event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

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.