Archive Page

Lang goes undefeated on Garden State Pool Tour to claim her second gender-mixed event

Rachel Lang and Alfredo Altamirano

She won a ladies’ event on the Garden State Pool Tour last July, in which she rebounded from an opening-round loss and went on to claim the title. Rachel Lang, runner-up in the APA’s US Amateur tournament in 2022, won her first (recorded) mixed-gender event six years ago on the Tri-State Tour (now, the Predator Tri-State Tour), and last weekend (Jan. 28-29), she chalked up her second ‘playin’ with the boys, too’ title, going undefeated through a field of 67 entrants that signed on to the $300-added event, hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Split into separate, upper/lower Fargo Rate brackets, Rachel went at things from the upper bracket with her Fargo Rate of 560. She got by some of the ‘big boys,’ too, on her way to the title, downing Sean Emmitt (526), Jaydev Zaveri (607), Dinko Busanich (double hill; 637) and Julien Tierney (599) to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against Hunter Sullivan (600). In the meantime, Paul Madonia, Sr., having gotten by Donald Henriquez, Edwin Balcarcel, Kevin Serodio and Lysander Diaz, faced Aaron Wagner in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lang defeated Sullivan 5-3, as Madonia sent Wagner to the loss side, double hill. And then, something very strange happened. Having won their winners’ side semifinal, Lang and Wagner did not move into the hot seat match. Instead, in order to advance to the finals, they had to play someone from their individual bracket’s loss side. But this didn’t happen right away. They had to wait until the first loss-side matches played by Sullivan and Wagner were completed, at which point, Lang would face whoever won Sullivan’s match and Madonia would meet up with the winner of Wagner’s match.

Sullivan and Wagner moved to the loss side and were met by Sylvain Anichini and Alfredo Altamirano, respectively. Anichini had defeated Dinko Busanich, double hill and Jaydev Zaveri 5-1 to draw Sullivan, while Altamirano was busy eliminating Kevin Serodio 5-3 and Paul Murphy 5-2 to pick up Wagner.

Two double hill matches ensued in pursuit of advancement in what amounted to a separated bracket for the event’s final four. Altamirano downed Wagner 6-3 (Wagner racing to 4), as, in a straight up race to 5, Anichini eliminated Sullivan 5-4.

Back come Lang and Madonia, still on the winner’s side, and in essence, skipping a hot seat match. Lang faced Anichini, as Madonia took on Altamirano. And just when you thought it was heading into normal bracket-advancement territory, those two matches were double sets, requiring the loss-side competitors to win twice. Lang lost the opening set to Anichini 6-4, but came back in the second set to defeat him 5-1, in what proved to be the de facto hot seat match, leaving Lang in the undefeated hot seat. 

Altamirano had to and did defeat Madonia twice, double hill in the first set 6-5 and 5-1 in the second set, advancing to the single set final against Lang. So, the two finalists were set before the final loss-side match between Madonia and Manichini was played to determine 3rd and 4th place.

Madonia grabbed 3rd place with a 5-4 win over Manichini (Manichini racing to 6). Lang claimed the event title with an 8-6 win in the single set final.

Tour director David Fitzpatrick thanked the ownership and staff at Rockaway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as Billiards Engineering, InTheBox, JFLowers Cues & Cases, John Bender Custom Cues, Off the Rail Apparel, Kamui and Jennifer Pedtum for her assistance in running the event. The next stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 4-5), will be hosted by Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Go to discussion...

Trzeciak wins seven on the loss side and after forfeit by Kemp, captures official Tri-State title

(l to r): Artur Trzeciak & Chris Kemp

Normally, when a final match in any event is not played, for whatever reason, it’s the undefeated hot seat occupant who claims the official event title. Not so on Sunday, Feb. 10, when, at the end of a long night on the Tri-State Tour, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning, hot seat occupant Chris Kemp (owner of the host venue, Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ) opted out of a final match against Artur Trzeciak, who’d won seven loss-side matches to reach the finals and was willing to play that final match. Kemp, in the role of gracious host, deferred his claim to the title and the trophy went to Trzeciak. The $1,000-added 8-ball event drew 29 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards.
Trzeciak opened what would be his primarily loss-side day with a victory over Dennis Quinn, before being narrowly defeated by tour regular Bob Toomey 5-4. From there, it was off to the loss side races and his seven-match trip back to the finals.
Kemp worked his way through Joe Mazzeo, Fernando Galeas and John Durr to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Tri Chau. Michelle Brotons, in the meantime, on her way to only her second 3rd place finish on the tour (she was runner-up in the Women’s Leisure Division of the 2017 NYC 8-Ball Championships) got by Kevin Serodio and John DeVito (both double hill) to arrive at her own winners’ side semifinal matchup against Jake Kislowski.
Kemp got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Chau. Brotons joined him after sending Kislowski to the loss side 5-2. Kemp claimed the hot seat 6-4 and presumably resumed duties as the room owner, while waiting for Trzeciak to complete his loss-side run.
On the loss side, Trzeciak got by Kimberly Kowzu, Dennis Quinn (a second time) and John DeVito before avenging his loss against Toomey 5-3. This set him up to face Kislowski, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Chau drew Grzegorz Kasica, who’d recently defeated Frank Sieczka 5-3 and shut out Kevin Serodio to reach him.
Kasica and Trzeciak, good friends, advanced to meet each other in the quarterfinals. Kasica downed Chau 6-4, as Trzeciak was busy defeating Kislowski 5-1. Trzeciak eliminated Kasica in those quarterfinals 5-3.
Brotons, already assured of duplicating her best finish on the tour, to date, was looking for more in the semifinals, but fell short 5-2. Kemp and Trzeciak opted out of the final match, with Trzeciak claiming the title and trophy.
Tour representatives thanked Kemp and his Shooters Family Billiards staff 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, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, February 17) will be an A/B/C/D event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Joseph goes undefeated to claim his first Tri-State title

Mark Joseph and Clint Pires

When Mark Joseph and Clint Pires met in the hot seat match and finals of the November 25 stop on the Tri-State Tour, it guaranteed them their second appearance in the AZ database; Pires had finished 4th on a Tri-State stop in August at Clifton Billiards, Joseph finished 5th a month later at Shooter’s Billiards in Wayne, NJ. Joseph won both matches to claim his first regional tour title. The $1,000-added event drew 25 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
Following and opening round bye and victories over Richard Brother and Allison LaFleur, Joseph moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Teddy Lapadula. Pires, in the meantime, got by Mike Strassberg, Artur Trzeciak and Gil McGrath to face Alfredo Altamirano in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Both matches went double hill, sending Joseph and Pires into the hot seat match, while Lapadula and Altamirano moved to the loss side. They had both secured their highest finish on the tour, but neither of them was finished. Joseph gave up only a single rack to Pires in their hot seat matchup (5-1) and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Kevin Serodio, who’d lost his opening round to Jowen Pichardo, was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that came within a game of derailing Pires’ bid for a rematch against Joseph. Victories over Luis Lopez and Shane Soto were followed by a 5-2 win over Bob Toomey, and a 5-1 victory over Greg Partlow, which set Serodio up to meet Lapadula. Altamirano, in the meantime, drew Carlos Serrano, who’d gotten by Gil McGrath 5-3 and Michelle Brotons 5-1 to reach him.
Identical 5-1 scores sent Altamirano (over Serrano) and Serodio (over Lapadula) to the quarterfinals, where Serodio chalked up loss-side win #5 over Altimarano 5-3.
Pires was already in a position to record his best finish on the tour when he arrived from the hot seat match to face Serodio in the semifinals. He secured a minimum runner-up finish with a double hill win that ended Serodio’s loss-side winning streak.
In some ways, for both Joseph and Pires, it didn’t matter who won the final match. Both were assured of their best finish, to date, on the tour. But in other ways, it mattered a lot, because they battle to double hill to decide it. In the extended race-to-7 final, if Pires reached five first, the match would extend to seven games. Pires forced that extension and was able to chalk up another rack to reach the hill, but Joseph hung on to win it and claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton 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 December 2, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Almodovar goes undefeated to claim his first Tri-State title

(l to r): Jerry Almodovar & Kevin Serodio

Jerry Almodovar has cashed, according to our records, four times at a combination of Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tour stops over the past three years; his highest finish coming in the Predator tour’s Tour Championships last December, at which he finished fourth. Almodovar broke through on Sunday, Oct. 28, with an undefeated run on the Tri-State Tour, downing Paul Wilkens in the battle for the hot seat and splitting the top two prizes with Kevin Serodio, following a decision not to play a final match. The $1,000-added event drew 25 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.
Following victories over Bernie Vogelsang, Mike Strassberg and Tim Demarest, Almodovar moved into a winner’s side semifinal against Serodio. Wilkens, in the meantime, having defeated Neil Walmsley, Jaydev Zaveri and Rick Rodriguez, squared off against Eddie Medina. Almodovar won the only match he played against Serodio 6-3 and was joined in the hot seat match by Wilkens, who’d sent Medina west in a double hill battle. Almodovar claimed the hot seat and, in effect, the event title 7-3 over Wilkens.
On the loss side, Serodio picked up Michelle Brotons, fourth on the Tri-State’s list of top-ranked females and 7th on its list of C players, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. She’d downed Shweta Zaveri 7-5 and Tim Demarest 7-4 to reach Serodio. Medina drew David Schaeffer, who’d just eliminated Luis Jimenez 7-3 and Walmsley 7-5.
Medina advanced to the quarterfinals 7-2 over Schaeffer and was met by Serodio, who’d defeated Brotons, double hill. Serodio went on to defeat Medina 7-4 in those quarterfinals.
In what proved to be the last match of the night, Serodio earned a shot against Almodovar in the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Wilkens in the semifinals. Having played once in a winners’ side semifinal that sent Almodovar to the hot seat match, Almodovar and Serodio opted out of a second match and split the top two prizes.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Cappelle, 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, Nov. 4, will be a Double Points 10-Ball event, Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Mejia goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State stop in four years

Rafael Alberto and Ricardo Mejia

All of Ricardo Mejia’s recorded pool tournament payouts have been on the Tri-State Tour, dating back to January, 2011 when he showed up in the AZBilliards database for the first time with a third-place finish. He’d record his best earnings year in 2013 by showing up on the payout lists of the Tri-State five times; a 2nd, a 5th and three 7th place finishes. In January of 2014, he won a stop on the tour, going undefeated through a field of 37, and finishing the tour season as the #6-ranked player in the B+ Class. On Sunday, August 5, Mejia chalked up his second Tri-State win in another undefeated performance, which did not feature a final match. He and Rafael Alberto opted out of playing a final, and as the hot seat occupant, Mejia became the official winner. The $1000-added event drew 35 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
Mejia and Alberto met first in the event’s second round. Mejia prevailed and sent Alberto on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would eventually put him into the finals that never happened. Mejia, in the meantime, advanced through the field to draw Kevin Serodio in a winners’ side semifinal. Mike Strassberg and Sung Lee met in the other one. Mejia downed Serodio 8-6 and met up with Strassberg, who’d survived a double hill match against Lee. Mejia then claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Strassberg in what proved to be his last match.
On the loss side, with four notches on his loss-side belt, Alberto got by Tri Chau and Teddy Lapadula, both 7-4, to draw Serodio. Lee picked up Clint Pires, who’d defeated Jose Pereya 6-3 and Jake Kislowski 7-5 to reach him.
Alberto eliminated Serodio 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Pires, who’d sent Lee home in a double hill win. Alberto gave up only two racks to Pires to win that quarterfinal, and finished his loss-side run with a double hill win over Strassberg in the semifinals. He and Mejia opted out of the finals (listed as an official forfeit by Alberto) and Mejia had his ‘asterisk’ second victory on the Tri-State Tour.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton 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 12, will be a C/D handicapped, $1,000-added, Double Points 8-Ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

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.

Nick Quaglia Takes Down Garden State Tour’s First Event

Max Watanabe and Nick Quaglia

Weather in New Jersey was supposed to be bad on Saturday Afternoon, the 17th. Eleven players showed up for this first event, in a new pool room as well. Black Diamond Billiards located in Union, New Jersey.
Players such as Max Watanabe, Teddy "One Peace" Lapadula, John (JACK) Egeln, David Fitzpatrick to play in this amateur A-D event.
The format was 9-Ball races to 6, alternate breaks, and rack your own. Double elimination. Finals were, one race to 9. Even though there were only 11 players, $100 was still added.
The Top 4 players received trophies as well as QuicSlicks from Billiard Engineering . The bracket was split for a A-B side & a C-D side. Nick Quaglia was placed on the A-B side as well as David Fitzpatrick and Teddy Lapadula.  Max Watanabe and Marcelo Adinolfi were the A & B class players. On the lower side C-D Class players. John Egeln, Ralph  Ramos Sr. & Ralph Ramos Jr, Kevin Serodio , Mark Lamberti.
Max & Marcelo was the first match to be called. A battle however Max won a 6 to 4.  David & Teddy battled it out to a 6 to 5 win for Teddy.
On the C-D side of the chart Mark Lamberti was coming through with 3 hill hill wins, then sent Kevin Serodio to the one lose side.
Max and Nick traded games back and forth. At hill-hill, the 7 & 9 were stuck in an awkward position. Max attempted to play a safe. Nick took advantage and advanced to play Mark.
Mark couldn't hold on and Nick won 6 to 1, sending Nick into the Finals. 
On the one lose side John Egeln was showing what an old timer can do. After losing a first round hill hill match to Kevin Serodio, John won 6-2 , 6-0 , and 6-1 to get his rematch.
John took an early 3 to 1 lead, but after hanging a couple 9-Balls he lost his momentum and Kevin took advantage and won 6 to 4. On the one loss A-B side, Marcelo took care of business beating David Fitzpatrick 6 to 5 and Teddy Lapadula 6 to 2 which set up a rematch with Max. These two traded shot for shot, before Max was able to come through for a 6 to 5 win. 
Kevin Serodio then had to play Max and Max got on a roll to steamroll Kevin 6 to 1. Max's next match was against Mark Lamberti and the winner would advance to play Nick in the Finals.This was a real David vs. Goliath match. Whatever Max would do, Mark found a way to answer, kicking and banking balls in. The match was really closer than indicated by the final score of 6-4.
The finals started slow. One race to 9, but after the players fought to a 3-3 tie Nick started to pick up steam. When Nick led 7-4, Max came back with 2 more racks making it 7-6. They then traded racks for an 8-7 score  In the last game Max misplayed a crucial safety on the 7 ball. Nick played a nice 3 ball run and clinched the win for the tours first event. The final 4 players cashed, received beautiful trophies and QuicSlicks. 
David Fitzpatrick is the tournament director of The Garden State Pool Tour and he thanked the players who came out for the tournament, Kneil Shah – owner of Black Diamond Billiards – for hosting the event and Billiards Engineering for their donations of the QuicSlicks.  The Garden State Tour's next event is March 24,2018 again at Black Diamond Billiards. That event will be a Ladies 9-Ball Open event.
More information about the tour can be found out on the tour's Facebook page. FACEBOOK: Garden State Pool Tour NJ.