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Hoke and Gaetani split top prizes on the NE 9-Ball Series

Frank Gaetani, Kenny Hoke & Antero Taveres

The two winners of the 6th stop on the NE 9-Ball Series, held this past weekend on Saturday, Nov. 14, drove to the event together and thanks (presumably) to an agreement at the end to split the top two prizes, they drove back together amicably. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, Kenny Hoke became the official winner, while rideshare companion, Frank Gaetani, took the runner-up title. The $500-added event drew 36 entrants to Straight Shooters Family Billiards in Fall River, MA.

Both working in the lower bracket in the early going, they met first in a winners’ side semifinal. Hoke had gotten by Rich Ferrell 4-2 (Ferrell racing to 6) before running into two straight double hill matches that he won, against Sandra Kostant and Jared Forsberg. A subsequent 5-2 win over Ed Murray put him into the winners’ side semifinal against Gaetani. Gaetani, in the meantime, had been awarded an opening round bye, after which he defeated Ryan McCrum and Rob Rogan, both 5-1. A double hill win over Joe Arruda put him into the winners’ side semifinal against Hoke. Antero Tavares squared off against Matthew Rezendes in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In a straight-up race to 6, Tavares downed Rezendes 6-4. The one match Hoke and Gaetani did play went double hill before Hoke prevailed to challenge Tavares for the hot seat. He did so, convincingly. With Tavares racing to 8, Hoke played what proved to be his final match and shut him down 4-3.

Gaetani and Rezendes got right back to work on the loss side, playing in the first money round and handing Mark Ruzzano and Johnny Robles, respectively, their second straight loss. Ruzzano had eliminated Ed Murray 7-1 and Joe Arruda 5-3 to reach Gaetani. Robles had defeated Mike DeMarco, double hill, Roger Vivier 5-4 (Vivier racing to 7). Gaetani downed Ruzzano 5-2, as Rezendes was busy defeating Robles 6-2.

In the quarterfinals that followed, Gaetani made Rezendes’ loss-side trip a short one, winning the straight-up race to 6, 6-2. In a second straight-up race to 6 in the semifinals that followed, Gaetani eliminated Tavares 6-4.

Hoke and Gaetani then opted out of the final. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Hoke claimed the official event title. 

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Straight Shooters Family Billiards, as well as Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Bob Campbell, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America, Piku Tips and Just the Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories.

The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for Saturday, November 28, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Strokers Billiards in Pelham, NH.

D’Alfonso and Ruzzano split top prizes on New England 9-Ball Series stop in Fall River, MA

Adam Blair, Tom D’Alfonso & Mark Ruzzano

It’s rare on the New England 9-Ball Series, but splits of the top prizes do happen. Case in point:  Stop #7 (2019-2020), hosted by Straight Shooters’ Family Billiards in Fall River, MA on Saturday, November 23. Tom D’Alfonso and Mark Ruzzano battled in the hot seat and were scheduled to meet again in the finals. They allowed their hot seat result to stand as the definitive answer to ‘who won,’ split the top two prizes, and left the undefeated D’Alfonso as the official winner. The $500-added event drew 48 entrants to Straight Shooters.

D’Alfonso was far and away the highest FargoRated player at the tables on this particular day. At 737, he was 102 points ahead of the next highest-ranked player in the field; Dennis Levesque at 635 and he didn’t play against him. In his six matches (to include Ruzzano twice), he faced an opponent-average FargoRate of 552.8. His highest-ranked opponent through six matches was Roarke Dickson (588) in a winners’ side quarterfinal, in which Dickson was awarded ‘four beads on the wire’ in a race to 8 and only added two, for an 8-2 actual score, or 8-6 handicap victory for D’Alfonso.

D’Alfonso advanced to face Antero Tavares (560) in one of the overall winners’ side semifinals (the tour keeps upper and lower rated players separated in the early matches). Mark Ruzzano, in the meantime, squared off against Adam Blair (505). D’Alfonso moved on to the hot seat (and what proved to be his final) match with his only double hill win of the day, 8-3, arriving at the hot seat match having given up only six racks through 39 games. Ruzzano, in a straight-up race to 5 sent Blair to the loss side 5-1. D’Alfonso claimed the hot seat 9-2.

On the loss side, two long loss-side streaks were about to come to an end. Tavares picked up Jim Prather, who, in the lower bracket, had been defeated in the opening round by Mark Ransom and was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the overall quarterfinals. Along the way, he’d wreaked his vengeance on Ransom with a double hill win that left Ransom in the tie for 13th. Prather then downed Roarke Dickson and Matthew Rezendes, both 5-1, to meet Tavares.

Blair drew Mourad Idrais, who’d also been defeated in the event’s opening round (he was shut out by Mike Negrelli) and was on his own six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d recently defeated Souheil Muraby, double hill, and in a serious ‘vengeance is sweet’ scenario, returned the shut out ‘favor’ to Negrelli to meet Blair.

Prather downed Tavares, double hill (5-3) and in the quarterfinals, faced Blair, who’d ended Idrais’ loss-side streak 4-2. Blair then ended Prather’s run 4-2 (Prather racing to 6).

In a straight-up, race-to-5 semifinal, which proved to be the final match of the night, Ruzzano ended Blair’s short loss-side visit 5-3. He and D’Alfonso opted out of the final and as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, D’Alfonso claimed the official event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Straight Shooters, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend (November 30 – December 1), will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by Legends Billiards in Auburn, ME.

Hohmann backs up Steinway Classic title with NYC Singles 8-Ball Championship title

Tony Robles, Thorsten Hohmann and Tournament Director John Leyman (Erwin Dionisio)

Soto, Rosario, Sugiyama, Musser and Karwas win other division 8-ball titles
Three days after winning the 7th Steinway Classic in a thrilling, double hill final match against Fedor Gorst (Oct. 17), Thorsten Hohmann, at the same location, won the Grand Master Division of the NYC 8-Ball Championships (Oct. 20) with a slightly less dramatic 6-1 finals victory over Ruslan Chinakhov. The Grand Master division of the annual event, which drew 22 entrants to Steinway, was one of six division 8-ball tournaments held on the weekend of October 19-20. In all, under the sponsorship of Michael Fedak, the NYC Singles 8-Ball Championships added $15,000, divided among the six divisions, which drew 151 unique entrants.
It was Jose Soto who won in the 16-entrant Mixed Master’s Division, Abel Rosario in the 32-entrant Mixed Advanced Division, Akiko Sugiyama in the 32-entrant Women’s Leisure Division, and Maxwell Musser in the 32-entrant Men’s Leisure Division. The largest field, 48 entrants, was the Mixed Open Division, won by Sebastian Karwas.
Hohmann’s path to the winners’ circle in the Grand Masters event went through Chinakhov twice. He opened with a double hill win over Joey Korsiak and then, sent Chinakhov to the loss side 6-4. Hohmann then defeated Del Sim 6-4, to draw Damianos Giallourakis in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Nick Ekonomopoulos in the meantime, after being awarded an opening round bye, downed the Steinway Classic’s runner-up, Fedor Gorst 6-2 and Jalal Yousef 6-4 to draw Jimmy Rivera in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Hohmann defeated Giallourakis 6-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Ekonomopoulos, who’d sent Rivera west 6-1. Hohmann claimed the hot seat 6-3 and waited on the return of Chinakhov.
On the loss side, Chinakhov was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would give him a second chance against Hohmann. He got by Raphael Dabreo 6-2, Ryan Hsu 6-4, Tony Robles 6-2 and survived a double fight versus Burgos to draw Giallourakis, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Rivera picked up Roland Garcia, who after being defeated by Giallourakis ended Gorst’s run 6-1 and  by the same score, Del Sim’s.
Chinakhov and Giallourakis battled to double hill before Chinakhov advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Garcia, who’d eliminated Rivera 6-2. Chinakhov took the quarterfinal match 6-2.
He completed his loss-side run with a double hill win over Ekonomopoulos in the semifinals. Hohmann, though, shut Chinakhov down early in the finals and completed his undefeated run with a 6-1 victory over Chinakhov.
Soto is the only competitor to come from the loss side to win Mixed Masters Division
Five of the six divisions of the NYC Singles 8-Ball Championships featured winners who went undefeated through their respective fields. Jose Soto, in the smallest field (16), competing in the Mixed Masters division, was the only competitor to win a division by coming from the loss side to defeat the hot seat occupant. And he did so, by losing in his first round and winning six loss-side matches to down Cesar Turcios in the finals.
Soto lost 5-1 to Tim Edmonds in the opening round of play. Edmonds was subsequently defeated by Brooke Meyers, who advanced to face Turcios in the hot seat match. Turcios claimed the hot seat in a double hill win over Meyers. On the loss side, three of the six matches Soto played, forced him to play a single deciding game to advance; matches against Eddie Kunz, Matthew Harricharan and his quarterfinal match against Miguel Laboy. Soto downed Meyers 6-3 in the semifinals and then, claimed the title with an 8-4 win over Turcios.
The largest field of 48, in the Mixed Open division, was won by Sebastian Karwas, who went undefeated. It took Karwas as many matches on the winners’ side of the Mixed Open bracket to claim the title, as it took Soto on both sides of the Mixed Masters bracket to win his. Karwas got by Jim Gutierrez, Keith Stefanowitz, Omar Chavez, Alex Kent and Marco Daniele to face Paul Lyons in the hot seat match. He claimed the hot seat 6-1 over Lyons, who moved to the loss side and downed Daniele in the semifinals 5-3. Karwas took their second match 6-4 to claim the title.
Rosario and Schreiber battle it out for Mixed Advanced title
Two of the New York area’s better competitors in their respective ranking divisions battled twice to claim the 32-entrant Mixed Advanced title. Abel Rosario and Thomas Schreiber hold top positions in the standings of both the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tours. Rosario is #10 on the Tri-State’s A+/A standings list and the #3 B+ player on the Predator Pro Am Tour. Schreiber is #5 on the Tri-State’s list of B players and # 2 on the Predator Pro Am Tour’s list of B players.
After four victories each, they met first in the hot seat match. Rosario claimed the hot seat 6-3. Schreiber moved to the loss side and downed Matthew Rezendes 5-1. He and Rosario fought to an appropriate double hill game 11 before Rosario finished it to claim the title.
In the 32-entrant Women’s Leisure division, Akiko Sugiyama won five straight to claim that title. She faced Melissa Schleifer twice and gave up only a single rack over the two matches; that one, coming in Sugiyama’s victory in the hot seat match. Schleifer shut Debra Pritchett out in the semifinals, but punctuating her undefeated run through the field, Sugiyama shut Schleifer out in the finals.
Completing the six-tournament event, it was Maxwell Musser, who went undefeated through the 32-entrant Men’s Leisure field. Musser faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals, defeating Brian Schell to claim the hot seat, and after Henry Chan had downed Schell double hill in the semifinals, Musser shut him out to take the title.
As always, event director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as Dr. Michael Fedak for his continuing financial support for this event (Fedak finished in the tie for 13th place in the Mixed Open tournament). Robles also noted sponsorship support from Predator Cues, and Blatt Billiards. According to Robles, the 2020 NYC 8-Ball Championships are going to be even better. It’s being planned as a three-day event on Columbus Day weekend and Dr. Fedak will be adding $20,000.
“This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of Michael and Marilyn Fedak,” said Robles.

Rezendes double dips Gatta to win Stop # 9 on New England 9-Ball Series

Matthew Rezendes, Rick Gatta and Andrew Tankerly

Matthew Rezendes returned from a double hill loss in the hot seat match of Stop # 9 on the New England 9-Ball Series to double dip Rick Gatta in the finals and claim the title. The $1,500-added event, held on Saturday, December 3, drew 34 entrants to Stix and Stones in Abington, MA. 
Rezendes advanced through the field to challenge Andrew Tankerly in one winners' side semifinal, while Gatta faced Al McGuane in the other. Rezendes sent Tankerly to the loss side 5-2, setting up his first battle against Gatta, who, in a straight-up race to 6, had defeated McGuane 6-4. Gatta, a B player, racing to 7, downed Rezendes (C+, racing to 5), double hill (7-4) and waited in the hot seat for his return from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Tankerly picked up the only D+ player left in the field, Ed Murray, who'd defeated Lida Mullendore 3-4 (Mullendore, a C+, racing to 6), and shut out another C+ player, Brian Greene. McGuane drew Mike Pettit, who'd eliminated Dan Silva 6-1, and Dennis Leveque, the last A- player left,  6-4 (Leveque racing to 7). Tankerly and Murray battled to double hill, before Tankerly won the deciding match to advance to the quarterfinals. McGuane joined him after a 5-4 victory over Pettit (Pettit racing to 6).
In those quarterfinals, Tankerly, racing to 4, gave up only a single rack to McGuane, racing to 7, and advanced to a re-match against Rezendes in the semifinals. Tankerly put up a double hill fight, but Rezendes won it, advancing to his own re-match against Gatta in the finals.
Rezendes took the opening set of the true double elimination final 5-3 (Gatta, the B player, racing to 7). Now, each with a single loss on their match record, they squared off for a second, deciding set. This one went double hill (5-6), allowing Rezendes to claim the event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Stix and Stones, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AzBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3 Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series, a partners 9-ball event, scheduled for Saturday, December 11, will be hosted by Crow's Nest in Plaistow, NH.