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Tierney comes from the loss side to win Garden State Pool Tour Amateur Championship

Julian Tierney and Levie Lampaan

He won his first regional tour title a little shy of two months ago, at a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour in Clifton, NJ. This past weekend (Dec. 10-11), Julian Tierney won his second regional tour stop, coming from the loss side to claim the tour’s invitational Grand Amateur Championships, a $300-added event that drew 44 entrants to Players Billiards in Eatontown, NJ.

The event was initially broken up into four separate double-elimination brackets, out of which emerged 16 players, who advanced to another double elimination bracket that would determine the tour’s 2022 Grand Amateur Champion. Lysander Diaz, David Jusis, Jesse Duetcher and Levie Lampaan emerged as champions of the four original brackets. Tierney, a ‘B’ player, was sent to the loss side early in the final 16-player bracket and won five on the loss side before challenging and defeating A player, Levie Lampaan twice in the true double elimination final.

Lampaan had advanced through two opponents to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Jesse Duetcher (B). Marc Lamberti (C) challenged Lysander Diaz (D+) in the other one.

Lampaan advanced to the hot seat match 7-3 over Duetcher and was joined by Diaz, who’d sent Lamberti to the loss side 7-4. Lampaan claimed the hot seat 10-7 over Diaz and waited for Tierney to complete his loss-side run.

On the loss side, Tierney survived a double hill battle versus Rob Wetherhold and eliminated Kevin Scalzitti 7-2 to draw Duetcher. Lamberti picked up David Jusis, who’d eliminated Gustavo Ardon Perdomo 6-3 and Jimmy Cangialosi 7-3 to reach him.

Tierney got by Duetcher 7-3, as Lamberti was defeating Jusis 6-4. Tierney stopped Lamberti’s short loss-side visit 7-2 in the subsequent quarterfinals.

Tierney then made sure that Lysander Diaz’ visit to the loss side was equally short. He defeated 8-4 in the semifinals. Tierney had to win two sets in the double elimination final and took the opener, allowing Lampaan only a single rack. Lampaan rallied in the second set but not by enough. Tierney won the second set 7-4 to claim the Garden State Pool Tour’s Grand Amateur Championships.

Tour director Dave Fitzpatrick thanked the ownership and staff at Players’ Billiards and on the occasion of the Garden State Pool Tour’s final event of 2023, included thanks to all of the 2022 host locations; Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ, Black Diamond Billiards in Union, NJ, Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ, Diamond Jim’s Billiards & Pub in Nanuet, NY, Side Pocket Billiards in Howell, NJ and Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

Fitzpatrick also extended thanks to tour sponsors Billiards Engineering, John Bender Custom Cues, JFlowers Cues and Cases, Off the Rail Apparel, In the Bx and Kamui. 

The 2023 Garden State Pool Tour will be switching from its current use of a ‘letter’ ranking system to the FargoRate system. The 2023 season will open on the weekend of January 7-8 with a 675-and-under FargoRate event, hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

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Clark earns second win since ’08, comes from loss side to win Garden State Pool Tour stop

Sabrina Sherman, Hunter Sullivan and Tim Clark

Until this past July, it had been a long time since Tim Clark had earned a cash payout, let alone an event victory at a pool tournament; 2008, to be exact. He won a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour in July and this past weekend (Nov. 11-12), he did it again. He chalked up his second victory on the tour with a significant flourish, coming from the loss side to avenge the loss and double-dip the defending champion of the Garden State Pool Tour’s Amateur 9-Ball Championships, Hunter Sullivan. The 2022 $600-added championships drew 58 entrants to Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Clark and Sullivan both emerged from the event’s upper (A-B) bracket and met for the first time in the (overall) winners’ side quarterfinals. Sullivan took the first (and last) of their three matches 7-5 and advanced to play Kevin Scalzitti in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Sabrina Sherman and Ben Zimmerman squared off in the other one.

Sullivan got into the hot seat match with a 6-5 win over Scalzitti (racing to 7). Sherman joined him after downing Zimmerman, double hill; 5-6 (Zimmerman racing to 7). Sullivan claimed the hot seat, his last win of the event, 8-6 over Sherman.

Clark opened his loss-side campaign with a 5-6 win over Dinko Busanich (Busanich racing to 8) and a 7-1 victory over Julian Tierney, which set him up to face Scalzitti. Zimmerman drew Jorge Capillo, who’d recently eliminated Nicole Adams, double hill, and Giancarlo Delgado 6-1.

From this point on through the first set of the double elimination finals, every match went double hill. Clark over Scalzitti, Zimmerman over Capillo. Clark over Zimmerman in the quarterfinals and Clark again, over Sherman in the semifinals.

If coming back on the loss side to face and defeat the opponent who’d sent you there comes with a certain ‘satisfaction’ badge, facing that opponent in the finals and defeating him twice has a badge marked ‘double satisfaction.’ Doing both of those things and winning your first major tournament has ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ written all over it. Clark and Sullivan battled to double hill in the opening set before Clark finished it.  Clark took the second set 7-5 and claimed his first (recorded) event title. 

Tour director Dave Fitzpatrick thanked the ownership and staff at Rockaway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as tour sponsors Billiards Engineering,  JFlowers cues, John Bender Custom Cues, Pool-a-Holic, Off the Rail Apparel and IntheBx. The next event on the Garden State Pool Tour, scheduled for Dec. 10-11, will be the tour’s by-invitation-only Grand Amateur Championship, to be hosted by Players Billiards in Eatontown, NJ.

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Kain goes undefeated to win first regional tour event on Garden State Pool Tour

Jason Halpin, Michael Kain and Robert Rodriguez

Mike Kain took full advantage of his pool handicap during a six-match, undefeated trip to the winners’ circle at a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour this past weekend (Sat., Oct. 8). He ended up playing against only one opponent in a straight-up race to 5, Pete Carrano, whom he defeated 5-2 in the opening round. Rated as a ‘5,’ Kain went on to defeat a ‘6,’ (two of them), a ‘7,’ and two ‘8’s, including a double hill battle against Jason Halpin in the finals. The $400-added event drew 36 entrants to Diamond Jim’s Billiards in Nanuet, NY.

Though the handicap worked in his favor (as handicaps are essentially meant to do), Kain did end up defeating higher-ranked opponents by relatively substantial margins. Following his victory over Carrano, he downed ‘6’-rated Chris Farrell 5-1, ‘7’-rated Emmanuel Areizaga 5-5 to meet up with his first ‘8’ handicap opponent – Roger Hanos – in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Robert Rodriguez, in the meantime, who didn’t face a higher handicap until he reached his winners’ side quarterfinal, downed Shonda Evens 6-3, Marc Antonetti 6-2 and Bud Robideau 5-6 (Robideau racing to 7) to face Halpin in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kain advanced to the hot seat match with a 5-5 win over Hanos (racing to 8) and was met by Rodriguez, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Halpin. Playing with a single ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 6, Kain claimed the hot seat 5-2 over Rodriguez.

On the loss side, Halpin drew Areizaga, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Kain with victories over David Moore 7-3 and Ken Kerner 5-1. Hanos drew a rematch versus Kevin Scalzitti, who was working on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that Hanos had initiated in the third winners’ side round. He’d recently eliminated Donald Henriquez 8-2 and Bud Robideau 7-3 to earn the rematch.

In a straight-up race to 7, Scalzitti successfully navigated his way to redemption over Hanos, though not before Hanos had forced a 13th deciding game. Halpin downed Areizaga 7-2 to join Scalzitti in the quarterfinals.

Halpin stopped Scalzitti’s loss-side run 7-4 and then, finished Rodriguez’ day 8-2. Fittingly, Kain’s last match went double hill against Halpin. With four ‘beads on the wire’ to start in a race to 9, Kain chalked up the five he needed to claim his first (recorded) regional tour win.

Tour director Dave Fitzpatrick thanked Stephine Werner and her Diamond Jim’s Billiards and Pub staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Billiards Engineering, Kamui, JFlowers Cues and Cases, IntheBx & Off the Rail. With only two events left in the tour season, the Garden State Pool Tour will hold its annual Halloween Classic this coming weekend (Oct. 15-16), to be hosted by Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

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Langley goes undefeated to win Fall Brawl on Garden State Pool Tour

Justin Pelech, Pat Langley and Ed Wooley

Two years ago in the Garden State Pool Tour’s annual Fall Brawl, Ed Langley finished as runner-up to Kevin Scalzitti. This year, he checked in to compete in the 6th Annual Fall Brawl, held on Saturday, Sept. 10, and went undefeated to claim the title. The $200-added event drew 20 entrants to Players Billiards in Eatontown, NJ. 

The event featured a combination of 8-ball and 9-ball matches, divided in favor of more 9-ball competition; eight racks of 9-ball and five racks of 8-ball in the races to 7 on the winners’ side of the bracket, six racks of 9-ball and three racks of 8-ball in the races to 5 on the loss side, 11 racks of 9-ball and six racks of 8-ball in the race to 9 finals. The finals in this year’s Fall Brawl proved to be the only match that began with 9-ball.

Langley faced Ed Woolley twice in this event; hot seat and finals. Langley got by Jorge Capillo 7-4, then battled Jaydev Zaveri to double hill before advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against Kyle Bubet. Woolley’s route to the hot seat match went through Kervin Santamaria and David Jusis, to whom he gave up one rack, each, to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Christian Taez.

Langley sent Bubet to the loss side 7-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Woolley, who’d sent Taez over 7-3. In their first of two, Langley downed Woolley 7-3, evenly splitting their games of 8-ball and 9-ball, finishing with the latter and claiming the hot seat.

On the loss side, Taez drew Zaveri, who’d followed his loss to Langley with a 5-1 victory over Ben Zimmerman and a double hill win over 2020 champion, Kevin Scalzitti. Bubet picked up Justin Pelech, who’d lost to Zaveri in a second-round match and chalked up three on the loss side versus Jorge Capillo 5-2, David Jusis 5-0 and Alex Vangilov 5-1.

Pelech did his part to secure a quarterfinal rematch against Zaveri with a 5-2 win over Bubet, but Taez gave up only a single rack to Zaveri. Pelech made it six in a row in those quarterfinals, defeating Taez 5-2, but his streak came to an abrupt halt in the semifinals, when Woolley won five straight games of 8-ball to earn a second shot against Langley.

As it turned out, Langley and Woolley played 9-ball for all but the last game of the final race-to-9. It switched at the conclusion of the 11th game of 9-ball and Langley completed his undefeated run by winning the only 8-ball match and claiming the event title.

Tour director Dave Fitzpatrick thanked the ownership and staff at Players Billiards (“one of the most player-friendly rooms in the New Jersey area”) for their hospitality, along with sponsors IntheBx, Off the Rail, Billiards Engineering, John Bender Custom Cues, JFlowers Cues & Cases & Kamui. The next two Garden State Pool Tour events will be hosted at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ, commencing with this weekend’s Sunday, Sept. 18 C-D Class 9-Ball event; 40-player maximum. On October 8-9, the tour will welcome a new host to the Garden State Pool Tour family – Diamond Jim’s in Nanuet, NY, who will host a 64-player A-D Class tournament. 

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Zaveri and Villa split top prizes on Predator Tri-State stop at Shooter’s Family Billiards

Jaydev Zaveri and Brook Villa

At least this time out, Jaydev Zaveri was the official winner. Having worked his way into the finals of three Predator Tri-State Tour stops at the same location this year (Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ), Zaveri and his first two opponents – Jan Mierzwa in February and Joe Valania in May, both of whom were in the hot seat at the time – negotiated a financial agreement and opted out of playing a final match. This past weekend (Saturday, August 27), Zaveri negotiated from the hot seat with tour newcomer, Brook Villa and while splitting the top two prizes with him, he did become the official winner of the $500-added Predator Tri-State stop that drew 29 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards.

Zaveri’s trip to the hot seat had something of a shaky start, surviving two straight double hill battles against Hunter Sullivan and Frank Krupa. A subsequent 7-3 victory over Pascal Dufresne set Zaveri up in a winners’ side semifinal against James Kearney. Aiden Wagner, in the meantime, destined for the hot seat match, got by Jowen Pichardo, Bob Toomey, and Ben Zimmerman to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Villa.

Zaveri got into what would prove to be his final match, battling for the hot seat, with a 7-2 victory over Kearney. Wagner joined him after sending Villa to the loss side 7-5. A 7-4 victory put Zaveri in the hot seat and, as it turned out, afforded him the opportunity to be declared the event’s official winner.

On the loss side, Villa picked up Ben Zimmerman who’d followed his loss to Wagner with wins over Tom Crane 7-5 and John Torp 6-3. Kearney drew Kevin Scalzitti, who’d lost his opening match to Pascal Dufresne and was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently eliminated Mike Strassberg 7-3, John Torp 6-3 and was about to end.

Kearney shut Scalzitti out and in the quarterfinals, faced Villa, who’d defeated Zimmerman 6-3. Villa was downing his opponents more efficiently as he got closer to the end, following his victory over Zimmerman with a 9-2 victory Kearney in the quarterfinals and then shutting out Wagner in the semifinals.

It set up an interesting title match, a contest between a tour veteran with a long list of cash finishes and victories on a number of area tours versus a newcomer, looking for his first recorded tour victory. The match, of course, didn’t happen. Zaveri and Villa agreed to the split and Zaveri went into the books as the event’s official winner. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues. 

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Mike Johnson returns to the tables for an undefeated run on the Garden State Tour

Mike Johnson, Gary Barnish and Kervin Santamaria

Prior to last weekend (Sat., Feb. 26), at appearances in six different events since 2007, Mike Johnson had recorded finish-payouts (with us) ranging from 17th place (Starcase Billiards Fall Classic; 2015) to 9th (NJ State 8-Ball Championships; 2018), to a few 5th place finishes on the Blaze Tour (’07), and in 2013, The Great Southern Billiard and Mezz Pro Am Tours. We understand from representatives of New Jersey’s Garden State Tour, that while unreported to us, he has climbed the single-event ladder on that tour as high as runner-up. Looking at the entries on his profile page here at AZ, you can’t help but notice that after his 5th place finish on the Blaze Tour in ‘07, he didn’t show up on our payout lists again until 2013, and then, seemed to embark on repetitive absences that have increased in an apparent pattern, over time; from 2013 to 2015 to 2018 to now (’22).

He went undefeated on the Garden State Tour last weekend to claim his first reported regional tour title. It also turned the barely-begun 2022 into his best earnings year, at which, already, he’s earned more money at the tables than in all of his previously-recorded years combined. The $200-added event drew 23 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. 

It wasn’t exactly a “merrily we roll along” trip to the winners’ circle for Johnson. In the upper bracket, after a bye, he was challenged in two straight double hill battles right at the start, versus Paul Madonia, Sr. and Kevin Scalzitti. He dodged both of those bullets to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Gary Barnish. In the meantime, Kervin Santamaria had his own double-hill problems at the start, but recovered quickly; winning the double-hill fight against Ginny Lewis and then, bouncing back to shut out Luigi Daminan. He got by Don Henriquez 6-4 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Steve Persaud.

Johnson downed Barnish 7-4, though as it turned out, he’d be back. Santamaria locked up in a second double hill fight, eventually prevailing 6-5 over Persaud to join Johnson in the hot seat match. 

Surprise, surprise. . . a double-hill hot seat battle. Won by Johnson, who savored the moment, parked in the hot seat and waiting for the return of Barnish.

On the loss side, Barnish got by Rob Wetherford 7-3 and then handed Persaud a double hill loss in the quarterfinals. In what at this point must have seemed like an endless series of double hill contests, Barnish and Santamaria engaged in what would prove to be the last of them, in the semifinals. Barnish won it 8-7 to earn his second shot at Johnson.

In the words of tour representatives, the final match was “all Johnson,” who allowed Barnish one less rack in the finals (3) than he had in their winners’ side semifinal (4). Johnson earned the event title, his first (that we know about), though presumably not his last.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality. The next stop on the Garden State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, March 20, will be hosted by 9-Ball Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

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Valania wins his first in two years, going undefeated on the Garden State Tour

Robert Calton and Joe Valania

About 18 months ago (Sept. 2020), Joe Valania and Daniel Dagotdot split the top two prizes on the second stop of the Mac Attack Tour in Clifton, NJ. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, Valania was declared the official winner and in effect, hadn’t been heard from since, at least on any recorded payout lists. That Mac Attack Tour victory was only Valania’s second recorded payout anywhere, since he’d finished 17th in a Windy City Open 9-Ball event, 17 years ago.

On Saturday, Feb. 12, not only did Valania chalk up his second recorded win anywhere (of three payouts in the money), this time on the Garden State Tour (Stop #3), but in so doing, he turned 2022 into his best recorded earnings year at the tables, picking up more cash in the one event than he earned in the previous two. The $600-added event drew 61 entrants to Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Four of the first five matches that Valania played went double hill; only his winners’ side quarterfinal match against Frank Kasetta, which he won 6-4, avoided that fate, though only by a game. In a final deciding game, he got by (in order), Ginny Lewis, Marc Lamberti, Steve Persaud, after which he downed Kasetta to meet newcomer Onexi Flores. 

Rob Calton, in the meantime, who’d battle Valania twice (hot seat and finals), had to survive two double hill fights in his run to the winners’ side semifinals. He sent Chris Schmidt 7-5, Paul Raval 7-3, Rafael Acosta (double hill) and Jaydev Zaveri (double hill) to the loss side and turned to face Kevin Scalzitti in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Flores and Valania battled to double hill, as well, for a seat at the hot seat match table. Valania won it to face Calton, who’d downed Scalzitti 7-5. With Valania prevailing in yet another double hill fight to claim the hot seat, half of the 12 matches the two combatants had played went double hill.

On the loss side, Flores and Scalzitti handed David Jusis and Christian Orque their second straight loss and turned against each other in the quarterfinals. Flores prevailed 7-5 over Scalzitti to join Robert Calton in the semifinals. They’d both been sent to the loss side by Valania, waiting for one of them in the hot seat.

It was Calton who got the second shot at him, punctuating the semifinal victory by shutting Flores out. In the extended-race-to-9 finals, Calton needed to reach seven racks first for a chance to extend the race to nine games. Didn’t happen. At 2-2, Valania chalked up the next five to complete his undefeated run and claim his second regional tour title.

Valania will likely be looking to chalk up his third regional tour victory when the Garden State Tour settles in for an event this weekend (Sat., Feb. 26), at the site where Valania picked up his first – Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. 

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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.