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Ortiz stops loss-side challenge by Ky to go undefeated on New England 9-Ball Series

(l to r): Ryan Cullen, Kajone Ky and Raymond Ortiz

As C-player Raymond Ortiz sat in the hot seat, awaiting his opponent in the finals of the eighth stop on the New England 9-Ball Series Tour on Saturday, December 2, Kajone Ky was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that would make him the challenger. On his way, Ky encountered increasingly difficult (higher-ranked) opponents commencing with a fellow C+ player, and moving on through two B-players and two A-players to reach Ortiz. And so it was, that the C-player and the C+ player, having swept aside the presumably stronger competition, faced each other in the finals. Ortiz completed his undefeated run and won it to claim the title of the $500-added event that drew 31 entrants to World Championship Billiards in Manchester, CT.
As always, the players were divided at the start into upper and lower brackets, separating the higher-ranked and lower-ranked opponents at the beginning. As the event whittled down to its final 12 competitors, the two brackets merged, showing a broad range of handicaps; two A-players, one B+, five Bs, two C+ (Ky and Josh Berube), one C (Ortiz), and one D-player. Both finalists, Ortiz and Ky, came out of the lower bracket. Ky was sent to the loss side 6-4 by Frank Porto, who advanced to an overall winners’ side semifinal against Ortiz. Ryan Cullen (A) faced Sal Modolo (B) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Ortiz downed Porto 5-1 (Porto racing to 7), as Cullen squeaked by Modolo, double hill (7-4; Modolo racing to 5). With Cullen racing to 9, Ortiz claimed the hot seat 5-5 and waited in it for what turned out to be the return of Ky.
Ky opened his loss-side campaign against fellow C+ competitor, Josh Berube, downing him 5-2, and moving on to defeat Dan Novak 5-3 (Novak racing to 6). This set Ky up for a re-match against Porto. Modolo ran into the youngster, Lukas Fracasso-Verner (An A player, playing in his Connecticut backyard, so to speak), who’d defeated Jose Soto and Ian McKelvey, both 7-2.
Fracasso-Verner flexed his muscles a bit and shut Modolo out. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Ky, who’d eliminated Porto 5-1.
With Fracasso-Verner racing to eight, Ky took the quarterfinal match 5-4, and then downed his second straight A player (Cullen) by the same score 5-4. He was not so fortunate in the finals.
In possession of the higher handicap (C+), Ky had to win an extra game against Ortiz; a 6-5 race. They fought to a double hill, 4-5 tie. Ortiz won the tying, and with the handicap, winning rack to claim the event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff of World Championship Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. Stop #9 on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for Sunday, December 10, will be a partners’ event, hosted by Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

Kaulenas stops loss-side run by Gormley to win J. Pechauer Ride the 9 stop

Joe Kaulenas went undefeated on the J. Pechauer Ride the 9 Tour stop on Sunday, December 11, and stopped a seven-match, loss-side winning streak by Josh Gormley to do it.  The $1,000-added event drew 63 entrants to Rhode Island Billiards Bar & Bistro in Providence, RI. 

From among the winners’  side final four, Kaulenas defeated Paul Torri 3-3 (Torri needing to reach four games), as his eventual hot seat opponent, Roarke Dickson, was sending Ian McKelvey to the loss side 4-1. Kaulenas got into the hot seat on the heels of a second 3-3 victory, with his opponent (Dickson) needing to reach four games.  

Over on the loss-side, Kaulenas’ eventual opponent in the finals, Gormley, was in the midst of his seven-match winning streak. Following his third and fourth win, against Tim Perry and Cleiton Rocha, he squared off against the man who’d sent him to the loss side, McKelvey. Torri drew Dave Gavrish, who, like Gormley, had been sent west by McKelvey, and then defeated Mike Minichello and Rob Piersa

Every match from that point through the single set of the finals turned into a double hill battle. Gormley wreaked his vengeance on McKelvey that way, and in the quarterfinals, faced Gavrish, who’d eliminated Torri that way, as well. Gormley took his last hurdle into the finals with his third straight, double hill win. 

Gormley engaged in his fourth double hill battle in the opening set of the finals. His seven-match winning streak ended there, with Kaulenas’ third straight, 3-3 victory to capture the event title. 

Tour director Gloria Magnano thanked Rhode Island Billiards Bar & Bistro owner, Anthony Costanzo, for his hospitality and money-added to the prize pool. Cleiton Rocha was the raffle winner of a J. Pechauer Cue, valued at $500.