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Fracasso-Verner wins nine on the loss side, double dips Matta to claim NE 9-Ball Series title

Rafael Ortiz Jr, Clyde Matta and Lukas Fracasso-Verner

It’s been a relatively good year for Lukas Fracasso-Verner. He started it off in January by winning a stop on the NE 9-Ball Series and a month later, won the Empire State Championships, which, combined, has so far accounted for just under 80% of his cash at the tables this year. He’s a little over halfway to his 2018 cash earnings, which were the best of his still-young career. He took a step in the right direction on the weekend of August 9-11 by winning nine on the loss side of a NE 9-Ball Series bracket (Stop #24) to double dip hot seat occupant Clyde Matta and win the event title. The event drew 60 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

As the event wound down to its final 12 competitors, Fracasso-Verner had the remaining field’s highest Fargo Rate (648). He was sent to the loss side in a double hill, second-round battle versus Jason Platt, who was sent over to join him by Mike Demarco in the next round. DeMarco would join both of them, when defeated by Clyde Matta, who advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Ran Tamba. Rafael Ortiz, Jr., in the meantime, squared off against Phillip Medeiros in the other one.
In a straight-up race to 6, Matta (with the final 12’s second-highest Fargo Rate; 615) downed Tamba 6-3, as Ortiz, Jr. was busy surviving a double hill straight-up race to 5 against Medeiros. Matta claimed the hot seat with an exclamation point, shutting Ortiz, Jr. out.
Over on the loss side, Fracasso-Verner was edging his way back. With four down and five to go, he navigated his way through two straight double hill matches, against Mike DeMarco and Jim Prather, to draw Tamba. Medeiros picked up Jose Concepcion, who’d also chalked up two straight double hill matches, against Angel Gonzalez and Ed Courtney, to reach him.
Fracasso-Verner won a third double hill match, eliminating Tamba and advancing to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by Concepcion, who’d defeated Medeiros 4-2. Apparently tired of facing elimination in double hill scenarios, Fracasso-Verner gave up only one rack to Concepcion in those quarterfinals.
In a straight-up race to 7, Fracasso-Verner defeated Ortiz, Jr. in the semifinals 7-3 and turned to Matta in a true double elimination final. Fracasso-Verner took the opening set in a straight-up race to 6, 6-2. Matta fought back fiercely in the second race-to-5 set, forcing a deciding 9th game. Fracasso-Verner won it to claim his second 2019 NE 9-Ball Series title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s, as well as sponsors Predator, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop (#25) on the NE 9-Ball Series, scheduled for the weekend of August 24-25, will be a special added event, an All-Around Championship, featuring competition in 8-ball, 10-ball and straight pool, to be hosted by Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

DeMarco and Harnois go undefeated (*) to win NE 9-Ball Series partners’ tournament

l to r: Chris Benoit, Mike Uttley, Mike DeMarco, Jeff Harnois, Scott Reynolds, Lukas Fracasso-Verner

The generally congenial atmosphere of Scotch Doubles competition lends itself to the idea that the journey itself is more significant, and fun, than the destination of winning or losing. In that spirit, at Stop #17 on the New England 9-Ball Series, the last three teams standing at the end of the tournament on Sunday, April 7, apparently expressed a desire to be considered co-champions of the event.
Simple enough. So, Mike Demarco/Jeff Harnois, Chris Benoit/Mike Uttley and Lukas Fracasso-Verner/Scott Reynolds became co-champions of the NE 9-Ball Series Partners Tournament. that drew 60 teams of two to Snookers in Providence, RI.
Now here’s what happened. By the end of a no-doubt long Sunday, when the event came down to its final two matches (possibly three, with a double elimination final), those three teams opted out of further play and split the top three cash prizes. As the only undefeated team at that point, DeMarco and Harnois would technically be granted the official status as winners, with Benoit/Uttley as runners-up and Fracasso-Verner/Reynolds finishing in third.
It was a four-match march to the winners’ side semifinals for DeMarco/Harnois and Benoit/Uttley. Two of DeMarco/Harnois’ matches in that march went double hill. In those winners’ side semifinals, DeMarco/Harnois defeated Tour Director Marc Dionne and Dominick Souza 5-1, as Benoit/Uttley squared off and downed Justin Cunningham and Jordan Stevens 4-2. DeMarco/Harnois claimed the hot seat 4-1 in what proved to be the final match for both partnerships.
On the loss side, Dionne/Souza and Cunningham/Stevens ran right into their second straight loss. Dionne/Souza met up with the team they’d sent to the loss side in the winners’ side quarterfinals – Fracasso-Verner/Reynolds, who’d defeated Adam Blair and Kerry McAuliffe 5-3 and Jason Platt and Ran Tamba 4-1. Cunningham/Stevens faced Daniel Nizeul and Paul Fontaine, who’d recently defeated Ned McConnell and Lida Mullendore, double hill, and Jason D’Angelo and Bill O’Mara 4-1.
Fracasso-Verner/Reynolds wreaked their rematch vengeance on Dionne/Souza, though not before Dionne/Souza took them to the brink of elimination by putting up a double hill fight. Nizeul/Fontaine eliminated Cunningham/Stevens by shutting them out 3-0.
In what proved to be the last match of the night, Fracasso-Verner/Reynolds defeated Nizeul/Fontaine 4-1 in the quarterfinals. It would no doubt have been interesting to see what might have happened had two teams with a combined FargoRate separated by only five points met up in the finals (588 for Fracasso-Verner/Reynolds and 583 for DeMarco/Harnois), but that didn’t happen. Benoit/Utley (510), in the never-happened semifinals, might have had something to say about that potential matchup, but we’ll never know. Any more than we’ll likely ever know why the event format is called “Scotch Doubles,” instead of Lithuanian Doubles or Japanese Doubles. Just one of those things we’ll never know.
Tour director Marc Dionne, rallying from his and his partner Souza’s loss, though no doubt soothed by the cash they split for finishing in the tie for 5th place, thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3- Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Bourgeois Farms and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America.
Dionne also notified potential participants at the next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#18) that the posted date has changed. Scheduled for this Saturday, April 13, the event has been re-scheduled to occur on Saturday, April 20, at the same location, Legends Sports Bar in Auburn, ME. 

McAuliffe comes from loss side to defeat Platt in Amateur Eastern States Championships

Kerry McAuliffe came from the loss side in the finals of the Eastern States Championships on Labor Day weekend and fought through a double hill finals match against hot seat occupant, Jason Platt, to claim the event title. The $1,000-added Amateur event, run concurrently with an Open/Pro event (separate story) drew 98 entrants to Snooker's in Providence, RI.
McAuliffe's loss-side trip began with a 7-4 loss to Jim Prather in a winners' side semifinal, as Platt was at work, sending Adam Blaire west 7-3. Platt then took down Prather in the hot seat match 8-2, unaware that it was his last win of the weekend.
McAuliffe moved over and picked up Miguel Laboy, who'd survived a double hill battle versus Francisco Cabral and defeated Jaime Forcier 7-5. Blaire drew Steve Booth who'd eliminated Jessica Lynn 7-6 and Steve Sutton 7-4.
McAuliffe and Blaire got right back to work, defeating Laboy 7-5 and Booth 7-4. McAuliffe then defeated Blaire in the quarterfinals 7-4, and embarked on a semifinal match versus Prather that went on for over two hours. McAuliffe finally won it 7-4. In the extended-finals, McAuliffe reached eight racks ahead Platt to extend the game to 10 racks, and then, double hill, finished it to claim the event title.
Predator Tour Director Tony Robles thanked his fellow TDs from the New England 9-Ball Series (Marc Dionne) and Ride the 9 Tour (Gloria Magnano), as well as Snooker's owners, Stephen and Regina Goulding and sponsors, Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, and Delta 13 racks.