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Lower-bracket Jacobs gets by upper-bracket Sutton to win Stop #15 on NE 9-Ball Series

Steve Sutton, Jeremiah Jacobs and Chad Bazinet

The theory of split brackets at the start of tournaments, as regularly practiced by the New England 9-Ball Series, is that blending all players into a single bracket from the start leads to higher-rated players eliminating lower-rated players early in the process and creating an all-higher-rated-players series of matches near the end of a tournament. With split brackets, so the theory goes, the early process allows lower-rated players to face opponents closer to their skill level for most of the tournament, and only near the end, do the best of the lower-bracket field have to face higher-rated opponents. The ‘pudding’ that’s the proof that this theory does actually create a more equitable experience for all occurs when a lower-rated player, having advanced to the lower bracket hot seat, ends up facing the higher-rated player in the event’s hot seat match and finals and defeats that higher-rated player twice. 

As Jeremiah Jacobs (504), working at first in the lower bracket, did to Steve Sutton (594) from the upper bracket on the NE 9-Ball Series Stop #15, held this past Saturday, July 31. Jacobs went undefeated in the $750-added event that drew 21 entrants to America Pool & Billiards in Portland, ME.

Jacobs opened his undefeated campaign against an opponent separated by almost 200 Fargo-Rate points. At the start of their opening match, the differential gave Steve Miner (310) five beads on the wire in a race to 9 and he almost chalked up the four more he needed to win. Jacobs, though, tallied the nine he needed and advanced. In a straight-up race to 5, Jacobs then downed Shane Ryan 5-3 and in a 6-4 race versus Jozy Vienneau, won 6-1 to draw San Im in one of the winners’ side semifinals.

After an opening round bye, Steve Sutton faced three straight-up, race-to-6 opponents, winning the first two, against Steve Smith 6-2 and Jerry Guitard 6-3, to draw Cody Porter in the other winners’ side semifinals. 

Two double hill matches decided the opponents in the hot seat match would be. Sutton downed Porter 6-5, while Jacobs sent Im to the loss side 5-4. With Sutton racing to 7, Jacobs claimed the hot seat 5-5.

On the loss side, Im picked up Jozy Vienneau, who’d followed his loss to Jacobs with victories over Stephanie Rickett 5-3 and Eriq Manson 4-4 (Manson racing to 6). Porter drew Chad Bazinet, who, at 661, was the highest-rated player in the tournament. Bazinet (racing to 8) got off to a shockingly slow start, shut out by Soel Quinones Vargas (racing to 4) in the opening round. He then embarked on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He had recently eliminated Jerry Guitard 7-2 and then, in turn-about-is-fair-play fashion gave up only a single rack in his rematch versus Vargas.

Im shut Viennea out for advancement to the first money round; the quarterfinals. Bazinet joined him by winning his 6th loss-side match, over Porter 6-2. Bazinet was racing to 9 in the quarterfinals that followed against Im, who was racing to 4. Im got two of the four he needed, but Bazinet got the nine he needed and prevailed in what proved to be the end of his loss-side winning streak.

Bazinet and Sutton, both looking for a shot against Jacobs, waiting in the hot seat for one of them, battled to double hill in the semifinals. Sutton prevailed for his second and potentially necessary third chance against Jacobs in the finals. 

Jacobs made a second set unnecessary. And made a statement in the process. He shut Sutton out to claim the event title.

Tournament director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at American Pool & Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accesories. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (Stop #16), scheduled for August 7-8, will be the $2,000-added Summer Sizzler, to be hosted by Snookers in Providence, RI.