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Kain goes undefeated to win first regional tour event on Garden State Pool Tour

Jason Halpin, Michael Kain and Robert Rodriguez

Mike Kain took full advantage of his pool handicap during a six-match, undefeated trip to the winners’ circle at a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour this past weekend (Sat., Oct. 8). He ended up playing against only one opponent in a straight-up race to 5, Pete Carrano, whom he defeated 5-2 in the opening round. Rated as a ‘5,’ Kain went on to defeat a ‘6,’ (two of them), a ‘7,’ and two ‘8’s, including a double hill battle against Jason Halpin in the finals. The $400-added event drew 36 entrants to Diamond Jim’s Billiards in Nanuet, NY.

Though the handicap worked in his favor (as handicaps are essentially meant to do), Kain did end up defeating higher-ranked opponents by relatively substantial margins. Following his victory over Carrano, he downed ‘6’-rated Chris Farrell 5-1, ‘7’-rated Emmanuel Areizaga 5-5 to meet up with his first ‘8’ handicap opponent – Roger Hanos – in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Robert Rodriguez, in the meantime, who didn’t face a higher handicap until he reached his winners’ side quarterfinal, downed Shonda Evens 6-3, Marc Antonetti 6-2 and Bud Robideau 5-6 (Robideau racing to 7) to face Halpin in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kain advanced to the hot seat match with a 5-5 win over Hanos (racing to 8) and was met by Rodriguez, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Halpin. Playing with a single ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 6, Kain claimed the hot seat 5-2 over Rodriguez.

On the loss side, Halpin drew Areizaga, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Kain with victories over David Moore 7-3 and Ken Kerner 5-1. Hanos drew a rematch versus Kevin Scalzitti, who was working on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that Hanos had initiated in the third winners’ side round. He’d recently eliminated Donald Henriquez 8-2 and Bud Robideau 7-3 to earn the rematch.

In a straight-up race to 7, Scalzitti successfully navigated his way to redemption over Hanos, though not before Hanos had forced a 13th deciding game. Halpin downed Areizaga 7-2 to join Scalzitti in the quarterfinals.

Halpin stopped Scalzitti’s loss-side run 7-4 and then, finished Rodriguez’ day 8-2. Fittingly, Kain’s last match went double hill against Halpin. With four ‘beads on the wire’ to start in a race to 9, Kain chalked up the five he needed to claim his first (recorded) regional tour win.

Tour director Dave Fitzpatrick thanked Stephine Werner and her Diamond Jim’s Billiards and Pub staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Billiards Engineering, Kamui, JFlowers Cues and Cases, IntheBx & Off the Rail. With only two events left in the tour season, the Garden State Pool Tour will hold its annual Halloween Classic this coming weekend (Oct. 15-16), to be hosted by Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

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Sullivan and Torraca split top prizes on Predator Tri-State Tour

Hunter Sullivan and Nick Torraca

After five attempts on the Predator Tri-State Tour, dating back two years, when his first cash payout was recorded with us here at AZBilliards, Hunter Sullivan has broken through to claim an event title on the tour, albeit one with an * for being in the hot seat and opting out of a final match. Sullivan did record two regional tour victories last year, one on the Mac Attack Tour and the other at the Garden State Pool Tour’s Amateur Championships. Sullivan and Nick Torraca had played once already in the Saturday, Sept. 24 event, letting their battle for the hot seat stand as the defining match of the tournament. The $500-added, ABCD 10-ball event drew 33 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, where Sullivan began his quest for his first title two years ago.

Sullivan’s path went through Frank Rodriguez 6-2, Mikhail Kim 6-3 and then faced tour newcomer, Jason Halpin, in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Halpin put up a double hill fight, but it was Sullivan who advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Don Henriquez. Torraca, in the meantime, got by Vijay Patel (5-1), KC Clayton (5-3) and Dave Fitzpatrick (5-3) to face Brook Villa in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Sullivan defeated Henriquez 6-3 and was joined in the hot seat match by Torraca, who’d sent Villa to the loss side 6-4. Sullivan claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Torraca in what would prove to be his last match.

 Henriquez and Villa arrived on the loss side of the bracket and walked right into two double hill struggles. Only one of them made it out of that first loss-side match. Henriquez picked up Mikhail Kim, who’d defeated Jason Halpin and Anthony Nasta, both 6-3, to reach him. Villa drew Gustavo Ardon, who’d recently eliminated Dave Fitzpatrick 5-1 and Tom Crane 7-4.

It was Henriquez who made it out alive (so to speak), barely, downing Kim. Villa ended up on the wrong side of his double hill battle and it was Ardon who advanced to the quarterfinals.

Henriquez defeated Ardon in those quarterfinals 5-3 and in what proved to be the last match of the night, Torraca defeated Henriquez by the same score in the semifinals. The agreement was reached, the cash was split and as undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, Hunter had his first Predator Tri-State Tour title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor  Predator Cues, Poison Cues, Arcos 2 Balls, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Hustlin’ USA Clothing, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Cappelle Publications, Pool & Billiards and Billiards Digest. The Predator Tri-State tour will return to Shooter’s Family Billiards on Saturday, Nov. 5, for a 9-ball event. 

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Halpin double-dips Vicente to win Mezz ABCD 9-Ball event

Joe Mazzeo, Jason Halpin, Jose Vicente and Robert Sheldon

Jason Halpin, Jose Vicente and Robert Sheldon have become the latest in a growing list of relative (pool) newcomers to the NYC Tri-State area to either chalk up event victories, bring home what appears to be their first cash winnings, and make their premier entrance into the AZBilliards database of players. In Halpin’s case, it was all three. Vicente and Sheldon recorded the latter two accomplishments. The three competitors finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd at an ABCD 9-Ball stop on the Mezz ProAm Tour on Saturday, August 27, which was hosted by South Jersey Billiards in Somerdale, NJ.

Vicente got by Joe Mazzeo 7-3 and Al Tonelli 7-4 to draw Bill Smith, Jr. in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Robert Sheldon downed Lacie Knecht 7-5, Dan Stickle 7-4 and Carlo Favretto to pick up in Halpin in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Vicente got into the hot seat match with a double hill win over Smith and was joined by Sheldon who sent the eventual winner, Halpin, to the loss side 7-5. Vicente took command of the hot seat match and won it ahead by five, 7-2.

On the loss side, Halpin worked his way back to a rematch against Sheldon, downing Joe Mazzeo in the quarterfinals on the way. Halpin then won three straight double-hill matches, to include his successful rematch against Sheldon in the semifinals.

Halpin took the opening set 6-5 and decided that it had gone so well that he’d do it again. And did, completing a five-match winning streak that earned him the ABCD 9-Ball event title.

Tour director Jose Burgos thanked all of the players who came out to play, South Jersey Billiards’ owner Tony Viesti, Bob Milane and the venue staff, as well as title sponsor Mezz Cues Miki, Mezz USA, Zan Tips, Turtle Rack, Billiard Life Clothing, Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey, Bludworth Ball Cleaner and Pool Table 911.

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