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Sullivan double dips Scalzitti to become 3rd Garden State 9-Ball Amateur champion

Hunter Sullivan and Kevin Scalzitti

Prior to February 21, Hunter Sullivan hadn’t appeared, or at least, hadn’t cashed in a pool tournament since January 18, 2020, when he finished 4th at a stop on the Tri-State Tour. Like a lot of pool players in the tri-state New York City area, Sullivan’s vacation from the tables wasn’t voluntary.

As the pool scene slowly continued its return to the area, Hunter Sullivan moved quickly to re-establish his area credentials. He chalked up an official victory on Mac Jankov’s Mac Attack Tour on February 21, when he concluded the event as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat and split the top two prizes with Brian Vu. On Saturday, April 10, Sullivan came from the loss side of an A-B bracket to double dip Kevin Scalzitti in the finals of the Garden State Pool Tour’s Amateur 9-Ball State Championship and chalked up his second victory in seven weeks. The $200-added event drew 34 entrants to Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ.

Sullivan faced Scalzitti three times; first, in a winners’ side semifinal that he lost 7-4 and then twice in the finals. Scalzitti advanced to the hot seat match to take on the winner of the C-D bracket, Henry Cho, who promptly jumped out to an 8-0 lead, in a race to 10. Scalzitti, though, hunkered down and won nine of the next 10 to force a 19th and deciding game. Cho got a look at the 9-ball first, but it hung in a pocket, allowing Scalzitti to drop it and claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Sullivan began his march back to the finals against Levie Lampaan, eliminating him 8-4. He defeated JC Guzman 7-4 in the quarterfinals and turned to face Cho in the semifinals. Cho jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, but as Scalzitti had done in the hot seat match, Sullivan did in these semifinals, eventually forcing a single deciding match. Cho scratched on the break, which allowed Sullivan to drop a few balls. Cho got the table back and scratched a second time. Sullivan played safe, and when Cho failed to hit the object ball, he had three-fouled out of the match. Sullivan turned for his re-match and by necessity, two matches against Scalzitti in the finals.

A back-and-forth opening set led to double hill and then, a Sullivan win, forcing a second set to break their match tie. It began much the same way the opening set had begun, with back and forth play that got them to a 2-2 tie. Sullivan jumped out ahead at that point, winning the next four to reach the hill first at 6-2. Scalzitti responded with three straight racks, but Sullivan finished it at 7-5 to become the 3rd Amateur 9-Ball State Champion. Sullivan, whose mother had passed recently, dedicated the win to her.

The Garden State Pool Tour thanked Ed Liddawi and his Sandcastle Billiards’ staff for their hospitality and the live stream that was provided throughout the event. The next stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, April 18), will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.