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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.  

Scalzitti goes undefeated to win NJ Garden State Pool Tour’s 4th Annual Fall Brawl

Kevin Scalzitti, Patrick Langley and Jay Pass

Kevin Scalzitti kept getting tougher and tougher to beat as he and 20 New Jersey area players competed in the Garden State Pool Tour’s 4th Annual Fall Brawl on the weekend of September 12-13. And then, came the finals and Patrick Langley, who’d won seven on the loss side for the right to face him. The two fought to double hill before Scalzitti could chalk up the win. The event drew 21 entrants to Players Billiards in Eatontown, NJ.

As it happened, Scalzitti, who was the Tri-State Tour’s best B player in their 2015-2016 season, started and ended the tournament with a double hill win. He opened with one against Mike Johnson before he began tightening up against oncoming competition, downing Chris Schmidt 7-4 and running into Justin Pelech in a winners’ side semifinal. It was Pelech who’d sent Patrick Langley to the loss side in a double hill fight.

Scalzitti downed Pelech 7-3 and then, 7-2, defeated Jay Pass to claim the hot seat. He waited on what turned out to be the return of Langley.

Langley opened his loss-side campaign with a 5-2 victory over TJ Casper. He followed up with victories over Ed Wolley 5-1, Chris Schmidt 5-2 and Tony Ignomirello 5-1 to move into the first money rounds and draw a re-match against Pelech. Langley returned the double-hill-defeat favor and then downed Alex Vangelov 5-1 in the quarterfinals. Langley won his seventh loss-side match defeating Pass in the semifinals by the same 5-1 score.

Scalzitti and Langley fought to double hill, and it was Langley who was at the table with only the 8-ball and 9-ball left in the final rack. Langley dropped the 8-ball, but his attempt at position on the 9-ball failed. Scalzitti came back to the table, finished his undefeated run and claimed the event title.

The next stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 27, will be a B/C/D Class 9-Ball event, hosted by Side Pocket Billiards in Howell, NJ. 

Zaveri and Shlemperis split top prizes on snowstorm-interrupted Tri-State stop in Wayne, NJ

Jaydev Zaveri & Dave Shlemperis

As an indoor sport, pool play is not generally affected by the weather. Getting to and back from the venues, however, is another story altogether. On Saturday, January 18, snow and sleet visited the Tri-State New York area, to include Wayne, NJ, about 25 miles northwest of midtown Manhattan, where 23 intrepid competitors gathered to shoot some 10-ball on the Tri-State Tour. Jaydev Zaveri went undefeated to the hot seat and would, in the finals, have faced Dave Shlemperis, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the event’s second round. But with dangerous driving conditions getting worse by the minute, Zaveri and Shlemperis agreed to a split. As the undefeated hot seat occupant, Zaveri claimed the event title. The $1,000-added event drew its 23 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne

Zaveri opened his stormy campaign against Luis Jimenez and after defeating him, double hill (5-4), he faced Shlemperis and sent him over 6-2. He would then defeat A+ player Atif Khan in a winners’ side quarterfinal to face Joe Mazzeo in a winners’ side semifinal. Juan Melendez, in the meantime, squared off against Hunter Sullivan in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Zaveri downed Mazzeo 6-3 and in the hot seat, faced Melendez, who’d defeated Sullivan 5-2. Zaveri, in what proved to be his last match, claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Melendez.

On the loss side, Shlemperis was working on his six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him all the way back for a rematch against Zaveri, which, of course, didn’t happen. Shlemperis got by Chris Schmidt 6-3, Kevin Scalzitti, double hill (6-5) and Paul Madonia 6-2 to draw Mazzeo, coming over from his winners’ side semifinal loss to Zaveri. Sullivan picked up a rematch versus Bob Toomey, whom he’d defeated in the second round (Toomey’s 1st round; he’d been awarded a bye). Toomey’s four-match, loss-side winning streak included recent wins over Brian Schell, double hill (5-4) and then, he spoiled the possibility of a husband/wife final by defeating Jaydev Zaveri’s wife, Shweta, also double hill (6-5).

Shlemperis defeated Mazzeo 6-3, as Sullivan eliminated Toomey 5-2. Shlemperis then took the quarterfinal match versus Sullivan 7-4.

In the final match of the evening, Shlemperis downed Juan Melendez 7-5. He and Zaveri agreed to the split – Zaveri, the official winner and Shlemperis, runner-up – and those who were left headed for the exits and a difficult ride home.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Liquid Weighted Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Quick Stik, Phil Capelle,  Pool & Billiards,  Bender Cues, Dayton Cues, and  Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 26, will be a $1,000-added, Double Point event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

NYC Scotch Doubles 8-Ball Championships Crown Four Winners

Tony Robles and his team at Silent Assassin Productions welcomed 164 players to Steinway Billiards on August 3rd – 4th for four divisions of the 3rd Annual NYC Scotch Doubles 8-Ball Championship. 
 
The Leisure Division saw the smallest field, twelve teams, competing for first prize. This division saw Amanda Andries & Henry Chan redeem themselves after a 5-2 loss to Kendall Nunn & Radames Marimon for the hot-seat. Andries & Chan bounced back with a hill-hill win over Cesar Becerra & Maxwell Musser in the semi-final match, and then another hill-hill win in the extended final match over Nunn & Marimon.
 
The Open Division drew a field of thirty seven teams and there was no late tournament redemption in this one, as the team of Artur Trzeciak & Sebastian Karwas went undefeated with a 6-3 hot-seat win over Charlene Capers & Jerry Alexander and then a 6-0 win over Capers & Alexander in the finals. 
 
The Advanced Division’s eighteen teams played a tight final few matches with John Durr & Ken Batal taking the hot-seat with a 6-4 win over Quang Nguyen & Jimmy Tran. Nguyen & Tran then lost to Chris Schmidt & Kevin Scalzitti in the semi-final match 5-2. The extended final match was another close one, with Durr & Batal winning the hill-hill match for first place. 
 
The absolute top players competed in the sixteen team Master Division, where Miguel Batista & Wilberto Ortiz were undefeated with wins over Zion Zvi & Duc Lam for the hot-seat 7-4 and again in the finals 7-5. 
 
Robles wished his thanks to UpState AL and his team for hosting the free live stream courtesy of Blatt Billiards, John Leyman for being the official referee, tournament assistants Julie Ha, Tommy Schreiber and Irene Kim,  Erwin Dionisio for his fantastic photography, and Steinway Billiards, National Amateur Pool League (NAPL) and Predator Cues for their sponsorship.  He also wished a huge thanks to all of the players for their enthusiasm and support of the event.  
 
Robles and his team will be back at Steinway Billiards on October 19th – 20th for the six divisions of the NYC 8-Ball Championship Singles Championships.

Dufresne goes undefeated to chalk up his first Tri-State win, splits top prizes with Gupta

(l to r): Shivam Gupta & Pascal Dufresne

Having won his first stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour last month, Pascal Dufresne decided to back it up with his first win on the Tri-State Tour in Sunday, April 7. Though it will go into the books as an undefeated win, it comes with the asterisk of no final match, as Dufresne and Shivam Gupta opted to split the top two prizes. The $1,000-added, 10-ball event drew 31 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.
 
Though he’s cashed in only two events in 2019, both on the Predator Pro Am Tour, Dufresne has already exceeded his best earnings year, to date (2018). Gupta, as well, recorded his best earnings year, to date, in 2018, and has a way to go to reach that figure in 2019. Gupta, though, was making his eighth appearance on the 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour, while for Dufresne, it was only his second.
 
Following a challenging start in which he survived a double hill battle versus Jerry Almodovar, Dufresne moved on to defeat Paul Wilkins and then, in their first, and what proved to be only meeting, Dufresne sent Gupta to the loss side 6-3. This set him up to face Kevin Scalzitti in one of the winners’ side semifinals. On his way to one of his highest finishes on the tour, Rick Rodriguez, who’d defeated Mac Jankov, Brian Schell (double hill) and Bob Toomey, faced Clint Pires in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Dufresne and Rodriguez gave up only a single rack between them, as Dufresne shut Scalzitti out, and Rodriguez allowed Pires only a single rack to advance them both to the hot seat match. Dufresne, playing what would prove to be his last match, sent Rodriguez to the semifinals 6-2 and claimed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Gupta opened his trip back to the finals with a 6-2 victory over Tri Chau and followed it with a 6-2 win over his road partner, Jaydev Zaveri (Zaveri and Gupta are currently #1 and #2 among the tour’s B+ competitors). This set Gupta up to face Scalzitti, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Pires drew Bob Toomey, who’d started in the same loss-side position as Gupta and survived two double hill matches against Amanda Andries and Brian Schell to draw Pires.
 
Gupta and Scalzitti locked up in a double hill battle that eventually sent Gupta to the quarterfinals (6-5). Toomey joined him, after eliminating Pires 5-1.
 
Gupta and Toomey, each, at this point, with three, loss-side wins, were both looking to advance to the semifinals. Gupta made it, downing Toomey 6-2 to face Rodriguez. Gupta and Rodriguez were both looking for a second shot against Dufresne in the hot seat and fought to double hill for that right. Once again, Gupta made it (6-5).
 
Dufresne and Gupta opted out of a final match. As the hot seat occupant, Dufresne claimed the event title, undefeated. 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, April 14) will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Lamberti comes from the loss side to win his first Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): Marc Lamberti & Luis Jimenez

As it came down to the end, you had a player competing in his first Tri-State Tour event, against a player looking for his first win on the tour, who ultimately defeated a hot seat occupant, whose first and last win on the tour happened five years ago. The last man standing in that trio of competitors was Marc Lamberti, looking and acquiring that first Tri-State Tour win. He earned it by coming from the loss side to meet and defeat hot seat occupant Luis Jimenez, who was looking for that first win since 2014. The man in the middle, so to speak – Daniel Alaimo – was the newcomer, and though he got by Lamberti once, he couldn’t do it a second time. The $1,000-added, 10-Ball event drew 37 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ on Sunday, March 17.
 
After an opening round victory that almost put an immediate stop to Lamberti’s winners’ side ambitions – a double hill win over Veronica Perez – Lamberti moved on to another double hill challenge that he survived, over Jowen Pichardo. Michelle Brotons came within a game of being Lamberti’s third straight double hill challenge of the day, but Lamberti got out in front by two at the end and won it 5-3 to face Alaimo for the first time in a winners’ side semifinal. Alaimo arrived at that match following victories over Charlie Beam 5-3, John DeVito 5-2 and Allison LaFleur 5-3. Jimenez, in the meantime, had gotten by Mike Mele 6-4, Jonathan McConnell, double hill, and Llija Trajceski 6-4 to face the tour’s #1-ranked B+ player, Jaydev Zaveri in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Alaimo sent Lamberti off to the loss side 5-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Jimenez, who’d defeated Zaveri 6-3. Jimenez downed Alaimo in the hot seat match and waited on what turned out to be the return of Lamberti.
 
Lamberti opened his loss-side trip against Jowen Pichardo, whom he’d defeated earlier in the day. Pichardo had recently eliminated two women in a row, Brotons 5-2 and LaFleur, who put up a double hill fight before Pichardo finished it. Zaveri faced Desi DeRado, who’d defeated Kevin Scalzitti 6-4 and Mike Mele 7-4.
 
Lamberti leap-frogged into the quarterfinals when Pichardo forfeited out of their match. Lamberti was joined by Zaveri who’d knocked DeRado out of the running 6-4. Lamberti took the quarterfinal match 7-4 over Zaveri to get a second shot against Alaimo in the semifinals.
 
Lamberti took advantage of his second chance. He downed Alaimo 6-3 and turned to see if he could lock up his first Tri-State win by knocking Jimenez out of his hot seat perch. He did, defeating Jimenez 8-4 in the finals to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, an 8-ball tournament, scheduled for Sunday, March 24, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 

Newcomers Orque & Elgantiry battle it out on the Tri-State Tours; Orque wins his first

(l to r): Christian Jay Orque & Amir Elgantiry

Christian Jay Orque, a newcomer to the Tri-State Tour, was introduced to what he had in store for himself in his first two matches at a $1,000-added stop, which drew 28 entrants to Shooter’s Billiards in Wayne, NJ on Sunday, November 18. Orque faced two Tri-State Tour veterans, Nate Raimondo and Jaydev Zaveri, and introduced wondering what they’ll have in store for themselves as Orque continues to compete on the tour. Orque defeated them both, double hill, to start his day, and though he’d get sent to the loss side out of the hot seat match, he’d return to meet and defeat another newcomer, Amir Elgantiry in the finals to claim his first Tri-State title.
 
After downing Raimondo and Zaveri, Orque advanced to defeat Wazeer Abasi 7-2 to draw Kevin Scalzitti in one of the two winners’ side semifinals. Elgantiry, in the meantime, starting with two somewhat less dramatic wins over Sabrina Sherman and Marc Lamberti, defeated Jake Kislowski 6-3 to draw Mac Jankov in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Orque and Elgantiry came head to head in the hot seat match, after Orque had sent Scalzitti loss-side packing 7-5 and Elgantiry had sent Jankov over 6-3. It was Elgantiry who got to claim his first Tri-State Tour hot seat with a 7-4 win over Orque.
 
On the loss side, Jankov picked up Rick Rodriguez, who’d defeated Bob Toomey 6-3 and Jake Kislowski 6-4 to reach him. Scalzitti drew Dave Shlemperis, who’d eliminated Wazeer Abasi 7-5 and Frank Sieczka 6-1.
 
Shlemperis got by Scalzitti 7-2 and in the quarterfinals, faced Jankov, who’d ended Rodriguez’ day 6-3. In what would prove to be his final match, Jankov eliminated Shlemperis in those quarterfinals 8-4.
 
Jankov was forced to forfeit his semifinal match against Orque, which set Orque and Elgantiry up for a final in which they were both well rested. Orque came out ‘guns a’ blazin,’ as they say, gave up only three racks and claimed his first Tri-State title 9-3 over Elgantiry. He may have also, rather inadvertently, picked up a pool nickname, when initial reports coming out of the tour, auto-corrected his last name to ‘Orquestra.’
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this Thanksgiving Day weekend (Sunday, Nov. 25), will be a $1,000-added, double points event, hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Galeas comes from the loss side to win Tri-State stop at Shooter’s in Wayne, NJ

Fernando Galeas and Kevin Scalzitti

Fernando Galeas made his first appearance on the Tri-State Tour’s 2018-2019 season count. As a B player, he is now the first player behind Mike Mele and Frank Siezcka, each of whom has two appearances in the early going of the current season. Galeas chalked up his first Tri-State victory by coming from the loss side and downing hot seat occupant Kevin Scalzitti. The $1,000-added event, held on Saturday, July 28, drew 25 entrants to Shooter’s Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Galeas was awarded an opening round by in the 32-player bracket and won his opening match against Jay Choi, before running into Suzzie Wong in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Wong sent him to the loss side in a double hill fight and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Mark Halvorsen. Kevin Scalzitti, in the meantime, got by Rick Rodriguez, Paul Madonia and Matt D’Errico to draw Mac Jankov in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Scalzitti defeated Jankov 8-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Halvorsen, who’d squeaked by Wong 6-5. Scalzitti sent Halvorsen to the semifinals 9-5 and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Galeas.

Galeas opened his loss-side trip with a double hill win over Kevin Serodio and then eliminated Jake Kislowski 8-5 to draw a re-match against Wong. Jankov picked up Madonia, who’d defeated D’Errico 7-1 and Allison LaFleur 7-5.

Galeas advanced to the quarterfinals with a successful 6-4 re-match victory over Wong, and was joined by Madonia, who’d sent Jankov to the figurative showers 7-5. Galeas then eliminated Madonia by the same 7-5 score.

A double hill fight for a spot in the finals ensued. Galeas edged out in front at the end to take on Scalzitti in the finals, where the familiar intangible of momentum led Galeas to a 9-3 win that secured his first Tri-State title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics,  Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, August 5, Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Dany Recinos crowned the 2016-2017 Tri-State Tour Invitational Champion

Dany Recinos

The twentieth annual Tri-State Tour Invitational Tournament took place June 24 & 25, 2017, at Steinway Café and Billiards in Astoria, NY. The weekend was another huge success for the tour with 14 A & A+ Players, 30 B & B+ Players, 32 C & C+ Players and 16 D & D+ Players who earned their way in to compete in their respective classes and play for their chance to be named the Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion. Steinway Café and Billiards hosted the event for the third year and once again provided a great atmosphere and playing environment for the players. Steinway Café and Billiards owner Manny Stamatakis and the staff including Anna and George were as always very professional, helpful and gracious. Manny donated the room and all the table time. Their generosity and support to the players and the event as always were exemplary. The staff and everyone at the room assured the events success. Steinway Café and Billiards, home of the World Pool Series, is an excellent venue for any event, it has professionally maintained tables, a clean fresh atmosphere and some of the most scrumptious food in NYC.  
 
As each day began, organizers John Leyman, Todd Fleitman, Rick Shellhouse & Daniel Cintron congratulated the players on reaching the top of their classes for the season and handed out awards to the top players of the year in each class. The Tri-State Tour added $4000 in cash prizes and the sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Kamui Tips, Sterling Gaming, Capelle’s Pool Books, OB Cues and the DIGICUE, Pool & Billiards, Professor-Q-Ball’s News, Blue Book Publications, Steinway Café and Billiards, Amsterdam Billiards, and Romer’s Trophies went out of their way to provide the event with excellent equipment and prizes. The sponsors as the Tri-State has always maintained are owed a debt a gratitude for their dedication to the game and the players, their efforts and generosity are what always make the event so special and such a great success and without their continued support of the sport and the players this event could not happen. 
 
Awards were presented to the top 3 players in each class, the Most Improved Player of the Year, and Sportsman of the Year. The most improved player went to Max Watanabe. Max has been a good B level player for years but his game leveled out and he appeared to have reached the top of his game but over the last year Max shattered the ceiling on his game making great strides in his consistency and abilities to become a very strong A class player. His game is still improving at an accelerated pace and it would not surprise the tour if he was back again next year as the most improved again.   Each year the tour awards one player the “Sportsperson of the Year” award. It is awarded to someone the tour believes exemplifies what a player should be and how they should act and this year’s award went to Mike Strassberg. This is Mikes second time winning the award which goes a long way in proving just how much of a true sportsman he is. His exemplary attitude at events no matter what is happening, from players with bad attitudes, to rooms with AC problems, to whatever comes up, proves time and time again what other players should strive to emulate. 
 
The top players of the year in their respective classes were Atif Khan in the A+/A class, Carl Yusuf Khan B+ player, last year’s Grand Champion Jaydev Zaveri winning the B class, the last 3 classes the C+, C and D+/D classes were all won by players who won for the second year in a row. Those players were Tony Ignomirello winning the  C+, Bob Toomey in the C player and Jim Gutierrez in the D+/D class. This year saw some new ladies rise to the top of the leader board with the Ladies Player of the Year being Allison LaFleur. For a full list of winners for all the classes and events, please see the web site www.thetristatetour.com
 
The action in the tournament got going around ten on Saturday morning, June 24 with the B+ and B class players along with the D+/D players kicking off the event.  The B+ class was won by some very strong play from Basdeo Sookhai, a former Grand Champion of the event. Basdeo got to the hot seat match against Kirill Safromov and lost to Kirill 7-2. On the one loss side, Basdeo played an exhausted Carl Yusuf Khan who had lost his first match of the day to Basdeo and then fought his way up the one loss side to once again challenge Basdeo. In the semi-final match Carl just could not keep up the pace and Basdeo beat him 7-4. This set up another rematch for Basdeo in the finals against Kirill where Basdeo played above his game and won the match 7-4. 
 
In the B-Class Kevin Scalzitti played extremely well all day and bested all comers to win the B-Class undefeated. In the hot seat match, Kevin Scalzitti beat Kevin Shin on the hill to send him to the one loss side where he met up with Thomas Schreiber, whom he had beaten in the first match of the day 7-5. Thomas played 5 matches on the one loss side to get back to the semi-finals and another shot at Kevin Shin. In the semi-finals Thomas won 7-5 and proceeded to the finals but Kevin Scalzitti was on a roll and beat Thomas 7-4 in the finals.
 
Kevin and Basdeo squared off in the B+ – B Class playoff and Basdeo continued to play well and sent Kevin home by beating him 7-5.
 
The D+/D class saw Carlos Serrano play well all day and he cruised to the finals. Carlos played Nancy Chung in the hot seat match and won impressively 6-2. Allison LaFleur, the Ladies player of the year, played her first two matches well but in the third match she came up against Carlos who got a good roll and won the set 5-4. Allison moved to the one loss side and won her next 3 matches to get to the finals and a rematch against Carlos. The rematch was a lot like the first match with each player trading games but ultimately Carlos came out on top for the win.
 
On Sunday, play resumed at 10 AM with the A+/A players and the C+ class and C class arriving to do battle. In the A+/A class, Jimmy Acosta dominated all day never letting his opponents get more than 3 wins against him and he arrived in the finals undefeated. In the hot seat match he crushed his opponent Elvis Rodriquez 7-1. Mike Panzarella who had lost his second match of the day to Atif Khan 7-3 fought his way up the one loss side getting stronger as the day went on. In the semi-final match he faced a tough opponent in Elvis and won a tight battle on the hill. Mike continued to get stronger and faced off against the dominating Jimmy and Mike fought hard and won the match 9-5.
 
In the C+ class Nathaniel Raimondo sent Dany Recinos to the one loss side in the hot seat match with a score of 6-1. Dany then battled back for a rematch with Nathaniel beating Kevin Chong on the hill. In the finals, Dany continued to play well and handed the undefeated Nathanial a loss and second place by beating him 8-6.
 
The C Class was taken over by Qian Chen who kept all opponents to 4 wins or less to win the division undefeated. In the how seat match Qian beat Pashk Gjini 6-3, Pashk went to the one loss side where he lost to David Grant 6-4. David arrived in the finals with his only loss of to the day to Qian 6-4 but Qian was just as good the second time and won 6-3
 
This left 2 winners from Saturday and 3 winners from Sunday to do battle for the Grand Champion title. The C+ versus C class final saw Dany Recinos continue to win as he bested Qian Chen 6-3. That set up the 2 overall semi-final matches. The first to be played was the A class versus the B class and both players played very well but Mike Panzarella was not going to be beaten no matter how well Basdeo Soohai was playing and Mike won the match 7-4. The C class versus the D class was almost a mirror image of the other semi-final match with the higher level player, Dany Recinos, playing stronger and the lower level player, Carlos Serrano just not able to keep up and he lost 7-5. This setup the finals of the event between A class Mike Panzarella and C+ Dany Recinos. Both players played well but the long day and tough matches obviously took its toll on both players as they traded games. As the set went on both players made some crucial mistakes by over rolling some positions and not making some game wining shots but then would come back and do exemplary runs to win games. In the end Dany Recinos would be the one to sink the final 9 and win the event to be crowned the 2016-2017 Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion.
 

Leggat wins seven on the loss side and downs Scalzitti in finals to win his first Tri-State stop

David Leggat and Kevin Scalzitti

You'd think, having defeated someone in the opening round of a tournament, that the chances of seeing that player a second time, especially in the finals, would be minimal; too many possibilities, both in terms of the number of matches played on the loss side of a double elimination bracket, and the vagaries of individual matches played during that run. But it happens.
 
Just ask Kevin Scalzitti, who on Sunday, May 7, at a $640-added event that drew 29 entrants to BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY, was one match away from an undefeated run on the Tri-State Tour, only to have the opponent he'd defeated 7-2 in the opening round – David Leggat – return from a seven-match, loss-side run and not only defeat him, but shut him out in the finals.
 
It was not the tournament's only oddity. It was an A/B, C/D tournament, which means (meant) that the two sets of rankings are (were) separated at the beginning into different brackets, and only combined into a single event bracket towards the end. But there were 21 players ranked in the lower C/D bracket, while there were only eight in the upper A/B bracket. In effect, with their own separate bracket, the C/D players had to play three rounds to advance to the same spot in which the eight A/B players began. Two wins put two A/B players into a winners' side semifinal. It took four wins to put two C/D players into a winners' side semifinal.
 
Advancing to those winners' side semifinals were Scalzitti, who faced Amir Uddin, and Ron Bernardo, who squared off against Dax Druminski. Scalzitti got by Uddin, double hill, and in the hot seat match, met Bernardo, who'd sent Druminski to the loss side 6-4. Scalzitti claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Bernardo, without a clue that he'd just won his last game of the tournament.
 
On the loss side, Leggat was working his way back. With two under his belt already, he downed Chumreon Sukaritachul 7-3 and Thomas Schreiber, double hill, to draw Uddin. Druminski picked up Dementhriss Hudson, who'd defeated Pashk Gjini 6-1 and Zouraiz Ellahi 6-4.
 
Leggat and Hudson advanced to the quarterfinals; Leggat 7-5 over Uddin, and Hudson 6-3 over Druminski. Leggat took the quarterfinal match 7-3 over Hudson, and then completed his loss-side run with a 7-3 win over Bernardo in the semifinals. 
 
The Leggat/Scalzitti re-match was an extended race to 9 in the finals. Leggat needed to reach seven wins first, to extend the match to nine games. He did so without giving up a rack and added two more to claim his first Tri-State title in only two attempts.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 13, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. A week later, the Tri-State will be at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ before joining the Predator and Mezz Tours in presenting the 7th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial, scheduled for May 27-29 at Steinway Billiards. Event coordinators are reminding players that the "Ginky" Memorial is a pre-paid event (which fills up fast in both the Amateur and Pro events). Contact a representative from any of the tours for information on signing up before the May 21 deadline.