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Rodriguez goes undefeated to win his first 2019 Sunshine State Pro Am title

Bill Bloom, Shannon Fitch and Ricardo Joel Rodriguez

Looking to better his 2018 earnings, the year in which he tallied a win on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour in March and won the Florida 10-Ball Bar Box Championships in November, Ricardo Joel Rodriguez went undefeated through a field of 64 entrants to win the October 5-6 stop (#8) on the 2019 Sunshine State Pro Am Tour’s $1,500-added event ($1,000 by Brewlands and $500 from Predator Cues) at Brewlands Bar & Billiards in North Lakeland, FL . He stopped a seven-match, loss-side winning streak by Bill Bloom, defeating him in the finals to claim the title. Rodriguez’ $1,000 first-place prize doesn’t put his 2019 earnings over his 2018 threshold, but does put him a step closer with a full two months-plus to go.
In addition to the event itself, the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour held a mystery auction to raise money for junior competitors Kodi Allen and Trenton White (who was the main event’s top-finishing (9th place) junior) to help offset their expenses for an upcoming trip to Cypress in November, when they will represent the USA in the Jr. World Championships. In addition to the money raised by the auction ($600), the tour donated 5% of the player’s auction to the junior players ($215). An additional $215 was raised by a $50 challenge donation from Jen Radkte, bringing the total to $1,030. Each of the junior competitors will receive half of that total. In addition to the support provided by the tour itself, tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza gave a ‘shout out’ to the sponsors of this mystery auction event – Michael Zingale of Zingale’s Billiards, Carl Watt of Park Ave. Billiards, Pedro Botta of Racks Billiards, Larry Walthal of the host Brewlands, The Central Florida USA Pool League, Don and Jennifer Berzinski of the People’s Tournament, Stitch it to Me Embroidery, Cyclop Balls, Predator Products and Jeannette Lee with the Tampa APA.
Congratulations were extended to the Scarberry family as winners of the mystery auction. Some of the items in the bags included a Sneaky Pete rage cue, a signed-by-Jeanette Lee cue and cue ball, free entries to an event at Zingales and on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, gift cards (including Dunkin’), scratch-off lottery tickets, Predator glove and chalk, Cyclops cue ball, Tip tool, T-Shirts, Polos, UFC backpack with ‘extras,’ Tiger Chalk, and if that weren’t enough, two bottles of tequila.
The main event tournament saw Ricardo Joel Rodriguez start out with a ‘shutout’ bang over Michael McGuire and then settle into victories over Nataniel Acosta, George McLanahan and Jeremy Bell to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match versus Jordan Burden. Shannon Fitch, in the meantime, downed Anthony Fisher, Thomas White, Francisco Diaz and Justin McNulty (who’d just sent Bill Bloom to the loss side) to face Robert Batson in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Rodriguez’ trip to the winners’ circle was almost rerouted as he and Burden went double hill before Rodriguez prevailed. Fitch joined him in the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Batson. Rodriguez gave up only a single rack to Fitch and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Bloom to conclude his loss-side run.
It was Batson who picked up Bloom, four matches into his loss-side streak, that had included recent wins over Jeremy Bell, double hill and, Anthony Cruz. Burden drew Justin McNulty, who’d defeated Trenton White 5-3 and Jeff Brown 5-1 to reach him.
Bloom survived a double hill fight against Batson to advance to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by Burden, who’d spoiled any hopes of a Bloom/McNulty rematch by eliminating McNulty 5-1. Bloom and Burden battled to double hill in those quarterfinals, before Bloom advanced.
Bloom downed Shannon Fitch in the subsequent semifinals and got a shot at Rodriguez in the finals. With Bloom racing to 8 and Rodriguez to 9, the two battled to a double hill final game, won by Rodriguez, who claimed the title.
Tour directors Phillips and Garza thanked Larry Walthal of Brewlands for hosting the event as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch it to me Embroidery, Cyclops, Kamui and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 16, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Rack’s Billiards in Sanford, FL. 

Bova and Kennedy split top prizes on J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour

Kyle Bova and Tommy Kennedy

Proving that you can never count wily veterans out, Tommy Kennedy won 10 matches on the loss side during the Saturday, August 3 stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour and earned the right to challenge hot seat occupant Kyle Bova for the event title. The final match never happened, as Kennedy and Bova opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. In another ‘veteran’ note, the event itself offered Vietnam veterans free entry and in the end, awarded two Vietnam veterans – Ronny Park and Joe Scarborough – $50, which they split. The $1,000-added event drew 40 entrants to Brewland’s Billiards in North Lakeland, FL.
With Kennedy at work on the loss side, having been defeated by Felix Luna in the opening round of play, Bova settled in, advancing to a winners’ side semifinal match against Ashley Chewcaskie. Rhyan Hunter and Jeremy Bell squared off in the other one.
Bova downed Chewcaskie 7-1 and in the hot seat match, faced Hunter, who’d survived a double hill match versus Bell and sent him off to an immediate match against Kennedy. Bova shut Hunter out to claim the hot seat in what proved to be his final match.
On the loss side, Bell drew the ‘wily veteran,’ Kennedy, seven matches into his 10-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included victories over one of the Vietnam veterans, Joe Scarborough, 6-4 and Dennis Brown 6-2. Chewcaskie picked up Nathan Rose, who’d recently eliminated the other Vietnam veteran, Ronny Park 6-3 and Steve Wiggam 6-2.
Kennedy and Rose advanced to the quarterfinals; Kennedy, 6-3 over Bell and Rose, 6-2 over Wiggam. It was eight down and two to go for Kennedy, as he chalked up loss-side victory # 9 against Rose. Not, as it turned out, without a fight, though. They battle back and forth to a deciding 11th game, won by Kennedy.
In what was the last match of the event, Kennedy completed his loss-side run with a 6-3 win over Hunter in the semifinals. Kennedy and Bova decided on the split, awarded Bova the official event title, snapped their picture and away they went.
Kennedy thanked the ownership and staff at Brewland’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Simonis Cloth, Mueller Recreational Products and

Hall ‘catches a (loss-side) gear’ and wins Sunshine Pro Am stop with a shutout final

(l to r): Anthony Meglino, Jeremy Bell, Justin Hall & Brewlands’ owner, Larry Walthall

It seemed like such an unlikely scenario, to the point of being almost of unheard of, that we had to double check.
In the brackets detailing the results of Stop #4 on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour on the weekend of May 11-12, there was reportedly a shutout in the final match. Such designations, when they show up on a posted bracket, are often ‘code’ for a circumstance in which the two finalists agree to split the top prizes, and since there is no way to indicate this on a tournament bracket, tour representatives will often write in a shutout score or a double hill score.
Not this time.
According to tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza, Justin Hall ‘caught a gear’ during his first loss-side match and went, like the proverbial ‘hot knife through butter,’ through three loss-side matches and then shut out hot seat occupant, Jeremy Bell to capture the event title. The $1,350-added event drew 64 entrants to Brewlands in North Lakeland (Tampa), FL.
It was also reported in the same posted bracket that the top finishing female in the event was Jeanette Lee and as that, too, seemed a little unlikely, we double-checked, assuming we would discover that another woman who happened to have the same name as the well-known female pool champion had finished in the four-way tie for 13th place. But no, it was THE Jeanette Lee, who was sent to the loss side in the second round of play by Faheem Zia and after a single win on the loss side, ran into Tommy Kennedy, who defeated her in a double hill battle.
Though Hall may have ‘caught the gear’ that propelled him into the finals when he arrived on the loss side, he was showing evidence of a solid performance early. He won his first two matches, against Marvin Limas and Will Smith (not the actor) 7-1. Stephanie Mitchell gave him a run for his money, but fell 7-5. Hall then defeated Robert Batson 7-2 to draw Bell for the first time in a winners’ side semifinal. He arrived at the winners’ side semifinal with a 75.67% game-winning percentage (28-9); a touch better than winning three out of every four games he’d played.
Bell, in the meantime, arrived at that winners’ side semifinal with a 66% winning percentage (28-14). At the other end of the bracket, Anthony Meglino was making his way to the hot seat and arrived at his winners’ side semifinal with a 65% winning percentage (28-15). He got by Angel Alvardo and Bobby Garza, both 7-4 before running into Tommy Kennedy, who battled  him to double hill, before giving way. A 7-1 victory over Faheem Zia put Meglino in the other winners’ side semifinal against Shannon Fitch.
Bell sent Hall to the loss side 7-3, as Meglino and Fitch locked up in a double hill fight that eventually put Meglino in the hot seat match against Bell. Meglino ended up on the wrong side of this third double hill match and headed for the semifinals.
On the loss side, Fitch picked up Serrano Serafin, who’d defeated Robert Batson, double hill, and Mike Xiarhos, Sr. 5-1 to reach him. Xiarhos had previously eliminated Kennedy in a double hill match. Hall drew Faheem Zia, who’d survived a double hill fight against Nathan Rose and eliminated Che Mrvos 5-3.
Fitch shut Serafin out and advanced to the quarterfinals. Hall, in the meantime, was digging himself a hole with Zia on the hill at 4-0. Hall stopped digging and ‘caught the gear’ at that point. Over the next 27 games, Hall would give up only three racks. He chalked up five against Zia and moved into the quarterfinals against Fitch.
Hall gave up a single rack to Fitch in those quarterfinals and then downed Meglino 5-2 in the semifinals. In the interim between meeting Bell for the first time and his eventual victory over him in the finals, Hall’s winning percentage had dropped by about five points to 70% (55-23), but it was more than enough to claim the event title.
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked the owner, Larry Walthall and his Brewlands staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Cyclops Balls, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, USA Pool League and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for June 22-23, will be hosted by Strokers in Palm Harbor, FL.

Buckley wins seven on the loss side to take Pro division title on Sunshine State Pro Am tour

Jason Sheerman, Donny Branson & Benji Buckley

Adams goes undefeated in Amateur event
Stop # 9 on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour featured separate tournaments held on the weekend of November 18-19. A $1,000-added Open 10-Ball event drew 57 entrants, and saw Benji Buckley win seven on the loss side to meet and defeat hot seat occupant Donny Branson in the finals. On the Amateur side, in a $500-added, 9-ball event, James Adams went undefeated through a field of 43. Both events were hosted by Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.
Buckley’s trip to the finals was moving along on the winners’ side of the bracket, commencing with a victory over the Amateur event winner, James Adams, and then, through James Sandaler, before coming up against Rodney Morris. Morris sent Buckley to the loss side 7-3, before following him over on the heels of a 6-4 win by Jason Sheerman in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Sheerman moved on to a winners’ side semifinal against Jerry Sullivan, while Branson faced Murbarak Sulaiman.
Sheerman and Branson advanced to the hot seat match without giving up a single rack to either Sullivan or Sulaiman. Branson then defeated Sheerman 7-3 and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Buckley to complete his loss-side campaign.
Buckley began his loss-side work battling in one of the matches that determined the eight-way tie for 17th place. He got by Travis Croft, Mark Wathen, Nathan Rose, and Donny Mills to draw Sullivan. Sulaiman drew Anthony Meglino, who’d been defeated in the second winners’ side round by Sheerman (double hill) and set out on his own seven-match, loss-side winning streak that included wins over Joseph Remos, Jason Richko, Bill Bloom, Tommy Kennedy, Jessica Human and Rodney Morris, before drawing Sulaiman.
Buckley advanced to the quarterfinals 7-3 over Sullivan, as Sulaiman ended Meglino’s loss-side streak the way his winners’ side streak had been ended by Sheerman, in a double hill match. Buckley then defeated Sulaiman 7-2 in the quarterfinals, and got his shot at Branson in the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Sheerman in the semifinals.
Buckley and Branson battled back and forth through the finals. Buckley edged ahead at the end to claim the event title 11-9.
Adams goes undefeated in Amateur event
James Adams faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of the Amateur event. He advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Moe Fattah, as Estel Walton faced Ricardo Rodriguez in the other one. Adams downed Fattah 7-5, and in the hot seat match, faced Walton, who’d sent Rodriguez west 7-4. Adams claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Walton and waited on what turned out to be the return of Adams.
On the loss side, Rodriguez and Fattah got right back to winning. Rodriguez defeated Sam Kantar 5-1, as Fattah advanced to meet him in the quarterfinals with a double hill win over Jeremy Bell.
Rodriguez defeated Fattah in the quarterfinals 5-2, and then shut out Walton in the semifinals. Adams put an end to Rodriguez’ short, loss-side winning streak 9-7 in the finals to claim the event title.
In addition to the prize money awarded to the finishers in each tournament, the Amateur event awarded $20 each to the top Junior finisher – Kodi Allen – and top female finisher – Kelly Cavanaugh. The Open event awarded $40 to the top female finisher, Jessica Human.
Tour director Janene Phillips offered special thanks to Rocky McElroy, owner of Capone’s, and his staff, as well as McDermott Cues for donating a cue for an event raffle. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for December 16-17, will be the tour’s Season Finale, which will be hosted by Park Avenue Billiards in Orange Park, FL.