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West comes from the loss side to win his second Bob Stocks Memorial title

Kevin West (Grant Wylie Photography)

The annual Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament, held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour, has developed something of a reputation for crowning new winners every year. Until this most recent, 13th annual tournament, only one competitor, Shaun Wilkie, had ever won it twice. On the weekend of April 13-14, Kevin West became the second. Having won this event in 2017, and after skipping the following year, which saw Zoren James Aranas and Dennis Orcollo battle in the finals, West returned to give it another shot. He was sent to the loss side by Brian Bryant in a winners’ side semifinal and came back after winning three to challenge and defeat Bryant in the finals. The event drew 31 entrants to First Break Café in Sterling, VA.
 
West was challenged early in this one; his first match, a double hill affair that eventually sent Paul Helms to the loss side. West moved on to defeat former Bob Stock Memorial Champion Brandon Shuff and Scott Roberts, both 9-5, to draw Bryant in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Bryant had defeated Alvin Thomas 9-6, Alex Parker, 9-3 and Paul Swinson 9-4 to meet West. Scott Haas, in the meantime, defeated Ali Gee 9-1, Andrew Manning 9-7 and Graham Swinson 9-3 to draw Chris Bruner in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Bryant sent West west 9-7 and in the hot seat match, faced Haas, who’d defeated Bruner 9-7. Bryant claimed the hot seat 9-5 Haas, and waited on the return of West.
 
On the loss side, West drew Steve Fleming, the tour’s #4-ranked player on the tour coming into the event, who, after being defeated by Chris Bruner 9-6 in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had defeated Bruce Choyce 7-1 and Brandon Shuff 7-5 to meet West. Bruner picked up Scott Roberts, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Mark Nanashee and eliminated Kirill Rutman to face Bruner.
 
West and Roberts advanced to the quarterfinals; West, 7-3 over Fleming and Roberts, 7-4 over Bruner, denying West a second shot at him. West took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over Roberts and then, downed Haas 7-4 in the semifinals.
 
The tightly contested final match between West and Bryant featured the maximum number of games possible in a race-to-11; 21, also known as double hill, but recognized, as well, as a lot of games to play to decide a winner. West dropped the final 9-Ball to claim his second Bob Stocks Memorial title.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at First Break Café, as well as sponsors East Coast Landscaping, Inc., Cue Sports International (CSI), Chix Cabinets Direct, Grant Wylie (professional photographer), Brown’s Mechanical, LLC, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the APT, will take players “Back to the Beach,” at an event scheduled for the weekend of May 18-19 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.

Pinegar wins 2019 SBE Pro Am Bar Box Championship

Jonathan Pinegar (Photo courtesy Super Billiards Expo)

Davis tops largest SBE field of 1,024 to win Amateur Open
 
In its multi-discipline, varied-skill format that, with some overlap among 11 events, drew over 3,000 pool players to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, PA over the weekend of March 28-31, the Super Billiard Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box Championships has always existed as something of a challenge. In 2018, they used the challenge in promoting the event, asking potential participants a simple question – How good do you really think you are?
 
Open to all levels of competitors, without restriction, its field is capped at 32 players, who play a ‘best of three set’ format with races to 6 in each set (all other Amateur events utilized the same format, although with races to 5 in each set). While encouraging and expecting a wide variety of players from the amateur to the pro, this year’s ProAm Bar Box Championships featured a field that was tipped somewhat toward the amateur end of things. Not completely, because it was won by 20-year veteran Jonathan Pinegar, who’s been winning and cashing in amateur and semi-pro events for nearly 20 years. Known throughout most of his career as “Hennessee from Tennessee,” Pinegar has, in recent years, been signing on to events with his given name. At this year’s SBE, he signed in as John Pinegar. This year’s runner-up was Demetrius Jelatis.
 
The posted brackets on the SBE Web site for all of the amateur events (including the ProAm Bar Box) do not indicate the scores of the individual sets, which masks the give and take of game-by-game scoring. Instead, each player is seen to have won their individual matches by only one of two possible outcomes; 2-0 or 2-1. There is no way of knowing, therefore, a given player’s game-winning percentage, only his or her set-winning percentage.
 
Pinegar won 10 of 12 sets he played over five matches. He opened with a 2-1 win over Alex Olinger, went 2-0 against Kevin West and allowed Scott Haas a single set in the third round, which brought him to a semifinal matchup against Justin Espinosa. Jelatis, in the meantime, won eight of the 12 sets he played over five matches. He opened with two straight 2-0 set victories over Shane Clayton and Alan Rolan, before giving up a set to Ryan McCreesh. This set him (Jelatis) up against Jorge Rodriguez in the other semifinal. Rodriguez is another one of those competitors who’s been competing at the semi-pro and pro-level for years.
 
Pinegar got into the finals with a 2-0 set victory over Espinosa. Jelatis joined him after a 2-1 set victory over Rodriguez. Pinegar completed his undefeated (in sets) run with a 2-0 victory over Jelatis.
 
Davis goes undefeated in his individual bracket, advances to win Amateur Open
 
In the largest field of the SBE, the Amateur Open, 1,024 entrants initially split up into 16 brackets of 64 players each. Each of those brackets delivered a single player to a Final 16 bracket. Phil Davis didn’t lose a single set (best of three sets in races to 5) in his initial bracket, going 2-0 against Chris Garrett, Matt Clatterbuck, Mark Alicea, Paul Swinson, Richard Anderson and in his bracket’s finals, Jason Balas. He gave up his first set in the opening round of the single-elimination final 16 bracket, going 2-1 against Joe Wright. He went back to his 2-0 pattern against Mark Nanashee in the second round, which moved him into the semifinals against Julio Burgos.
 
Raed Shabib, in the meantime, gave up his first set, in the opening round of his 64-player bracket, to Christopher Balderson. He didn’t give up another one until his bracket finals, having gone 2-0 against Abel Rosario, John Hoge, Bill Mason and Randy Tate. He took the bracket final 2-1 over James Adams. He opened the Final 16 portion of his run with a 2-1 victory over George Crawford and then downed Brett Stottlemeyer 2-0, to arrive at a semifinal against Chris Bruner.
 
Davis and Shabib advanced to the finals with identical 2-1 set victories over Burgos and Bruner, respectively. Davis completed his undefeated run with a 2-1 victory over Shabib in the finals.
 
Amateur highlights
 
The next highest attended Amateur tournament was the Open Seniors event (for 50+), which drew 384 entrants. Originally split into eight preliminary brackets, yielding a single winner, the event was won by Bobby Connor. He advanced through the Final 8 field with set wins over Oscar Bonilla and Dennis Spears, both 2-1. He was met in the finals by Efrain Morales, who’d defeated Joe Armeni 2-1 and Chuck Ross 2-0. Connor didn’t give up a set in claiming the Open Seniors title.
 
Next up, with 192 entrants, was the Super Seniors (65+), who started in four initial brackets, yielding a very short final field of four. Ed Matushoneck downed Tom Acciavatti 2-1 to claim his spot in the finals, and was joined by Ronny Park, who’d defeated Nelson Rivera 2-1. Matushoneck claimed the Super Seniors title with a 2-0 win over Park.
 
The Amateur Ladies drew 188, just four less than the Super Seniors. Combined, those two events would have yielded an enormously entertaining field with just four less than the Open Seniors event. As it was, the 188 ladies, like the Super Seniors, started with four initial 64-player brackets (with a number of opening round byes) and ended with a final field of 4. Rachel Lang and Michelle Jiang advanced to the finals without giving up a set to either Marie-France Blanchette and Stacey Tonkin. Lang downed Jiang in the finals two sets to one.
 
In the 12 and under Juniors event, which drew 56 entrants, Parker Jakubczak downed 2018 11 & under Junior National Champion Kyle Yi in the finals 2-1. In the 17 & under category, which drew 76 entrants, two-time 14 & under National Junior Champion Nathan Childress defeated Ivo Linkin in two straight sets.

Kazakis Makes It Three In A Row At The Spot

Ruslan Chinakhov and Alex Kazakis (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Alex Kazakis made it “three in a row” with another undefeated run through the field at The Perfect Storm Open event at The Spot Billiards in Nanuet, NY on November 9th – 11th. 
 
After his undefeated run and victory over Tony Robles in the Grand Master’s division of the NYC 8-Ball Championship at Steinway Billiards on November 3rd – 4th, Kazakis then came from the one loss side to double dip James Aranas at the Sandcastle Billiards’ Player Relief Open 9-Ball event on November 8th. Kazakis kept up his winning ways over the weekend of November 9th – 11th with another undefeated run, this time in the Men’s Pro 10-Ball division at The Spot. 
 
Kazakis had wins over Ryan McCreesh, Mike Dechaine, RYan Lineham and then Ruslan Chinakhov for the hot-seat. On the one loss side, Chinakhov had a rematch with Casper Matikainen who had lost to Chinakhov in the first round. Chinakhov was successful again in the rematch, but still couldn’t get by Kazakis in the finals. 
 
The Men’s Pro event was only one of four events that took place at The Spot over the long weekend. A six player round robin Women’s Pro event saw Chezka Centeno come out on top of the field, with Kyoko Sone taking second. The Women’s Amateur division was won by Jia Li, who defeated Borana Andoni for the hot-seat and again in the finals. Finally, the Men’s Amateur division was won by Ryan Lineham, who defeated Mark Nanashee for the hot-seat and then Mhet Vergara in the finals. 
 
The Spot added $1000 to each Pro event and co-owner Lenore Donovan-Chen was appreciative of everyone for their help managing the different divisions and players on this weekend. She thanked event sponsors Pro Vapes Liquid and Clutch Shot Apparel, Upstate Al for streaming the event and Ariel Roy Francisco from Roy’s Basement for bringing his players out to support the event. 

Shuff slices through a field of 79 to claim inaugural MD State 10-Ball Championships

Brandon Shuff (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Aranas wins nine on the loss side to challenge him in the finals
 
Brandon Shuff chalked up his first 2018 major event victory at the On the Hill Productions’ 2018 Maryland State 10-Ball Championships, navigating his way through a field of 79 entrants at Champion Billiards in Frederick, MD on the weekend of Sept. 22-23. He went undefeated through that field.  In the end, he claimed the title by defeating, in his final two matches, Earl Strickland for the hot seat and in the finals, Philipines’ Zoren James Aranas, who'd won nine on the loss side to challenge him and was looking to earn his eighth 2018 title.
 
It was an extraordinarily robust field of entrants for an event with a total prize package of just under $6,000 ($5,925) and included a list of this and other country’s top players, beginning with Shuff, Aranas and Strickland. Also on hand were Shaun Wilkie, Zion Zvi, Alex Osipov, Matt Krah and Jorge Rodriguez. There were women competing, as well; among them, Karen Corr, Jennifer Barretta and Kia Sidbury.
 
It was, said Shuff, in a post-finals interview with Billiard Sports Network, the first time that he’d been able to leap the ‘Zoren James Aranas’ hurdle. They’d met, most recently, in April at the 2nd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial, where Shuff was defending the title he’d won in the inaugural event. Aranas sent Shuff to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal match, and though he’d come back through five loss-side matches to challenge him in the finals, Aranas defeated him a second time to claim that title.
 
This time, it was Aranas coming from the loss side. It was Shaun Wilkie who sent Aranas over 7-5 in the second round, which launched the nine-match, loss-side streak that ended in the finals. Shuff in the meantime, was launching his own uninterrupted winners’ side streak with victories over Mark Nanashee 7-2, Kenny Rutman 7-1, Matt Krah in a double hill fight, and Jennifer Barretta 7-4. Shuff drew Eddie Abraham in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
 
Also in the meantime, Earl Strickland was working on the winners’ side toward a meetup with Shuff in the hot seat match. Strickland had downed Eric Gonzalez 7-3, shut out Corey Rausch, defeated Dylan Spohr 7-2, sent James Blackburn west 7-1 and got into a winners’ side semifinal match against Del Sim with a 7-3 win over Wilkie.
 
Strickland got into the hot seat match with a 7-1 win over Sim. Shuff joined him after a 7-5 victory over Abraham. In the battle for the hot seat, their respective Fargo Ratings – 775 for Strickland and 738 for Shuff – gave Strickland a 68.1% edge in their race to 7. In the first of two straight matches, Shuff defied the odds and claimed the hot seat with a 7-4 win.
 
Meanwhile, back at the loss-side ranch, Aranas was working his way through to a meetup with Abraham. Aranas had most recently defeated Joey Korsiak 7-4 (loss-side win #6) and eliminated Wilkie (#7) 7-5 to reach him. Sim drew Jennifer Barretta, originally sent to the loss side by Shuff in the fifth round, who’d most recently defeated Tom Matikainen 7-4 and survived a double hill fight against Adam Kielar.
 
Aranas advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-3 victory over Abraham, and was joined by Sim, who’d eliminated Barretta 7-4. Barretta’s finish in the tie for 5th place made her the top finishing female at this event. Corr finished just out of the money in the eight-way tie for 25th.
 
Aranas and Sim then locked up in a quarterfinal, double hill fight which eventually sent Aranas to a semifinal match against Strickland. Aranas got his shot at Shuff in the hot seat with a 7-3 win over Strickland.
 
Shuff and Aranas entered the finals with a 68-point differential in their respective Fargo Ratings; Aranas with the advantage, 806 to 738. The calculated ‘odds’ gave Aranas an 80.6% advantage in their race to 7.
 
Shuff didn’t get the Fargo memo. He downed Aranas 7-5 in those finals to win his first 2018 title and claim the first Maryland State 10-Ball Championships.
 
Tour directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Champion Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors McDermott Cues, Navigator Tips, Phillippe Cues, Lights Out Billiards Apparel, TAP Pool League (Chesapeake Bay), Billiards Sports Network, Aramith Balls, and Simonis Cloth. The next On the Hill Productions’ event, scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 3-4, will be the Maryland State 10-Ball Bar Table Championships, to be hosted by Bank Shot Bar & Grill in Laurel, MD.

Zippler and Jackson split top prizes on March 29 Mezz Tour stop

Tom Zippler and Shawn Jackson having played one match to its conclusion, opted out of a second, splitting the top two prizes. The undefeated Zippler claimed the $1,000-added, A-D Mezz Tour event title, which had drawn 26 entrants to the Magic 8 Cue Club in Cockeysville, MD on Sunday, March 29. 
 
They met first in the hot seat match. Zippler had downEd Scott Hass 7-3, while Jackson was not-so-busy, giving up only a single rack to Edd Moody. Zippler played what proved to be the title match and sent Jackson to the semifinals 7-2.
 
On the loss side, Hass picked up Trevor Dentz, who'd defeated Garrett Waechter 7-5 and just did get by Jim O'Hara 7-6. Moody drew Dan McGinnis, who'd just given up one rack to Al Tonelli and eliminated Mark Nanashee 7-4. Moody and McGinnis locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Moody to the quarterfinals, where he faced Dentz, who'd defeated Hass 7-2.
 
Dentz advanced to the semifinals with a 7-4 victory over Moody in the quarters. By the same score, Jackson sent Dentz home and got a second shot at Zippler in the hot seat. It was a shot the two didn't take. They opted out of a final, split the top two prizes and allowed Zippler to claim the official victory.

Krah and Abraham split top prizes on Mezz Pro/Am

Last week (February 15), on the Mezz Pro Am Tour, Michael Wong, in the hot seat, split the top two prizes with Matt Krah. This week (Sunday, February 22), Krah, in the hot seat, split the top two prizes with Eddie Abraham at the $1,000-added event that drew 32 entrants to Drexeline Billiards in Drexel Hill, PA. 
 
Unlike the week prior, during which the potential finalists had not met in a match, Krah and Abraham squared off to claim the hot seat. Abraham had sent last week's winner, Wong, to the losers' bracket, as Krah was doing the same to Mark Nanashee; both 7-5. Krah claimed the hot seat 7-4.
 
On the losers' side, Wong picked up Adam Kielar, who'd been defeated in the second round of winners' side play by Abraham and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that included  6-3 and 6-4 wins over Mike Saleh and Dustin Olsen. Nanashee drew Raphael Saldana, who'd eliminated Rob Hontz 6-4 and Vinne Cimarelli 6-2 to reach him.
 
Saldana handed Nanashee his second loss 6-2, as Kielar finished Wong 6-1. Kielar then downed Saldana 6-4 in the quarterfinals to earn himself a rematch against Abraham. Abraham downed Kielar a second time, 6-4, in the semifinals, before he and Krah opted out of playing a final match and chose to split the top two prizes.

Hontz comes from the loss side to defeat Praseutsy in Mezz Tour finals

Rob Hontz, owner Bob Maidhof, Michael Praseutsy and Wes Dobson

From among the final eight on the winners' side of the bracket in the opening stop on the 2014 Mezz Tour, Rob Hontz fought a double hill, ultimately unsuccessful battle against Mike Saleh, which sent him to the loss side. Hontz then won five in a row, and fought an ultimately successful battle against hot seat occupant, Michael Praseutsy, to claim the title. The $1,000-added, A-D handicapped event, held on the weekend of January 10-11, drew 32 entrants to Drexeline Billiards in Drexel Hill, PA.

 
With Hontz out of the way, Saleh moved into a winners' side semifinal against Wes Dobson, while Praseutsy faced Gary Serano. Saleh ended up in a second straight double hill match, but this one sent him to the losers' bracket and Dobson into the hot seat match. Praseutsy downed Serano 7-3, and then, by the same score, got into the hot seat over Dobson.
 
Hontz began his trek back to the finals with his second straight double hill match, winning this one, over George Ellinger. He came within a game of a third double hill match when he defeated Vinny Cimarelli 7-5, which set him up to face Serano. Saleh picked up Mark Nanashee, who'd shut out A.J. Fitzgerald and defeated Owen Collins 7-4 to reach him.
 
Hontz' opportunity for a re-match against Saleh was denied him when Nanashee defeated Saleh, double hill. Instead, after giving up only a single rack to Serano, Hontz faced Nanashee in the quarterfinals, where a 7-4 win gave him a shot at Dobson in the semifinals.
 
Hontz took full advantage. He gave up another solo rack to Dobson and entered the finals with a 35-17 loss-side record. By agreement, Hontz and Praseutsy opted out of a double elimination final, agreeing to play a single match for the title. Hontz won it 7-5 to claim the first stop on the 2014 Mezz Tour.
 
Tour director Jose Burgos thanked owner Bob Maidhof and his Drexeline Billiards staff, as well as sponsors Mezz Cues, Gamblin Clothing, Kamui Chalk, JD Custom Cues, Allen Hopkins Super Billiards Expo, John Barton, JB Cases, Jabcues and Things, Billiard Life, Howitzer Break Cues, and Steve Klapp Custom Cues.
 

Maidhof undefeated for Mezz Tour win

Joey Testa, Bob Maidhof, Darren Appleton and Shaun Wilkie

The Mezz Pro-Am Tour made its way to Drexeline Billiards in Drexel Hill Pa on Sunday March 18th.  A strong field of 36 came out to play, including such notables as Darren Appleton, Shaun Wilkie, Bob Maidhof, Joey Testa, Matt Krah, Mike Miller and Adam Kielar to name a few.

Leading the top half of the bracket was Bob Maidhof with wins over Bob Burt 7-5, Mark Nanashee 7-0, Jayson Shaw 7-6, Eric Perry 7-2, and Shaun Dobson 7-5. 

Leading the bottom half of the bracket was Shaun Wilkie with wins over Matt Krah 7-1, Adam Kiear 7-1, Kenny Rutman 7-6 , and Darren Appleton 7-5.

Playing for the hot seat was Shaun Wilkie Vs Bob Maidhof. This was a one sided match with Bob Maidhof winning easily 7-1.  Waiting for Shaun Wilkie was Darren Appleton. This was a rematch from earlier that day. This was a great match that went hill hill and for the second time in the day Shaun Wilkie defeated Darren Appleton 6-5 to get to the finals.

In the finals it was Shaun Wilkie Vs Bob Maidhof, Shaun Wilkie would have to beat Bob Maidhof twice to win the event but this day belonged to Bob Maidhof as he won easily 5-1 to win the event.

I would like to thank all the players and the sponsors for their ongoing support.