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Gorst goes undefeated in delayed 14th Bob Stocks Memorial

Fedor Gorst and Shane Wolford (TTMD)

There were a lot of events going on this past Easter weekend, particularly on the East Coast and the multiplicity of them led to a few crossover competitors, reducing the numbers here, increasing them there. This past weekend’s 14th Bob Stocks Memorial (April 16), usually held on an annual basis, came two years after the last one in 2019. Formerly held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour, ThinkTechMD picked up the reins for this year’s edition. Initially capping the field at 64, that number fell to 52 for a variety of different reasons, and when it began, there were only 30.

Fedor Gorst went undefeated through the field, advancing first on the winners’ side of a double elimination bracket and then, winning four matches in a single elimination bracket to claim the title. Gorst and junior competitor Shane Wolford advanced through the winners’ side of the double elimination bracket and were one of the eight chosen from that side of the bracket to compete in the single elimination phase of the event. Had the double elimination bracket continued, they would have faced off in a winners’ side quarterfinal. As it turned out, after the redraw to single elimination, they showed up at opposite ends of the single elimination bracket and met, for the first and last time, in the event final. The $1,500-added event drew its 30 entrants to First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA.

Gorst played two matches on the winners’ side of the double elimination bracket, downing Rafael Reyes (1) and Matt Krah (0) by an aggregate score of 14-1. Wolford advanced through Lenny Valley (4) and Thang Nguyen (3) to arrive at the same winners’ side spot. Joining the eventual finalists in the single elimination phase were, from the winners’ side, Chris Hansen and Nathan Childress, Derick Daya and Manny Chau, as well as Kristina Tkach and Scott Haas.

The last eight left standing on the losers’ side and advancing to single elimination were Thomas Haas, Eric Heiland, Dylan Spohr, Rafael Reyes, Matt Krah, Brandon Shuff, Bart Czapla and John Moody, Sr.

Heiland and Spohr advanced to the event’s final eight after defeating Daya and Childress, respectively. Gorst got by Reyes and was joined in the final eight by Chau, who’d defeated Thomas Haas. Moody, Sr. and Shuff advanced as well, eliminating Scott Haas and Kristina Tkach. Wolford downed Matt Krah, and was joined among the final eight by Chris Hansen, who’d defeated Czapla.

The winners in the four, quarterfinal matches advanced by an aggregate score of 48-16. Shuff and Wolford downed Moody, Sr. and Hansen by the same 11-5 score. Gorst eliminated Chau 11-4 and Spohr gave up only two racks versus Heiland.

The semifinal matches pitted Gorst against Spohr and Shuff against Wolford. Gorst eliminated Spohr 11-5. Shuff gave Wolford a run for his money, coming within a game of forcing a twenty-first deciding game, but in the end, Wolford pulled out in front, advancing to the final against Gorst 11-9.

The final match was an extended race-to-13. Though similar in age (early 20s), the combatants were quite different in how far each had come to this point in their pool careers; Wolford, more or less just starting out and Gorst, already a recognized world-class professional player. Though Wolford would chalk up twice as many racks against Gorst as any of his previous challengers (Reyes and Spohr had managed five against him in races to 11), Gorst got out ahead of Wolford and closed the 14th Bob Stocks Memorial with a 13-10 victory to claim the title. 

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The “Munchkin” breaks through, downs Stottlemeyer to claim MD State 8-Ball Championships

Brett Stottlemyer and Steve Johnson

“He’s short,” said Loye Bolyard, co-tour director of On the Hill Productions’ Maryland State Championship events, “and people were always busting on him about it.”

Over the years, Steve Johnson has good-naturedly absorbed an expected array of potential nicknames related to his height; “Shorty,” of course, being the most common. Until one day, he corrected someone by suggesting that they refer to him as the “Munchkin.” It’s stuck, if not before, certainly now, as the “Munchkin” just completed a successful run through a field of 50 entrants at this past weekend’s (March 12-13) MD State 8-Ball Championships. According to Bolyard, while Johnson’s been a regular competitor on the MD State series of events, as well as a cash winner at any number of small, venue-specific tournaments, it’s the first time that the “Munchkin” has recorded a major (recorded) tournament payout and it was a win. The event drew its 50 entrants to Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

It’s rare to the point of being remarkable that a player with almost no known history of success at the tables can break through at a tournament featuring a number of better-known and presumably, better players. Not completely unheard of, but certainly rare enough to gain ‘remarkable’ status. And while the game was 8-ball, known to offer players more kinds of opportunities to frustrate opponent plans, and he wasn’t up against the likes of Jayson Shaw, Shane Van Boening or Fedor Gorst, the “Munchkin” didn’t get a lot of luck from the bracket draws. He had to get by (among others) the likes of Matt Krah, Jimmy Rivera, Scott Haas and eventually, had to double dip Brett Stottlemeyer in the finals to claim his first event title.

“We don’t know what happened,” said Bolyard. “He’d won one of those weekly tournaments the Friday before and he just kept his nerves under control. He was really calm all the way through.”

“He kept his composure together and everything just clicked for him,” he added. “He was able (in the finals) to put Brett in some lockdowns; good ones that stopped runouts. He had him 4-0 in that first set.”

It started well for the “Munchkin.” He opened with a shutout over Tim Metter and then got by Christie Hurdel and Joseph Wright, Jr. before encountering Matt Krah in a winners’ side quarterfinal. They fought the proverbial ‘tooth and nail’ to 5-5 before Johnson picked up ‘6,’ advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against Jimmy Rivera. Like Johnson, Stottlemeyer opened with a shutout (over Bruce Brunnell) before facing his own ‘rogue’s gallery’ of familiar combatants, any one of whom could have derailed his trip to the hot seat; Rick Miller, Steve Fleming and, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, Scott Haas. Going into the winners’ side quarterfinals, there was a potential father/son battle for the hot seat looming on the event horizon. But while Thomas did his part, downing Thomas Zippler 6-3, Stottlemeyer sent his Dad to the loss side in a double hill fight and picked up son Thomas in the other winners’ side semifinal. This shifted the potential father/son battle to the loss side, where they eventually met in the quarterfinals.

Stottlemeyer made short work of son Thomas Haas 6-1, as Johnson was dispatching Rivera to the loss side 6-4. In the first of their three matches, Stottlemeyer dominated, for the second time in a row giving up only a single rack. He sat in the hot seat, one would assume, fairly confident that he’d be chalking up the one win he needed to claim the title.  

On the loss side, the Haas family was at work, looking to match up in the quarterfinals. Dad had followed his loss to Stottlemeyer with victories over Bryan Jones 6-2 and Zippler 6-1 to draw Rivera. Son Thomas picked up Eric Lyons, who was working on a modest four-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Matt Krah 6-4 and co-tour director Rick Scarlato, Jr. 6-1.

Father and son downed their respective opponents, Rivera and Lyons, by the same 6-3 score and the quarterfinal family fight was on. Oddly enough, it was won by the same 6-3 score that had made the match happen. It was Dad Scott who advanced to the semifinals against the “Munchkin.” 

The reportedly “calm” and “composed” Johnson kept the ‘cool’ going in the face of a double hill challenge from the last Haas standing. He weathered that storm, eliminating Haas to put an even more daunting challenge on his ‘dance card;’ the necessary two-step tango to pry Brett Stottlemeyer from his perch in the hot seat.

The “Munchkin” grabbed the first set 6-3, which almost certainly had a way of boosting his confidence, while on the other side of the table, the pressure was suddenly on. Johnson won the second set 6-4 to claim MD State’s 8-Ball Championships and earn his first payout entry into AZBilliards’ database.

On the Hill Productions’ Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues on the Boulevard, as well as sponsors AlleyKat Cue Sports, AZBilliards.com, Aramith Balls, Bull Carbon, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Safe Harbor Retirement Planners, Whyte Carbon Fiber Cue Shafts, OB Cues and MB Cues.

On the Hill Productions will be back at Brews & Cues on the Boulevard for its next three events. Its first, a 10-Ball Scotch Doubles event for teams with a combined FargoRate of 1200 or under, scheduled for the weekend of March 26-27, will be #3 in its Bar Box Bonanza series. April will bring two events, blending into May. The MD State Bar Table 9-Ball Championships (April 9-10) and #4 in the Bar Box Bonanza Series, a FargoRate 8-Ball tournament (April 30-May 1). 

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Gorst goes undefeated to claim title to 1st Annual Delaware State Barbox 9-Ball Championship

Fedor Gorst and Matt Krah

There were more than just a few folks who wondered how Fedor Gorst, who, in addition to holding only a few short world titles less than the number of years he’s been alive (22 years alive, come May), is currently at the top of the AZBilliards Money Leaderboard and is featured on the cover of this month’s Billiards Buzz, found himself competing in a first-time event in Delaware that offered a $1,000 first-place prize. He’d have had to win at least that amount, attending approximately eight events every month for the last year, to hit the number that’s put him atop our 2022 Leaderboard. Very few people wondered how he managed to come out on top, going undefeated through the 64-entrant field that showed up this past weekend (Sat., March 5) to compete in the 1st Annual Delaware State Barbox 9-Ball Championships at Milford Billiards, DE.

According to event and tour director Tarek Elmalla, Gorst was not originally going to compete and had come to Delaware more as a measure of support for the event and its participants. Eventually, though, Gorst, along with his friend and countrywoman, Kristina Tkach, did sign on to compete. He entered the tournament with a FargoRate (823) that was 78 points higher than anybody else; the closest being Shaun Wilkie (745), followed by Tkach and Brett Stottlemyer (715). Josh Brothers (707) rounded out the four entrants with FargoRates in the 700s. The next closest Fargo rate after those five was Matt Krah (685), who won nine on the loss side to finish as the event’s runner-up.

So, who and what’s behind this first annual event that managed to attract one of the best pool players in the world to compete? Well, Elmalla to begin with. He’s no stranger to event organization, promotion and tour direction, having been putting together small, local tournaments for a while now. This 1st Annual Delaware State Barbox 9-Ball Championships is, he said, “the very biggest one.” So far. In the overall scheme of things, Elmalla, who’s a software engineer is the software face of the organization (social media pages and various programs), while Ray Netta is the hardware guy; cameras for the stream and other technical equipment to get the job done. They’ve partnered with Leo Weigand, owner of Milford Billiards, who applied and received rights to the varied “Delaware State” names that will be attached to tournaments going forward. He also responded quickly to requests for new lights, carpeting and felt for the tables.

“We asked for them,” said Elmalla, “and they were ordered and put in. The lights were installed the night before the tournament began.”

They set things up for the live stream with multiple cameras on multiple tables and a function for viewers which would allow them to search for a player and be ‘taken’ via the stream to the relevant table and match. The designated TV table (three cameras, including an overhead) streamed the event’s featured matches. That ‘search’ functionality remains available for players and anyone interested in watching specific matches at a later date, all at http://www.amateursportsstreams.com

Though he was not surprised at the relatively sudden and enthusiastic response to the tournament that led the capped-at-64-entrant field to have 15 names on a waiting list within about 24 hours of posting the tournament notice on a new Facebook page/group, he was a little surprised at the geographic response.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be that good,” he said, “with people coming from all over; Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania.”

Final features a player who recorded his first payout, 10 days before his opponent was born

Both events, Matt Krah’s first recorded payout here on AZ and Fedor Gorst’s birth day, occurred in May of 2000; Krah’s first payout, ahead of Gorst’s birth by 10 days (May 21-May 31). One might speculate that it was the age gap that led to Krah’s slow start in this Delaware State Barbox 9-Ball Championships, but it was more likely the amount of time between appearances in competitive action that told the story between Gorst’s win and Krah’s runner-up finish.

Krah had yet to win, or even cash, in a 2022 event when he stepped to the tables in Delaware. Though active and pretty much always into the ‘mix’ of things at major tournaments, he hadn’t chalked up a major win in seven years, since he won the opening event of the Mezz Pro-Am Tour in Pennsylvania in 2015. He was runner-up to Shaun Wilkie in that year’s VA State 10-Ball Championships. This past weekend, he and Wilkie missed matching up in the quarterfinals by one set of matches that advanced Krah and left Wilkie in the tie for 5th/6th.

By comparison, Gorst arrived at the tables having chalked up five victories from among 10 appearances in just a little over two months of this year. He’d won the Arizona Open in mid-January, before moving on, a week later, to win two events (Banks and One Pocket), along with a runner-up finish in the Bigfoot Challenge at the Derby City Classic, where he was awarded that event’s Master of the Table prize.

In the end, though, it was an expected strong performance by a young world champion against a gritty, nine-match-on-the-loss-side performance from a wily veteran who proved he can still give hot seat occupants, of any age, fits when they watch him come back.

At the outset, Gorst worked his way through two matches before anyone had chalked up a rack against him and when the first competitor to do so, did so, finally, it was only the one. John Moody, Sr. ended up giving him a run for his money in a winners’ side quarterfinal (7-5), which set Gorst up against Wilkie in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Vincent Cimarelli, in the meantime, had worked his way through Pampi Pamplona, Al Campo and John Pavlosky before running into Kristina Tkach in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Cimarelli spoiled any hope of a Gorst/Tkach match on the winners’ side, though not before Tkach had forced a 13th deciding game. Cimarelli picked up Mid-Atlantic stalwart, Brett Stottlemeyer in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Gorst resorted back to giving up a single rack at a time and sent Wilkie to the loss side 7-1. Cimarelli downed Stottlemeyer 7-5 to join Gorst in the hot seat match. Gorst gave up two in that match and sat in the hot seat, watching Krah come back.

On the loss side, it was Stottlemeyer who drew Krah, six matches into his loss-side streak that had recently eliminated John Moody, Sr., double hill (the only double hill threat he faced) and shut out Pampi Pamplona. Wilkie picked up Mike Saleh, also six matches into a loss-side streak that had just eliminated Tkach 6-4 and Joe Stem 6-3.

Saleh chalked up loss-side win #7 against Wilkie 5-2 and in the quarterfinals, met Krah, who’d defeated Stottlemeyer 5-2. Krah than ran up two straight 5-3 scores, against Saleh in the quarterfinals and Cimarelli in the semifinals.

Gorst reverted back to allowing no racks at all in the finals. He shut Krah out to claim the first Delaware State Barbox 9-Ball Championship title.

Tarek Elmalla thanked Leo Wiegand and his staff for all that they did to make this first event of theirs happen, along with Ray Netta for his ‘hardware’ assistance, and Ran Ji, for her able assistance in helping Elmala run the tournament. The next event on the Delaware State Championships calendar, scheduled for the weekend of May 7-8, will be the Delaware State 10-Ball Championships, hosted again by Milford Billiards in Milford, DE. 

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Turning Stone Classic XXXIV – John Morra vs Matt Krah

Wilkie goes undefeated to claim MD State 10-Ball Barbox title

Loye Bolyard, BJ Ussery, Shaun Wilkie and Rick Scarlato, Jr.

The top four finishers, and a sizeable handful of others from the 2020 MD State Bar Table 10-Ball championships returned to compete in the 2021 event, held this past weekend (Nov. 28-29). Among those returning were defending champion Brandon Shuff, 2020 runner-up BJ Ussery, Rick Molineiro (who finished 3rd in 2020) and Shaun Wilkie (who finished 4th last year). Wilkie went undefeated to claim the 2021 title, downing BJ Ussery, who repeated as runner-up. Rick Molineiro finished in the first money round this year (13-16th), while Brandon Shuff had the misfortune of going two-and-out. The event drew 56 entrants to Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

Wilkie’s opponents were gaining on him, almost from the start. He opened with a 7-1 victory over Kevin Ping, but Joshua Mccauley scored three against him, while Kevin West and Joonick Jun, in succession, chalked up four each. This brought Wilkie into a winners’ side semifinal matchup against BJ Ussery, who, though he arrived at the match having allowed opponents two less racks than Wilkie (12-10), had numbers moving in the opposite direction. From a 7-5 start versus Russ Redhead, Ussery went on to give up three versus Kamrin Kohr, none at all against Tina Malm, and two against Joseph Wright, Jr., which brought him to the match versus Wilkie.

Thomas Haas worked his way through four opponents for a 28-15 aggregate score when he arrived at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Steve Fleming. Fleming showed up to meet him, having allowed 17 racks to be chalked up against him.

Haas and Wilkie advanced to the hot seat match. In their first of two, Wilkie sent Ussery to the loss side 7-5, while Haas dispatched Fleming 7-3. Already assured a better finish than last year, Wilkie claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Haas and assured himself a position of either winner or runner-up.

On the loss side, Ussery drew Tommy Zippler, who’d been defeated by Haas in a winners’ side quarterfinal and gone on to defeat Kevin West 7-4 and Dylan Spohr 7-5. Fleming picked up Matt Krah, who’d been the first to defeat Brandon Shuff in the winners’ side second round and then, followed him over when Zippler defeated him 7-1. Krah was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Joonick Jun 7-5 and Joseph Wright, Jr. 7-3.

Ussery ended Zippler’s brief loss-side trip 7-3 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Krah, who limited Fleming’s loss-side matches to one, downing him by the same 7-3 score. Ussery then put a stop to Krah’s loss-side campaign 7-5 in those quarterfinals.

Ussery went on to limit Thomas Haas’ loss-side campaign to a single match as well, downing him in the semifinals 7-5. And then, in something of a stunning finish, Wilkie claimed the event title without giving up a single rack to Ussery in the finals.

Tour directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the Mannings (Anthony and Stephanie) and their Brews & Cues staff for their hospitality, as well as Mezz Cues, Turtle Racks, AlleyKat Cue Sports, AZBilliards.com, Aramith Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region & Safe Harbor Retirement Planners. 

On The Hill Productions will hold the Maryland State 10-Ball Championships, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 11-12, at 7 Billiards Shady Grove in Gaithersburg, MD.

Wolford goes undefeated to claim MD State Bar Table 9-Ball title

Loye Bolyard, Rick Molineiro, Matt Krah, Shane Wolford and Rick Scarlato, Jr.

Shane Wolford is hard at work making a name for himself. After a few years as a junior competitor, he has stepped up in the ranks with a series of notable event victories and competitive performances. Starting about four years ago, as a teenager, when he first started showing up on the payout lists of the Viking Cues Q City 9-Ball Tour, Wolford has gone on to compete in the Derby City Classic, the Action Pool Tour, and a number of Maryland state championship tournaments. 

Wolford has been a winner on the Q City 9-Ball Tour on a couple of occasions, and last year, teamed up with another ‘young gun,’ Nathan Childress, to win the Maryland State Scotch Doubles 9-Ball Championship. In November, he and Childress signed on for the Maryland State 8-Ball Championship and though Childress got sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Mike Davis, Wolford eventually met and defeated Davis in a winners’ side semifinal, after which he defeated Matt Clatterbuck to claim the hot seat. Davis came back to down him in the finals of that event, but in the brief time he’s been around, Wolford has rung a few pool-community bells that at this stage of his career, are not likely to be unheard.

Well, ring-a-ding-ding, Wolford signed on to the 2021 Maryland State Bar Table 9-Ball Championships this past weekend (April 10-11) and went undefeated through the field of 118 competitors to claim that title. The event was hosted by On the Hill Productions and Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

By luck of the draw, Wolford had the opportunity to chalk up a few victories before he moved into the ‘meat’ of the field that included the likes of Shaun Wilkie, Brandon Shuff, Steve Fleming, Jason Trigo, BJ Ussery, Pooky Rasmeloungon (who hasn’t been heard of, officially, since he finished 4th at a stop on the Action Pool Tour, seven years ago), Matt Krah and last year’s MD State Bar Table 9-Ball Champion, Brett Stottlemeyer.

Wolford opened up by shutting out Joshua Oesterboro, then defeated Karl Friedenberg, Shane Clayton and Joseph Wright, before running into BJ Ussery and defeating him 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal. This set Wolford up against Pooky in a winners’ side semifinal; Pooky had just sent Shaun Wilkie west 7-4 in one of the other winners’ side quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Rick Molineiro and Matt Krah met in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Molineiro sent Krah to the loss side 7-5. Wolford joined him in the battle for the hot seat after defeating Pooky 7-5. Wolford then claimed the hot seat, downing Molineiro 7-3.

On the loss side, Krah picked up BJ Ussery, who followed his loss against Wolford by shutting out Josh McCauley and eliminating Shaun Wilkie 7-2. Pooky drew Rob Cord, who’d been sent to the loss side by Krah in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Brandon Shuff 7-3 and Ron Frank, Jr. 7-1.

Krah and Pooky advanced to the quarterfinals, chalking up identical 7-4 wins over Ussery and Cord, respectively. The two veteran pros, each of whom has been around pool longer than the man in the hot seat had been alive, locked up in a double hill fight in those quarterfinals. Krah hung on to win it and face Molineiro in the semifinals.

According to our records, Krah hadn’t been in the finals of an event since 2015, when he was involved in five of them; that year’s VA 10-Ball Championship (won by Shaun Wilkie), three stops on the Mezz Tour (one of which he won by virtue of being in the hot seat when a final match was not held) and a Labor Day 9-Ball shootout in Maryland (also won by Shaun Wilkie).

History is not something generally brought to the tables in a pool match. By player inclination, the job at hand is playing the game in front of you, whether your opponent is a veteran of the game or a barely-out-of-teen-years junior player. The junior player prevailed in Maryland this time out. Wolford completed his undefeated run with a 7-3 win that earned him Maryland State’s Bar Table 9-Ball Championship.

Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues on the Boulevard, as well as sponsors AlleyKat Cue Sports, AZBilliards, Aramith Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Mezz Cues, Turtle Racks, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region and Safe Harbor Retirement Planners. The event was streamed throughout the weekend by Bolyard and Scarlato’s On the Hill Productions.

Stottlemeyer comes from the loss-side to win 2020 MD State 9-Ball Bar Table Championship

Loye Bolyard, Brett Stottlemeyer and Rick Scarlato Jr. (Erwin Dionisio)

With recognizeable and historically successful names among the 103 who signed on to compete in the 2020 Maryland State Bar Table 9-Ball Championships this past weekend (July 25-26), you’d have expected a few ‘fireworks;’ memorable games, epic matchups, and a nail-biting finish. That happened actually, just not among the names one might have expected.

It was won by one of those recognizeable names – Brett Stottlemyer – who came from the loss side to down Oklahoma’s Joe Tomkowski, a lesser known competitor, whose last known cash prize shooting pool occurred in 2013 at a stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour, and only two other times before that, in 2011. It should be noted that while Stottlemyer has been a consistent competitor in the Mid-Atlantic region, he hadn’t chalked up a major victory either, since he won the VA State 10-Ball Championship in 2013. Since that time, Stottlemyer found himself in a situation where, as a grandparent, he had to care for three grandchildren. This had a way of curtailing the kind of road experiences that would normally have kept him competing on, as an example, The Action Pool Tour, or anything really outside of his home area.

“We had to go through parenting again,” he explained of his somewhat prolonged absence. “We’d already raised three and (then), we were raising three more.”

Recently, Stottlemeyer has been competing at regular tournaments, hosted by Brews & Cues on the Boulevard, in Glen Burnie, MD, which hosted this most recent MD State Bar Box 9-Ball Championships.

“In the past month and half,” he said, “I beat Shaun Wilkie in the finals of the 9-Ball tournament (at Brews & Cues) and then, I beat him in 8-Ball, too.”

This edition of the MD State Bar Box 9-Ball Championships drew 103 entrants to Brews & Cues.

Brandon Sluzalis, who won last year’s event, did not compete this year, although four other ‘Brandon’s did (Shuff, Vaughn, Rippeon and Kreider). Shaun Wilkie, who was last year’s runner-up, stepped up to the plate and got the fireworks going by shutting out his first three opponents; Shawn Heller, William Pollock and Stefanie Manning. Johnny Archer shut out two of his first four opponents (Zack Strong and Mark Ford), sandwiching-in two victories in which he gave up only five racks; 2 to Brian Jones and 3 to Clint Clayton.

By the time the winners’ side field had whittled down to eight, some of the other more recognizeable competitors had already been moved to the loss side. Brandon Shuff, for example, along with Matt Krah, Brian Dietzenbach, Paul Oh, Del Sim and a few others. By the time the winners’ side was down to four, the eventual winner, Stottlemyer, had joined them. So had Archer.

Wilkie was still alive and in his winners’ side semifinal, facing Dylan Spohr, who finished in the tie for 13th last year. Mr. Tomkowski, in the meantime, squared off against Tony Long, who’d been responsible for sending Archer to the loss side.

By identical 7-5 scores, Spohr downed Wilkie and Tomkowski defeated Long. By yet another 7-5 score (indicative, in most cases, of a ‘fireworks’ type of match), Tomkowski, competing in only his second (recorded) hot seat match, sent Spohr over and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, moving into the money rounds, many of the expected ‘fireworks’ dispensers were still in play. Joining them in the 5th money round (competing for 5th/6th), Long and Wilkie ran into a couple of them; Stottlemyer and Shuff. Stottlemyer, in his first loss-side match, had survived a double hill battle against Eric Heiland and then eliminated Paul Oh by shutting him out, which led to him drawing Long. Shuff, playing in his third loss-side match, had defeated Brandon Rippeon 7-1 and then, 7-5, eliminated Matt Krah, who had just defeated Johnny Archer, also 7-5. Shuff picked up Wilkie.

Shuff and Wilkie got into one of the aforementioned ‘epic battles’ in their mutual desire for advancement to the quarterfinals. Shuff won the double hill battle. Stottlemyer joined him after defeating Long 7-2.

Stottlemyer and Shuff would both end up winning five on the loss side. Stottlemyer’s five would put him into the finals. Shuff’s run would end in the quarterfinals in another ‘epic battle’ waged by opponents very familiar with each other. This, too, went double hill before Stottlemyer advanced to tackle Dylan Spohr in the semifinals.

That semifinal match was not nearly as ‘epic’ as the two that had preceded it. Stottlemyer shut Spohr out for his shot against Tomkowski, waiting for him in the hot seat.

It was a true double elimination final, so Stottlemyer had to defeat Tomkowski twice. It was clear from the outset that while Stottlemyer came to the match with far more experience than Tomkowski, Tomkowski wasn’t going to be lying down anytime soon.

Another epic was in the making. Stottlemyer battled and got out in front by 2 and then won the opening set 7-4. The second set was a highly entertaining mixture of good shooting, timely safeties, and in the end, an epic final shot that gave Stottlemyer the win.

“He broke dry, pushed and I gave it back to him,” said Stottlemyer of that final, double hill rack. “He ended up leaving me the 1-ball and then, when I played the 2-ball, I used the 5-ball, which ended up going further than I expected.”

“Once it was sitting there,” he added, “I got position (and dropped) the 3-ball.”

With the 3-ball gone (and the 4-ball already gone), Stottlemeyer looked along the length of a short rail to see the 5-ball nestled up, fairly tightly, against the 9-ball. With a referee watching to assure that the hit was clean, Stottlemyer caromed the cue ball off of the 5-ball. It shifted right, hit the 9-ball and put it in the hole. Stottlemyer was MD State’s 2020 Bar Table 9-Ball champion.

“It was one of the easiest caroms to play,” he said.

Event directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Lucid BallSports (which introduced its new Predator Arena Lights for the tables), AZBilliards.com, Aramith Balls, Mezz Cues, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Turtle Racks, Billiard Sports Network (which live-streamed selected matches throughout the weekend) and Break Out Billiard Apparel.

Turning Stone Classic XXXIII – Joey Dupuis vs Matt Krah

Turning Stone Classic XXXIII – Matt Krah vs Mieszko Fortunski

Lechner’s Win over Van Boening Highlights International Open Day Three

Max Lechner

Wednesday morning at the International 9-Ball Open, began with a round from the one-loss side. Here, the winners stay in the tournament while the losers pack for home. Che-Wei Fu sent David Tickle home 11-5 while Roland Garcia rolled over Frankie Alvarez 11-1. Roberto Gomez defeated Raphael Debreo 11-6 and Naoyuki Oi won over Donny Mills 11-8.  Maxim Dudanets ruined the day for Johnny Archer 11-5 and Tommy Kennedy did the same for Jeremy Jones at 11-4. Albin Ouschan beat Matt Krah 11-3  while Niels Feijen danced over Dario Woodside 11-3. Finally, Billy Thorpe lost a close one to Ta Li Lin 11-9.
 
The next round was back on the winner’s side and featured Mika Immonen against Shane Van Boening. The famous SVB break wasn’t quite there today, but he still cleared Immonen 11-7. John Schmidt wasted no time in beating Bryan Farah 11-2 as Lee Van Corteza beat Chen-Yu Chang 11-3.
 
Max Eberle helped his Mosconi Cup hopes by putting down Skyler Woodward 11-6 and Thorsten Hohmann mowed the tall grass by besting Ko Pin-Yi 11-7. Another match worth noting was World #1 Joshua Filler taking down Ruslan Chinakhov 11-9. Filler has gained quite a fan base this week for his honor at the table. He called a foul on himself that no one else saw on Monday and then called himself on an illegal break yesterday. Two very close matches worth noting were Darren Appleton escaping from Kenny Cheng 11-9 while Denis Grade nipped David Alcaide 11-10.
 
Our third round of the day found Alex Pagulayan in form as he ran over Marco Teutscher 11-3. Ko Ping-Chung got by Kai Lin Hsu 11-9 and Jayson Shaw managed to catch a gear after he and Quac Hoang Duong were tied at 8 and Shaw took control to win 11-8. James Aranas had a great match where he destroyed defending champion Chang Jung-Lin 11-3 and Tommy Kennedy blasted Maxim Dudanets 11-5.
 
John Morra defeated Petri Makkonen 11-4 and Alex Kazakis continued his fine week taking off Fedor Gorst 11-7. Finally, Justin Martin just slid by Niels Feijen 11-10 and Dennis Orcollo edged Corey Duel 11-10 when Deuel hung the 5 in the corner on his way to clear the final rack.
 
There were only five matches on the one loss side at 6:30, and the feature match was Aloysius Yapp vs Ko Pin-Yi. Readers might want to remember the name of Aloysius Yapp. The Singapore native has had a great week here in Norfolk. First he beat the younger Ko brother Ko Ping-Han and then tonight on the TV table he had to take on the older Ko, one of the few players who can claim two World Championships in the same year. 
 
Yapp was not concerned though. He went out and played flawless pool and dominated Pin-Yi throughout the match. He took an early lead and just kept stretching it out farther and farther. In the end he was leading 10-5 when Ko tried to draw for position on the 9 ball and drew his rock into the corner pocket, giving Yapp ball-in-hand on the 9 for the 11-5 victory. Yes, Yapp should be a name in this game for years to come. 
 
In other matches, Ruslan Chinahov beat Lin Ta-Li 11-4 in a match that wasn’t even that close, and Roberto Gomez lost to Nick Ekonomolous. Gomez had a very vocal cheering section this week, but they had very little opportunity to make any noise as he quietly dropped his match to Ekonomopolous 11-4. 
 
The 8:30 round eliminated another thirteen players with Chris Melling, John Schmidt, Ralf Souquet, Tommy Kennedy, Petri Makkonen and US young gun Justin Martin all dropping matches. 
 
The final round of play on Wednesday featured four matches on the winner’s side. While last year’s runner-up Ko Ping-Chung was beating BCA Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan on the feature table, Austria’s Max Lechner and Shane Van Boening were putting on a show on one of the outer tables. Lechner had already gotten the attention of the crowd in Norfolk with his 11-4 opening match win over Skyler Woodward. The fan’s hadn’t seen anything yet though. Lechner held an early 2-0 lead over Van Boening when he ran six straight racks for an 8-0 lead. He extended that lead to 9-0, before Shane started doing what he does. Van Boening started creeping back into the match and although Lechner had opportunities at the table, he wasn’t able to capitalize on them. Nine racks later, the score was tied at 9-9 and every eyeball in the room was glued to this match. Van Boening took the hill first at 10-9, but Lechner dug down deep and took control of his nerves to tie the score at 10-10 with him breaking. The break turned out to be very important as Lechner broke the balls and watched along with the standing room only crowd as the 9-ball made a beeline to the corner pocket, giving Lechner the 11-10 win. 
 
Lechner now joins Ko, Dennis Orcollo and Jayson Shaw in the final eight on the winner’s side. The other four players in that round will be determined Thursday morning.