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Isaac and Petrosino split top two prizes at season opener of On the Ball Ladies Tour

Terry Petrosino, Ricki Lee Casper, Kelly Isaac and Kim Sanders

Kelly Isaac has been on a bit of hiatus from the pool tables lately. But she appears to be back now. She recorded only one cash payout with us here at AZBilliards in 2022 and prior to that hadn’t reported one since 2019. In 2018, she recorded her best earnings year, winning among other events, the Scotty Townsend Memorial Ladies 9-Ball, the 27th 4 Bears 8-Ball (Women’s Division) and finished as runner-up in that year’s Music City Classic to Canada’s Brittany Bryant. This past weekend, (Jan. 28-29), she went undefeated to the hot seat at the 2023 season opener of the On the Ball (OTB) Ladies Tour, and though Terry Petrosino won the first set of a true double elimination final against her, they agreed to split the top two cash prizes, leaving Isaac as the event’s official winner. The $2,000-added event drew 32 entrants to Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX.

Isaac’s undefeated path to the hot seat went through Kim Pierce 7-2, Michelle Cortez 7-4 and Gail Roles 7-1 before arriving at a winners’ side semifinal against Kim Sanders. Terry Petrosino, in the meantime, looking for her first (recorded) win on the tour since 2019 (when it was the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour) got by Sara Bork and Tina Baublis, both 7-5, and defeated tour director, Teresa Garland 7-4 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Natalie Rocha.

Isaac and Sanders battled to double hill before Isaac prevailed, advancing to the hot seat match. Petrosino and Rocha almost battled to double hill, until Petrosino edged out in front to win 7-5 and join Isaac in the hot seat match. Isaac claimed it 7-4 and waited on Petrosino’s return from the semifinals.

On the loss side, Sanders picked up tour veteran Jennifer Kraber, who’d lost her opening round match to Ricki Lee Casper and mounted a four-match, loss-side streak that had included the elimination of Angie Payne 7-5 and Michelle Cortez 7-2. Rocha drew Casper, who’d joined Kraber on the loss side after her next match, falling to Sanders. Casper downed Kathy Rinehard and Ming Ng, both 7-5, to reach Rocha.

Casper did what she could to facilitate a rematch against Kraber by eliminating Rocha 7-1 and advancing to the quarterfinals. Kraber, though she battled to double hill against Sanders, didn’t get there.

Sanders then stopped Casper’s single-match, loss-side run in those quarterfinals 7-4. Petrosino defeated Sanders 7-2 in the semifinals.

In the opening set of a true double elimination final, Isaac and Petrosino battled to double hill before Petrosino prevailed, giving each of them a single loss. The second set didn’t happen. They split the top two cash prizes and closed the season opener of OTB’s 2023 season. Lisa Bailey and Kim Pierce took the top two cash prizes in the Best of the Rest event. The next stop on the OTB Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 25-26, will be hosted by Legends Billiards in League City, TX.

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Gomez & Malm Take Music City

Jeffrey De Luna and Roberto Gomez

The legendary JOB Billiards Club in Madison, TN – a suburb of Nashville – presented the $7,000 added 35th Annual Music City Open this past week. Featuring multiple minis as well as the Open and Ladies Nine Ball events, there was action galore!

Joining JOB’s owner Ricky Gamble in special sponsorship was PoolActionTV.com as well as Aramith, Simonis and Diamond Billiard Products.

Looking to shake off the rust was BCA Hall of Famer Kim Davenport and Shane Wolford looking to defend his title. Notables spotted around the room were Jesus Atencio, Josh Roberts, Robb Saez, Shannon Murphy, Johnathan (“Hennessee”) Pinegar, Chuck Raulston, Jason Foutch, April Larson, Tina Malm, Liz Lovely, Kelly Isaac, Tam Trinh, Janeen Lee and WPBA veteran Suzie Quall. Filipinos Jeffrey de Luna and Bogies (Houston, TX) House Pro Roberto Gomez as well as Denmark’s Mickey Krause and Indonesia’s Alvin Angito also joined the fray.

All events were played on seven foot Diamonds and play kicked off with on Wednesday evening with a single elimination race to seven nine ball mini tournament. The field was whittled down to Jesus Atencio & Mickey Krause – they split the pot. There was another mini tournament on Saturday night – these two split the pot again!

Players were back on Thursday night for the players auction, meeting & draw. A full field of 128 players entered this race to eleven winner breaks tournament. 

Roberto Gomez began his march to the hot seat match after defeating Matt Moore (11-4), Jaime Mitchell (11-3), Rich McDonald (11-1), Johnathan (“Hennessee”) Pinegar (11-9), Jeffrey de Luna (11-9) and Billy Young (11-10).

Mason Koch also advanced to the hot seat match after wins over Ryan Williams (11-4), TJ Hammond (11-1), Jason Bacon (11-5), Jerry Clayman (11-10), Mickey Krause (11-9) and Trey Frank (11-5).

The hot seat match was close but it was Gomez who locked up his seat in the finals 11-7. Mason would have to await an opponent on the one loss side.

Jeffrey de Luna edged out Mickey Krause (11-10) and then faced Koch to see who would advance to the finals. Jeff defeated Mason 11-4 and moved on to the finals. Mason finished in third place.

Since this was true double elimination, de Luna would have to defeat Gomez twice to win the tournament. However, it was not to be as Roberto won 11-9 to add the Music City Open title to his resume! Congratulations, Roberto! Good event, Jeff!

April Larson and Tina Malm

The Ladies Nine Ball division began on Friday night with 49 players playing in this race to seven winner breaks tournament. 

Tina Malm advanced to the hot seat with wins over Casey Baldridge (7-4), Elizabeth Shilliam (7-2), Amanda Wilder (7-0), the always tough April Larson (7-5) and Janeen Lee (7-1).

Joining Tina in the hot seat match was Liz Lovely. She defeated Allison Hardwick (7-1), Chelsea Hoyt (7-2), Beverly Cook 7-1, Melissa Young (7-4) and Heather Middleton (7-3).

The hot seat match was close but Malm closed it out with a 7-5 victory over Lovely. Liz headed west to await an opponent.

After losing a nailbiter to Heather Middleton in the fourth round 7-6, Kelly Isaac then edged out Amy Theriault (7-6) and beat Melissa Young (7-2) and Janeen Lee (7-0) until she was eliminated by April Larson (7-2). Kelly finished in fourth place.

Larson then defeated Lovely (7-4) to move into the finals. Liz finished in third place.

Again, since this was true double elimination, April had to defeat Tina twice to take the title. April won the first set 7-4 but Tina took the decider and the title with a 7- 4 win! Congratulations, Tina! Great effort, April!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Ricky Gamble and his staff for their exemplary efforts in taking care of all the players and fans.  

We’d also like to thank Tournament Director Jason Hill for doing an excellent job in running all the different events.

In addition, kudos to Larry Schwartz, Mary Kenniston, Josh Roberts and Ray Hansen for their excellent commentary.

PoolActionTV.com would also like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Durbin Custom Cues, Savage Billiards, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and the Fort Worth Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

And on to the Derby City Classic! Be sure to stop by our Aramith Action Room! The dates are January 20th-28th! Hope to see you there!

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Wise Guy Snaps Off Senior One Pocket

Ronnie Wiseman, Ray Hansen, Bogies Owner Cody Parish and Nick Varner

Thirty one players came from all over the country to Bogies Billiards & Sports Bar in Houston, TX for the 7th Annual Senior One Pocket Championship.

My favorite tournament of the year, I couldn’t wait to see my longtime friends. “Tall Jeff” Sparks stopped by on the first day as well as Keith Thompson, the 1970 Johnston City All-Around champ. Texas legend, Jerry Prado, was supposed to play in the tournament but had car trouble – he showed up for the last two days to see everyone anyway. 

My friends Linda Martin, Samm Rubin, LoreeJon Ogonowski-Brown, Julie Mason-Comitini, Chris Fields, Kelly Isaac were there as well as Phil Windham, Carl Honey, Big Tyme’s Jim Henry, Todd Comitini, Bogie’s House Pro Roberto Gomez and Alex Calderon. The Taiwan contingent including Cheng Yu-hsuan (“Kevin Cheng”) and Chang Jung-lin was also in town making a pit stop before heading to Atlantic City for the US Open Pool Championship. There was even a little ten ball action between Roberto and Alex and a couple of the Taiwanese players after the finals on Sunday night. 

Presented by PoolActionTV, Bogies Billiards, Aramith, Simonis, Diamond Billiard Products and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, owner Cody Parish & Manager John Rizzo welcomed players such as BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer Nick Varner, James Christopher (“The Sniper”), Moises Pouncey (“Gabby”), Scott Kitto, Ronnie Wiseman (“Wise Guy”), “Jumpin’ Sammy Jones, Erman Bullard, “Tyler Bob” Valliere, Joey Aguzin (“Joey A”) and Robert Newkirk (“Newk”) to the fray.

Among several first time players were Perfect Pocketz’ Mark Gregory (“Mags”) and “Colonel Bille” Miller as well as the returning northern California contingent – Bob Beaulieu, Ed Neves, Lee Wallick and Al Markasky. Warren Ruth, Tad Sowa, Larry Landsman, Mark Dimmick, Jim McCary, Ronn Rutan, Gary Urinowski, Kent Berthelot, Bob Hayes, Wayne Catledge, Mike Hoyt, James Christensen and Louis Vickio rounded out the field.

Dealing with health issues and sorely missed were former champs Billy Incardona, Jerry Matchin, John Henderson and James Davis Sr. It just wasn’t the same without you guys! Sure hope to see you next year!

The $3,000 added double elimination event had a $200 entry fee with races to 4/3 and alternate breaks. The player auction was pretty healthy with Wiseman going as the first blind bid and Varner the second. The auction was followed by the players meeting, the draw and one round of play. 

Shaking off the rust and slicing through the top part of the bracket was Perfect Pocketz’ Mark Gregory. “Mags” is better known today for his beautiful restorations of the classic Brunswick Centennial and Anniversary tables as well as perhaps the best table mechanic on the planet. Mark sent both Al Markasky and Ronn Rutan west with identical 4-1 scores and skunked Warren Ruth 4-0. 

Plowing through the other part of the bracket was Iowa native Scott Kitto – also known as “911.” Along with Mark Wilson and Jeff Carter, the trio dominated pool in the Midwest in the eighties. Scott blitzed both Gary Urinoski and Larry Landsman 4-zip and “Joey A” 4-2 before running into Gregory. Gregory made short work of Kitto – score 4-1. Scott headed for the scenic route while Mark locked up his seat in the hot seat match.

On a collision course in the upper part of the bottom bracket was the “Kentucky Colonel,” Nick Varner and Ronnie Wiseman. Player of the Year in 1980, 1982, 1989, 1994 and 1999, Nick is one of the best all-around players of all time with over one hundred career titles beginning with ACUI Collegiate National Championships (representing Purdue University) in 1969 and 1970, as well as back to back US Open Nine Ball titles. Nick has also won world titles in nine ball, eight ball, straight pool, one pocket and bank pool and has represented Team USA eight times at the Mosconi Cup – four times as the team captain. 

Originally from Windsor, ON, Ronnie Wiseman made his debut at this event. Although Ronnie played in tournaments here and there – even winning a few including the 2005 Reno Open, the “Wise Guy” is considered to be one of the smartest – if not THE smartest – action guys in the pool biz.

Nick blitzed both Ed Neves and Sammy Jones 4-0 while Ronnie toasted “J-Tom Pilot” 4-1 and skunked “Colonel Bille” 4-0. In a match that was closer than the score indicated, Ronnie sent Nick west 4-2. His next match was Moises Pouncey – the legendary player with a silky stroke. He was tagged “Gabby” early in his career for standing like a statue – never saying a word. Gabby mowed down “Newk” 4-0 and edged out Mark Dimmick 4-3. His next match was Jim McCary – score 4-2. Ronnie then made short work of Gabby 4-1 and met Gregory in the hot seat match.

Mark took the first two games over Ronnie and was on his way to winning game three when he picked out two different shots out of the stack, fired them in and ended up frozen to another ball in both cases with no shot. Ronnie clawed his way back and won four in a row over his frustrated opponent and locked up his seat in the finals. Mark headed to the one loss side to await an opponent.

After losing his second match, Sammy Jones battled his former running mate, James Christopher, and escaped with a 3-2 win. He then ran through both Warren Ruth and Mark Dimmick 3-0 before running into Gabby. That one went down to the wire also and Gabby survived with a 3-2 win. Varner spanked both Ronn Rutan and Jim Tomassoni 3-0 and then outlasted Kitto in an eight hour marathon 3-2. 

Returning the following day at noon, Nick ground out a 3-1 victory over Gabby. He finished in fourth place. Next up was Mark Gregory – he went down with a 3-0 pounding. Mark finished in third place.

Since this tournament was double elimination, Nick had to defeat Ronnie twice to win the event. This title has eluded Varner for the past few years and he wanted it badly but it was not to be. Wiseman moved out quickly winning the first two games. Back to the grind, Nick managed to take the next two and tie it up.  2-2! Bearing down, Ronnie won the next and was on the hill. Methodically making one ball at a time, Nick stayed in the game – keeping it close. It looked like he was going to tie it up and then he scratched! Wiseman, needing one, leaped out of his chair and got down on the spot shot. He stood up and then got back down and rifled it in! Boom! And we had a new champion!

Congratulations to Ronnie for snapping off the title on his first attempt with his beautiful Steve Lomax custom cue! Great effort, Nick!

Once again, PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Bogies owner Cody Parish, Manager John Rizzo and their staff for making all of us feel so welcome.

We’d like to thank our commentators for a fine job. They included One Pocket Hall of Famer Cliff Joyner, Mary Kenniston, Jeff Sparks, Joey Aguzin, Ronn Rutan and Ray Hansen.

We’d also like to thank our great fans and sponsors. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Aramith, Hanshew Jump Cues, Bogies Billiards, Lomax Custom Cues, Simonis, Diveney Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Durbin Custom Cues, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next event is the One Pocket Champion Challenge featuring Tony Chohan and Alex Pagulayan with $100,000 plus in the middle! Hosted by Buffalo’s Billiards in Jefferson, LA, the dates are October 19th-22nd. Hope to see you there! 

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Kelly Fisher goes undefeated, Allison Fisher is runner-up at WPBA Northern Lights Classic

Allison Fisher and Kelly Fisher (Photo courtesy WPBA)

There are any number of back stories to the $20,000-added, WPBA Northern Lights Classic, held this past weekend (March 16-20) that offer a striking ‘snapshot’ of the WPBA’s past, present and future. Encompassing all three of those time periods, at the event to which 64 entrants were invited to the Northern Lights Casino Hotel and Event Center in Walker, MN, were the competitors who squared off in the event finals; the Fishers, Kelly and Allison, who’ve played so many matches against each other over the years, that they have no idea how many times it has actually happened. 

The last time they faced each other in an event final was a little hazy to them, as well. Two days after the Northern Classic, from Allison’s home in Charlotte, NC, they pondered the question together over coffee. Kelly came up with a possibility, and after a moment or two of mutual reflection, they both settled on 2016 as the last time they’d met in a final. At that event – the 19th Annual International Women’s Tournament of Champions, held in September at the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City – Kelly started both sets of the races-to-four finals, up 2-0, but Allison came back to win four straight, twice, and claimed the title.

“We’ve played against each other since then,” said Allison, “and the last time was pre-COVID, of course, but I think that was the last time we were in a final together.”

Kelly had won the WPBA’s Sondheim Kiwanis Invitational Tournament last year, while it had been just weeks over three years since Allison had last appeared in a WPBA event, which, as it turned out, was the last time they’d faced each other in a match that wasn’t a final. It was the 2019 WPBA Masters Tournament, held in September at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Michigan. Kelly had been sent to the loss side of the event in the second round by the eventual winner (Siming Chen) and went on a nine-match, loss-side run that would propel her to the finals. Six matches into that loss-side run, Kelly ran into Allison, who’d been sent to the loss side by Kristina Tkach in a winners’ side semifinal. Kelly advanced and was eventually defeated by Chen in the finals.

Noting something of a protracted absence away from a more regular schedule of WPBA events, together, they made note of the fact that it was good to gather with their mutual WPBA friends and acquaintances, old and new. 

“The WPBA competition is back on schedule and it was great to see a lot of the old faces, and some new faces, some youngsters, too,” said Kelly, “and the future is bright.”

“I think it’s wonderful that we had juniors at this event, especially by WPBA invitation,” said Allison. “It’s nice for us to see them, because they represent well, they look good, they’re playing great. . . 

“Professional,” Kelly interjected.

“Yes, they’re very professional,” Allison said, “and I think that’s the move, anyway. To invite more younger players as much as we can.”

It should be noted before moving on to the event itself, that in addition to its junior contingent which included 12-year-old Savannah Easton, it also featured 84-year-old Jeri Engh, making the demographic representation at this WPBA event, span almost four generations of the WPBA’s ongoing history.

Appearing in the same half of the upper bracket, the Fishers meet in the only two places possible 

They knew from the start, that they were not going to play in the hot seat match. Positioned in the upper half of the 64-entrant bracket, it put the Fishers in a possible first match against each other in the winners’ side semifinals. The second possibility was in the finals and both were exactly what happened.

Kelly Fisher got by Kelly Isaac (forfeit), Bonnie Arnold 8-4 and Dawn Hopkins 8-1 to reach Allison Fisher. Allison Fisher shut out Peg Haggerty and Catherine Tschumper before downing Kim Newsome 8-3 and Monica Webb 8-6, to draw Kelly. From the lower half of the bracket, Joann Mason Parker, who, prior to winning a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, a 3rd place finish on the Tri-State Tour and cashing in three events of a New Jersey-based Women’s Invitational event last year, had not won or even cashed in a tournament in over a decade, sent LoreeJon Brown, Cathy Metzinger, Janet Atwell (double hill) and Brittany Bryant to the loss side, drawing Jennifer Baretta in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kelly sent Allison to the loss side 8-6, as Baretta and Parker locked up in a double fight that eventually sent Parker to the loss side. Kelly claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Baretta and waited for Round 2 of Fisher v. Fisher.

On the loss side, Allison picked up Bryant, who’d followed her loss to Parker with a victory over Sara Miller 8-5 and survived a double hill battle against Ashley Burrows. Parker drew Monica Webb, who’d followed her loss to Allison Fisher in a winners’ side quarterfinal with victories over Sarah Rousey 8-2 and Angela Janic 8-4.

Parker’s somewhat improbable run was ended by Webb 8-5. Allison advanced to the quarterfinals after eliminating Bryant 8-5. Fisher leap-frogged over the quarterfinals on a Webb forfeit and then, defeated Baretta 8-5 for a second shot at Kelly, waiting for her in the hot seat.

In a race to 10, the two Fishers came within of game of forcing a 19th deciding game, but Kelly pulled out in front to claim the WPBA’s Northern Classic title 10-8.

“She’s at the top of her game,” said Allison of Kelly. “She’s always improving, rarely misses a shot. She’s a tough opponent and you have to be in top form to play her.”

“All the stuff she’s been doing in the past year is showing up in her game,” she added. “We’re good friends, so she’s helped me out with my game, too. It’s always fun playing her.”

“Both matches we played were really good, high standard, great quality matches,” said Kelly, “and the final was very, very exciting for spectators, I’d say; a high standard match.”

“Allison’s thoughts of retiring are going to have to go out the window,” she added. “She’s playing too good for that, to be honest. She’s playing great.”

Kelly will be headed for Las Vegas to be competing in both the WPA 10-Ball World Championships (March 28-April 1) and the WPBA Predator Event (March 31-April 3), both being held at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino. Allison will follow to participate in the later of those two events. 

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