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Tiger Florida Tour Champion, Jeannie Seaver, goes undefeated at 14th Annual Cues for the Cure

Helene Caukin, Kaylee McIntosh, Stephanie Mitchell (room owner), ; Michell Monk and Jeannie Seaver

At the 14th Annual Cues for the Cure breast cancer awareness fundraiser, held under the auspices of the Tiger Florida Tour’s season finale this past weekend (Oct. 15-16), it was important to keep one’s eye on the ball, so to speak. While the event signaled the end of the tour season, with the determination of its Tour Champion and the marquee matchups on the modified double elimination bracket on the line, it was important to remember that the event had other benefits going on. It would provide benefits to the Florida chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation in its ongoing attempt to fund breast cancer research and services to communities all across the country. That was the ‘ball’ that the 36-entrant, all-female field at the event were keeping their eyes on as they spent their time trying to drop real balls into holes to win games, matches, tour rankings and a cash deposit into their Christmas shopping account. The $1,500-added event was hosted by Corner Pocket in Largo, FL, owned by one of the competitors, Stephanie Mitchell.

So before, during and after fund-raising activities that included raffles with themed mystery baskets (among other things) and an opportunity to guess at the number of M & Ms and Hershey’s Kisses in containers (both won by Dixie Sutton, who guessed the closest number of Kisses in a pumpkin jar and the exact number of M & Ms in a vase; 2,741), the ladies played some pool. 

There was a possible scenario emerging from this Tiger Florida Tour’s season finale that would have seen Stephanie Mitchell crowned as the tour’s 2022 champion. It could have happened if Jeannie Seaver had not competed and Stephanie did, finishing among the event’s final eight. Neither of those two things happened. With both of them competing, Stephanie had to finish well ahead of Jeannie to pass her in ranking points. That didn’t happen either. What also didn’t happen was a repeat of the 2021 Cues for the Cure event in which a mother and daughter (Debbie and Kaylee McIntosh) competed in the finals. Both mother and daughter competed this year, with daughter defending her title. 

What did happen was that Jeannie Seaver went undefeated to claim the 2022 tour champion title, downing Michell Monk in the finals. Stephanie Mitchell, who finished in the tie for 17th/24th at the event, finished second in the tour rankings, with Jeannie Seaver’s older sister, Vanessa (finishing 13th/16th) in third place and junior competitor, Sofia Mast, not in attendance, finishing in 4th place. 

The modified double elimination bracket whittled the field of 36 down to four players on each side of the bracket and then, entered a single elimination phase of eight playing a single match to advance as far as they could. The younger Seaver’s path to the winners’ circle went through Jennifer Merritt 5-3 and then ran into big sister, Vanessa. A double hill, live version of sibling rivalry ensued, after which Jeannie moved on to defeat Sonya Chbeeb 5-1, advancing to become one of the winners’ side’s final four.

Michell Monk earned her way to the winners’ side final four as well, winning three matches by an aggregate score of 15-1 against Kimberly Housman (0), Margie Soash (0) and Carrie Vetrono (1). Two of the three winners’ side matches Lisa Perez played to be among the final four went double hill; her opener against Danielle Marie Fee and the match against Helene Caukin that put her in the final four. Autumn French fell 5-3 in the middle. The last to join the winners’ side advancement was defending champion and junior competitor Kaylee McIntosh, who, like Monk, gave up only a single rack to one of her first three opponents; Lyn Remsen (0), Mimi McAndrews (1) and Jessica Barnes (0).

Two of the four people who’d failed to make the winners’ side list in the last deciding match on that side of the bracket came back from the loss side to join the cash-generating single elimination phase and have a second shot at claiming the title. Sonya Chbeeb faced and defeated her one loss-side opponent, Kim Caso, 5-3 and would face Kaylee McIntosh in the first single-elimination round. Helene Caukin moved over, eliminated Jessica Karamia Human 5-3 and came back for a second shot against Lisa Perez. Keeping aspirations for a second straight mother/daughter final alive, Debbie McIntosh, who’d lost her second match to Carrie Vetrono, won two on the loss side before downing Jessica Barnes 5-3 to be among the loss side’s final four.  Jeri Bouvette, who’d been shut out by Barnes in the second round, won two on the loss side and then shut out Carrie Vetrono. Moving out of the frying pan into the fire, she faced Jeannie Seaver in the opening, single-elimination round. 

Daughter advances to final four against Seaver, Mom falls to eventual runner-up, Michell Monk

Winners in the quarterfinals that followed advanced to the semifinals by an aggregate score of 20-5. Had the McIntosh family advanced together, they would not have faced each other in the semifinals and might have realized the potential for a second straight mother/daughter final. Daughter Kaylee downed Chbeeb 5-1 and advanced to the semifinals against Jeannie Seaver, who’d eliminated Bouvette 5-1. Mom Debbie fell 2-5 to Michell Monk, who advanced to take her spot in the semifinals versus Caukin, who’d won her rematch against Perez 5-2.

One match shy of her second straight appearance in the Cues for Cure final, Kaylee McIntosh was downed by Jeannie Seaver 5-3. Monk joined Seaver in the finals after eliminating Caukin 5-1. Seaver completed her undefeated run (the tour championship title already in her pocket), with a 5-3 victory over Monk in the finals.

With a request to direct your (the reader’s) attention to the ‘ball’ that was the cornerstone of this event, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, tour representatives hope that you’ll take time to read through this list of people who made it all possible. In addition to all of the players and spectators who came out in support of this event, tour representatives thanked Stephanie Mitchell and her Corner Pocket staff for their hospitality and continuing support of the Tiger Florida Tour and the Cues for the Cure event. They also thanked title sponsor Tiger Products and Tony Kalamdaryan, Larry Wood with Boynton Billiards for donations and continued support of the tour, Stitch It To Me (Nicolle Cuellar; for event t-shirts, and raffle gifts), Brutal Game Gear (Michell Monk; gift certificates), Dixie and Rick Sutton and Estates by Dixie (designer basket donation and pizza for all), Rob Charles for tech help, Texas Roadhouse Grill (St. Petersburg; gift buckets), Deanna Laney (raffle help), Josh Arnold (running a smooth tournament), Andy Cloth and AZBilliards.

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Jeannie Seaver goes undefeated to claim Stop #5 on Tiger Florida Tour

Michell Monk, Jeannie Seaver and Stephanie Mitchell

When the day started – Saturday, August 27 – Jeannie Seaver was atop the Tiger Florida Tour’s leaderboard, having competed in all four of its 2022 events and winning the tour’s previous stop (#4) in July. The four women immediately behind her in the standings were on hand for stop #5, at Diamond Billiards in Cape Coral, FL, as were 20 other entrants. The top five were separated by 110 points (dependent on attendance, usually around 200 points for a win), with two events to go; the one at hand and the season finale on October 15, the tour’s annual “Cues for the Cure” breast cancer awareness fundraiser, to be hosted by The Corner Pocket in Largo, FL. 

The Corner Pocket’s owner, Stephanie Mitchell, was in 2nd place in the standings, only 40 points behind Seaver. The Pink Dagger (14-year-old Sofia Mast) was 20 points behind Mitchell and Jeannie Seaver’s sister, Vanessa, was 10 points behind Mast. Jessica Barnes was in fifth place, 40 points behind Vanessa. In the day ahead, almost anything could have happened. All five of the top five were capable of winning the event and whoever did so would have the proverbial ‘leg up’ on the tour championship title, which would go to the competitor at the top of the heap at the conclusion of the “Cues for the Cure” fundraiser, seven weeks away. The Stop #5 winner would also receive a qualifying spot in the WPBA’s Dr. Pool Classic in December.

Jeannie Seaver went undefeated, maintaining her position at the top of the tour standings. All four of the competitors behind her in those standings stayed right where they were; Mitchell, Mast, Vanessa Seaver and Barnes. ‘Almost anything could have happened’ turned into ‘nothing about the tour’s top five happened at all,’ except. . . the 110-point gap between 1st and 5th place in the standings, which went from 110 points to 250.

“It will be hard for anyone to catch her,” noted tour director Mimi McAndrews, “unless Jeannie doesn’t play in our “Cues for the Cure” event in October.”

Stop #5 began with a standard, double-elimination bracket. It was played down until there were two on each side, at which point, they redrew into a single elimination bracket.

Jeannie Seaver played two of the four women below her in the standings to be one of the two that advanced to single elimination from the winners’ side of the double elimination bracket. She opened with a 7-2 win over Jessica Barnes, shut out Say Xiong and then locked up in a double hill fight with the Pink Dagger; Seaver is likely one of only a handful of competitors who don’t underestimate the 14-year-old Sofia Mast at the tables. Seaver prevailed, though, and then defeated Dawn Logan 7-4 to earn her spot among the final four.

Michell Monk, who’d climb from #20 in the standings to #8 with her eventual runner-up finish, got by Denise Gugliotta 7-3 and then faced another junior competitor, 13-year-old Gianna “Banks” Fiore, who is currently 7th in the Junior International Championships’ 13U Girls division. Monk got by her 7-3 and after defeating Danielle Marie Fee 7-4 began a two-match set against Stephanie Mitchell. Monk’s 7-4 win in the first set earned her the second winners’ side slot in the single elimination phase.

Logan and Mitchell moved to the loss side of the initial bracket. Logan drew a re-match against Crystal McCormick, whom she’d sent to the loss side in what was McCormick’s first match. McCormick advanced through four loss-side matches including wins over Debbie Hake 5-2 and Danielle Marie Fee 5-3 for a second chance against Logan. Mitchell, another member of the Don’t Underestimate the Pink Dagger Club, drew Mast, who’d followed her double-hill loss to Jeannie Seaver with loss-side wins over Vanessa Seaver 5-3 and Kira Brown 5-1. 

In what were the event’s quarterfinals, McCormick avenged her earlier loss, eliminating Logan 5-1 and drawing Jeannie Seaver in the semifinals. Not surprisingly, the tour’s #2 and #3 competitors, Mitchell and Mast, battled to double hill in the other quarterfinals. Mitchell eventually moving on to face Monk a second time.

Though on the hill, ahead by four (6-2) in the semifinals, Mitchell saw Monk rally back to knot things at double hill and then win it to advance to the finals. Seaver dropped McCormick into the tie for third place 7-2. Seaver completed her undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Monk in the finals.

Seaver chose not to play the event for its qualifying spot in the December WPBA event, so that spot went to Monk. In addition to the cash prizes for the final six competitors, the tour awarded a $50 prize to the highest-finishing league player (APA 4-5 or equivalent). Brittany May, who’d had the misfortune of drawing Sofia Mast on the winners’ side of the early bracket, won two on the loss side before being eliminated by Danielle Marie Fee and finished in the tie for 9th/12th, took home that cash prize. 

Tour representatives thanked all of the players who attended the event and Lisa Carroll for running the side-by-side Open event, which contributed to a “great day at Diamonds.” They also thanked GM Lisa Cobb and her Diamond Billiards’ staff for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products for their continued support of the tour and players.  Thanks, as well, went out to sponsors Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards, Stitch It To Me, Brutal Game Gear, Eastern Billiards, Andy Cloth and to Janis Sessions and the Florida Coast Ladies Tour for sponsoring the APA Prize.

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Seaver picks up her first Tiger Florida Tour title since March 2021

Stephanie Mitchell, Jeannie Seaver, Sofia Mast and Jessica Barnes

Jeannie Seaver’s gotten off to a slow start this year. Following a year (2021) in which she won three tour titles – two on the Tiger Florida Tour and one on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour – it wasn’t until this past weekend (July 16-17) that she claimed her first 2022 tour title. In her fourth appearance on the tour this year, the victory moved her ahead of Stephanie Mitchell to the top spot in the current Tiger Florida Tour standings. She did it at Stop #4, going undefeated through a modified double elimination bracket, downing six opponents, including, in the finals, the junior competitor known as “The Pink Dagger,” 14-year-old Sofia Mast (#3 in the standings). The event drew 34 entrants to Shooters Billiards in Port St. Lucie, FL.

Initially, in the double elimination phase of the event, its 34 competitors were racing to be among the final four standing on both sides of the bracket. Among the eight who advanced to the single elimination phase were the top six in tour standings when the event began. The four who advanced to single elimination without a loss were the top four; (in order) Stephanie Mitchell, Vanessa Seaver, Jeannie Seaver and Sofia Mast.

Mitchell, in a quest to maintain her position at the top of the standings, had to deal with an opening-round, double hill match against Xare Qualis. She survived that and then defeated Ivette Fernandez and Margie Soash, both 7-3 to earn her winners’ side slot in the final eight. Vanessa Seaver got by Erin O’Brien 7-4, Jessica Karamia Human, double hill and Katie Bowse 7-1 to advance. Sister Jeannie defeated Aalyssa Gonzalez 7-4, Roe Guarnero 7-3 and Jessica Barnes 7-3 to arrive, while The Pink Dagger (Mast) sent Chris Baumgart 7-4 and Crystal McCormick 7-3 to the loss side, before battling Kaylee McIntosh to double hill, eventually sending her over as well.

Two of the four who just missed advancement from the winners’ side came right back after winning their only loss-side match. Barnes moved over and survived a double hill fight versus Julia Spinella, returning to square off against Vanessa Seaver in the opening round of the single-elimination phase. McIntosh faced Guarnero on the loss side, defeated her 5-2 and was faced with Mitchell in the single-elimination group.

Joining those two from the loss side were Human, defeated by Vanessa Seaver on the winners’ side and then defeating Susan Damschroder 5-3, Sandy Cheng, double hill and Margie Soash 5-1 to face Mast in what amounted to the event’s quarterfinals. Rounding out the single-elimination field of 8 was Tracy Mullen, who followed her initial, first-round loss to Crystal McCormick with victories over Chris Baumgart 5-2, Ashley Jones 5-3, Kira Brown 5-2 and finally, in a double hill battle, Katie Bowse. Mullen picked up Jeannie Seaver in the event quarterfinals.

Due to time constraints, the quarterfinal and semifinal matches were reduced to races to 5. Three of the quarterfinals were decided by 5-2 scores; Jeannie Seaver over Mullen, Mast over Human and Barnes over Vanessa Seaver. Mitchell advanced over McIntosh 5-3. In the semifinals that followed, Mast and Barnes locked up in a double hill battle that eventually sent Mast to the finals. She was joined by Jeannie Seaver, who eliminated Mitchell 5-3. 

After agreeing to a final race-to-3 (again, due to time constraints), Seaver and Mast opted to split the top two prizes and played the race-to-3 anyway. Seaver claimed the event title 3-1, moving her into the top spot in tour standings. Mitchell’s tie-for-third finish (with Barnes) dropped her into second place, while, as runner-up, The Pink Dagger moved up a notch, from fourth to third place in the standings.

Tour director Mimi McAndrews thanked Dave Citron and his Shooters Billiards staff for their “welcoming hospitality,” along with Josh Arnold and Stephanie Mitchell for their assistance with running a smooth event. She also thanked title sponsor Tiger Products, AZBilliards, Boynton Billiards, Andy Cloth, Eastern Billiards, Stitch-It-To-Me Embroidery and Brutal Game Gear. The next stop on the Tiger Florida Tour, scheduled for Saturday, August 28, will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Cape Coral, FL.

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Cuellar goes undefeated to win Stop #3 on Tiger Florida Tour

Nicolle Cuellar, Vanessa Seaver and Jessica Barnes

Coming off of her best recorded earnings year (2021), Florida’s Nicolle Cuellar is getting a bit of a late start to better those earnings in 2022, although her undefeated run at the Tiger Florida Tour’s (TFT) third stop this past weekend (Sat. May 7) has started her off in the right direction. Her last recorded win on the TFT occurred last August. Cuellar has, in fact, had two good years at the tables, 2020 being her best recorded earnings years until the total figure improved in 2021. She’s been combining work on the TFT with appearances on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour over the past few years, and earlier, dating back to when her efforts began notation here at AZBilliards 10 years ago, on the Flamingo Tour. The TFT’s $750-added event last weekend, Stop #3 on the 2022 tour, drew 36 entrants to Brewlands North in Lakeland, FL.

The event started out with a double elimination bracket, which, being a 64-entrant bracket, featured four matches in the opening round of play and 28 byes. Three rounds later, when the bracket had narrowed to eight players, four on each side of the bracket, it became a single-elimination race to the finals.

Cuellar’s path to the winners’ circle, after being awarded one of the 28 byes, went through Angel Kotewa (1), Kimberly Housman (3) and Stephanie Mitchell (3), at which point, she became one of the final eight. Joining her among the four to emerge from the winners’ side of the bracket were Lisa Perez, Jeri Bouvette and Jessica Barnes. Facing those four from the loss side of the bracket were Helene Caukin (facing Barnes), Jessica Karamia Human (facing Cuellar) and the Seaver sisters; Vanessa, squaring off against Bouvette and Jeannie facing Perez.

Human, who’d been sent to the loss side in the final winners’ side round by Barnes, played only one match on the loss side, surviving a double hill match versus Kaylee McIntosh to join the final eight. Cuellar stopped Human’s bid right there, downing her 7-3 and advancing to the semifinals against Barnes, who’d defeated Caukin, double hill. 

Only one of the Seaver sisters survived the first single-elimination round and as it turned out, Lisa Perez faced them both. She faced Jeannie in that first round and battled her to double hill before advancing to meet Vanessa, who’d battled to double hill before defeating Bouvette to earn her spot in the semifinals against Perez.

Time constraints forced the semifinals and finals to be cut down to races to 5. Vanessa Seaver punched her ticket to the finals with a shutout over Perez. She was joined by Cuellar, who eliminated Barnes, double hill; a ‘heartbreaker,’ according to TD Mimi McAndrews, because in the deciding game, Barnes broke and hung the 9-ball in the teeth of the side pocket. Cuellar stepped to the table and though unable to work herself into shape for an easy combination on the 9-ball, ran the table to get it and advance to the finals. 

Cuellar completed her undefeated run with a 5-2 win over Vanessa Seaver. Having not competed in the TFT season opener back in January and finishing in the tie for 8th on the February stop, Cuellar was way down in the tour standings when she began her title quest at the third stop. Her victory moved her among the tour’s top 10, into 9th place on the list that now has Stephanie Mitchell at the top. Vanessa Seaver’s runner-up finish moved her into second place with Carrie Metz, Kaylee McIntosh and Jeannie Seaver behind her. Cuellar’s victory also netted her paid qualifier spot for the WPBA’s Soaring Masters event in July.

Tour director Mimi McAndrews thanked Larry Walthall and his staff at Brewlands for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Tiger Products, AZBilliards, Boynton Billiards, Andy Cloth, Eastern Billiards, Stitch-It-To-Me Embroidery and Brutal Game Gear. She also extended thanks to Josh Arnold and Stephanie Mitchell for their assistance with running the event. The next stop on the Tiger Florida Tour, scheduled for Saturday, July 16, will be hosted by Shooter’s Billiards in Port St. Lucie, FL.

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Vetrono Steps Up on The Ladies’ ‘Win’ Ladder, Wins Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2

Carrie Vetrono, Jeannie Seaver and Stephanie Mitchell

Prior to this past weekend, Sat. Feb. 26, Carrie Vetrono had won only one major event, and it happened to be one that wasn’t reported to us here at AZ; The 2019 West Coast Challenge, Women’s 9-Ball Division in Kissimmee, FL. Vetrono got her second career win this past weekend at the second stop on the Tiger Florida Tour. With a modified double elimination format (double elimination to the winners’ side quarterfinals and then, single elimination to the finals), the $1,500-added event drew 42 entrants to Stixx Billiards in Oldsmar, FL.

In addition to her remote work with a NY law firm, running tournaments at Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL, being the owner/operator (with her Dad) of Capone’s BCA Pool League, and her arguably most important position as head wrangler of a four-year-old son, Vetrono can now (in her spare time, of course) add ‘Up-and-Coming Contender’ at future events on the Women’s pool circuit. Asked how long it might be now before she became the #1-ranked player on the WPBA, she laughed.

“If only,” she said. “As much as I would really love it, (given the multi-tasking noted above), I don’t see it in the cards.”

“I’ve been playing a lot more at Capone’s,” she added of this recent win, “and I’ve been playing with a lot of the guys over there (who’ve) helped me. My game has vastly improved, at least a ball or two over the past 6-8 months. I’m taking smarter shots and playing safeties when I need to.”

“I feel more confident of going for shots, too,” she went on to say, “and, of course, when they go in, that boosts the confidence even more.”

In addition to Vetrono’s (somewhat) ‘break out’ win, Florida Tiger Tour’s second stop had a few ‘headline’ matchups, including a first-round-of single-elimination rematch between the winner and runner-up of the tour’s first stop in late January (14-year-old Sofia Mast and Stephanie Mitchell), a Vetrono/Mitchell match and a final match between Verono and Jeannie Seaver.

It was initially a two-match race to the winners’ side quarterfinal; three for Mitchell and Mast, who were among the 20 entrants that played in a preliminary round. Vetrono got by Krystalann Williams and Nicolle Cuellar to arrive at her winners’ side quarterfinal versus Mast. Mitchell sent Erica Yeager-Lombard, Tracy Mullen and Abigail Schrader to the loss side to meet up with Kimberly Housman. Jeannie Seaver defeated Kim Caso and Dawn Logan to take on Helene Caukin. Kaylee McIntosh, who’d downed Christina Maher and Shanelle Loraine squared off against Michel Monk.

Mast advanced to the first round of single elimination with a double hill win over Vetrono. Mitchell and Housman battled to double hill, as well, with Mitchell ending up on the loss side. McIntosh downed Human 6-4 and Seaver got by Caukin 6-2.

Vetrono won her loss-side match against Jeannie Seaver’s sister, Vanessa, double hill. Mitchell ousted Miranda Orange 5-2. Danielle Marie Fee, who’d lost her opening match to Tiffany Stanaland, won four on the loss side, including a 5-2 win over tour director Mimi McAndrews, to meet and defeat Caukin in a double hill fight. Jessica Human was the fourth loss-side competitor to earn a slot in the single-elimination round of eight, with her 5-1 victory over Michel Monk.

Seaver moved into the event’s second quarterfinal, 6-3 over Fee, while McIntosh was busy eliminating Human 6-4. Vetrono got back in the mix with a 6-2 win over Housman and faced Mitchell, who’d avenged her loss against the teenager Mast in the first stop on the tour by eliminating her 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the second.

“I was up 5-1,” Mitchell recalled of her match against Mast, “when I missed a 9-ball. Then she won a few and I thought, ‘Well, we don’t want to go there,’ so I got back into it.”

“(Sofia) hangs out with all the adults,” she noted of her opponent. “She’s a professional and has better manners than people I know who are older than me.”

So, it was Vetrono against Mitchell and McIntosh versus Seaver in the semifinals.

Seaver advanced to the finals 6-2 over McIntosh and faced Vetrono, who prevailed over Mitchell by the same score. Vetrono completed her second major win 4-2 over Seaver and claimed the Tiger Florida Tour’s second event title.

Tour director Mimi McAndrews thanked Stixx owner Tom George and Kathy King, as well as manager Josh Maville and his staff for hosting the event and their continued support of the TFT. She also thanked title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products, Brutal Game Gear, Stitch It To Me, Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and new sponsors Eastern Billiards and Andy Cloth. 

McAndrews sent a special shout out to Jerry Sotelo and Stephanie Mitchell for what she called “their invaluable help in running the event and fending off shot clock grumbles.” The size of the room, the number of tables (10) and attendees (42), led to a reduction of match lengths from 7/5 (winners’ side/losers’ side) to 6/5 in order to complete the event in the single day of Tiger Florida tour stops. The final match was also reduced to its race to 4.

The next stop on the Tiger Florida Tour, scheduled for May 7, will be hosted by Brewlands Bar & Billiards in Lakeland, FL.

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Sofia Mast comes from the loss side, meets and beats Mitchell in Tiger Florida Tour finals

Sofia Mast

“I WON!!!” she declared on her Facebook page, with all three exclamation points. “Now, I pass out.”

Thirteen-year-old Sofia Mast of Land ‘o Lakes, FL, fresh off her victory in the 13 & Under division of the Junior International Championships’ 2nd season opener, less than two weeks ago (Jan. 14-16), competed on the ladies’ Tiger Florida Tour this past weekend (Jan. 22-23). Not only did she come from the loss side to qualify for the eight-player, single elimination phase of the event, advance to the finals and then defeat WPBA veteran competitor Stephanie Mitchell, but in her first loss-side match, she defeated another WPBA tour veteran and the Florida Tiger Tour’s 2021 Tour Champion Jeannie Seaver. The $500-added, 2022 season opener of the Florida Tiger Tour drew 32 entrants to Brewlands South in Lakeland, FL.

Asked if there was anything about Mast’s performance that stood out in her mind, Eastern Billiards and Andy Cloth-sponsored runner-up, Stephanie Mitchell had to laugh.

“Mostly,” she said, “that if I missed, she didn’t.”

It was, of course, not Sofia Mast’s ‘first rodeo.’

“I went to my first Tiger Florida Tour (stop) when I was 11, back in October, 2019,” she wrote. “My Dad thought I could get better if I played competitively rather than playing in leagues.”

“My mom,” she added, “thought he was crazy to have a kid play against grown ladies and think I could win. I dreamt about one day winning the whole thing (and) my dream started to feel more real as I kept playing in many of their events and placing closer and closer to first.”

“My dream,” she went on to say, “is now a reality, (so) never give up on your dream!”

This past weekend, Michel Monk kind of rattled the cage of those dreams, briefly, when she earned the distinction of being the only competitor to defeat Mast in the second round of play 7-5. Undeterred by setbacks, large or small, Mast persevered to win two on the loss side; the 5-2 win over Jeannie Seaver and subsequent shutout of Erica Pennington, which put her (Mast) into the single elimination phase against, first, fellow junior competitor, Kaylee McIntosh. 

Mitchell, in the meantime, had worked her way through her first three opponents during the double-elimination phase (Deborah Gerken, Kimberly Housman & Sonya Chbeeb) to arrive at her first opponent among the final eight, Helen Caukin. In the remaining two, single-elimination matches, Vanessa Seaver (Jeannie Seaver’s older sister) squared off against Jessica Barnes, while newcomer Xare Qualis faced Tracy Mullen.

Mast advanced 7-5 over McIntosh, Mitchell got by Caukin 7-1, Seaver downed Barnes, double hill and Mullen eliminated Qualis 7-4. And then there were four; Mast and Vanessa Seaver, Mitchell and Mullen.

Mast shut the elder Seaver sister out and advanced to the finals. Mitchell joined her after dispatching Mullen 7-4.

Things did not go well for Mitchell in the early stages of the final race to 7, but she rallied in rack #9.

“She was (on the hill) at 6 and I was at 2,” said Mitchell, “and I won the next three.”

In her effort to force a double-hill, single-game showdown by winning the 12th rack, Mitchell made an unforced error in what proved to be the final rack and missed her shot at the 5-ball. Mast wasted little time stepping to the table and closing out her first victory on the Tiger Florida Tour.

“She had really good composure,” noted Mitchell of her opponent, adding that even in ‘safety play,’ Mast would “kick it and hit almost anything. She played a few safes back that worked for her and then she’d run out.”

“I played well,” said Mitchell of her own single-loss performance. “I made almost everything I shot at and I’m proud of my own performance.”

“At 1 a.m.,” she added, “I found a second gear, but it was a little too late.”

Mast posted her “I WON!!!” notice on Facebook at 1:52 a.m.

Tiger Florida Tour director, Mimi McAndrews, who’d noticed Mast’s “determination,” even back when she’d first begun to compete on the tour, had nothing but the highest praise for the junior competitors’ skills, as well as her general demeanor at the tables. 

“She had a lot of focus, even back then,” said McAndrews. “A lot of concentration and a decent stroke. We were just impressed that she was coming out to play. She kept coming back and has gotten progressively better. Nobody expected that she’d get so good; not just in making balls, but in shape (for the next shot).”

“If you took a video without showing the player,” she added, “you’d never know that it was a child.”

They call her the “Pink Dagger,” which, even on the face of it, is an image that’s hard to wrap your head around. But it encapsulates the skills, determination, focus and an even more astounding ability to perform like an adult, while maintaining a grip on her childhood. This is no grim-faced teenager, so dedicated to the application of specific skills, that any semblance of a child has been lost. Sofia Mast, who is sponsored by Predator Cues, Jam Up Apparel and Dunnski Dungeon, is still a kid and enjoying every minute of it. So are those who are watching her mature. She’ll be competing in the 2nd stop on the JIC series next month (Feb. 11-13) at Diamond Billiards in Cape Coral, FL. You might want to consider getting there early. 

Tiger Florida Tour director Mimi McAndrews thanked Larry Walthall, Mike Dauskart and their staff for hosting the event and their continued support of the tour. They also thanked the 32 players who came out to compete in the 2022 season opener and Jerry Sotelo and Josh Arnold for their invaluable help running the Florida Tiger Tour events. Thanks were also extended to Randi Allen, Director of Marketing and Events and to title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products, Brutal Game Gear, Stitch It To Me, Boynton Billiards, AZBilliards, and new sponsors Eastern Billiards and Andy Cloth for their support. Congratulations were extended to Jeannie Seaver for winning the tour championship for the third year in a row; the only player to have done so in the history of the tour since 2009.

The next stop on the Florida Tiger Tour, scheduled for February 26, and likely to feature another appearance by the “Pink Dagger,” will be hosted by Brewlands North in Lakeland, FL. 

WPBA Announces Rejuvenated Regional Tour Program

The Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) has made great strides in the last two years to expand the number of Tour stops on the WPBA Tour, and currently seven stops are already scheduled for 2020. In alignment with our strategic goals to expand the tour, the Board of Directors is revitalizing the Regional Tour Program (RTP).
 
To date, three regional tours have committed to joining the program:
 
Tiger SMART Tour (Belinda Calhoun)
Florida Coastal Ladies Tour (Janis Sessions)
Tiger Florida Tour (Mimi McAndrews)
 
Both the Tiger Florida Tour and Florida Coastal Ladies Tour are coordinating their efforts and schedules to maximize opportunities for the women players in their region.
 
Major points within the new program include:
* There is no annual WPBA affiliation fee for any women’s Regional Tour.
* A women’s Regional Tour must offer a minimum of 4 regional tour stops per year.
* Players on any WPBA-affiliated Regional Tour are not required to join the WPBA.
* WPBA-affiliated Regional Tours need not be exclusively affiliated to only the WPBA.
* WPBA-affiliated Regional Tours may use tour stops as qualifiers to WPBA Pro Tour events if applied for in advance.
 
As more women’s Regional Tours affiliate to the WPBA, the WPBA plans to reintroduce its annual Regional Tour Championship (RTC).  Current women’s Regional Tours or promoters desiring to initiate their own women’s Regional Tours may contact the WPBA at wpbaoffice9@gmail.com / (855) 367-9722 for affiliation applications and/or materials to assist in the formation process.
 
The WPBA Board of Directors is committed to providing opportunities for the next generation of women to become professional billiards players and join the ranks of our dedicated cadre.

Seaver Sisters Take Top Two Spots At TFT “Cues For The Cure”

Jeannie Seaver, Amy Poulter and Vanessa Seaver

Jeannie Seaver went undefeated for the second time in a row this year to take the Tiger Florida Tour’s 8th Annual “Cues for the Cure” breast cancer awareness fundraiser. Thirty-five women played in shades of pink in this $1,000-added modified double elimination event. 
 
Four players from the winners side and four from the loser’s side made it to the final single elimination board. Jeannie handily made it to the final board after sending several players west – Suzayn Yap 7-2, Roe Guarnero 7-5, and Cheryl Perez 7-4.  Vanessa also made it to the final board undefeated, getting past Mandolin Robinson 7-0, Sue Roberts 7-5, and Cortney Bernard 7-2.  Crystal McCormick also made it to the final board undefeated against Susan Correa 7-4, Stephanie Mitchell 7-3, abd Echo Pinkley 7-5. Marlene Houldsworth was the final player from the winners’ side to make it to the single elimination bracket, getting past Shiri Avrahami 7-1, Susan Ruisi 7-5, and Julia Spinella 7-4.  Making it to the final board from the one-loss side: Tour Director Mimi McAndrews, Stephanie Mitchell, Kelly Coyle, and Echo Pinkley.
The final four from one-loss side redrew into a single elimination bracket race to 7. Coyle drew Jeannie Seaver but lost 7-3, and Mitchell drew Houldsworth, winning 7-4. Pinkley matched up against McCormick, winning 7-4, and Vanessa played McAndrews, winning 7-3.  Vanessa went on to defeat Pinkley 7-4, making it Vanessa’s first trip to the Finals of a TFT event. Meanwhile, Seaver’s sister, Jeannie, defeated Mitchell in the semi-finals 7-4 to meet up with Vanessa in the first sister-to-sister final!  Not to be distracted by playing ‘sis for the first time in the finals, Jeannie went on to win the match and the tournament 7-2.  This win also secured the TFT Tour Champion title for the second year in a row.
 
We thank our title sponsor Tiger Products; Ozone Billiards; Great Lakes Billiards, Ultimate Chalkers, Boynton Billiards, AZ Billiards and Discount Mugs. Of course, thanks to Amy Poulter for being a great hostess again!  Thank you also to those who donated prizes for the Cues for the Cure raffle: Janis Sessions, Nicolle Cuellar (Stitchittomeembroidery.com), Pete Franco (Ulterior Chalkers), Boynton Billiards, and Keith Columbo, Billiard Engineering (The Sleeve).  And a huge thanks to everyone who supported and contributed to in the fundraiser. All of the proceeds raised benefit the South Florida Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
 

Mitchell Brings It Home At Tiger Florida Tour Stop #4

Leslee Blaikee, Ashley Nandrasy, Nicolle Cuellar and Stephanie Mitchell

Winning TFT Stop #5 was not Stephanie Mitchell’s first win on the Tiger Florida Tour. In fact, this was her second win this year. Winning at her home turf just made it that much sweeter.
 
Mitchell is the owner of The Corner Pocket, host to TFT Stop #5. Despite the distractions of hosting a tournament in your own room, Mitchell was not to be stopped. She started out by defeating Jeri Bouvette 7-5; Cortney Bernard 7-1, before going west thanks to Nicolle Cuellar 7- 3. Mitchell stopped her friend and newcomer to the TFT, Casie Ayrnat, 5-3; and veteran regional tour player but also new to the TFT, Ashley Nandrasy, 7-5, in the semi-finals to match up against Leslee Blaikee.
 
Blaikee got to the finals after losing her first match to Tour Director Mimi McAndrews, 7-3. Leslie came to the tournament to win, though, and got past Julia Spinella and Donna Favors 5-3, won a hill-hill match with Courtney Bernard, and won 5-3 over Jessica Barnes and Michell Monk putting her in the finals against Mitchell.
 
In the final race to 7, however, Mitchell came alive and took the match 7-3 over Blaikee, who played strong all day, to her credit. Mitchell won the tournament and the paid Qualifying spot to Vivian Villareal’s Tornado Open at the Seminole Hardrock Casino at the end of September.
 
Two spots to the Women’s Amateur 9-ball were also up for grabs, won by Ayrnat and Sabra MacArthur Beahn.
 
We thank our title sponsor Tiger Products; Ozone Billiards; Great Lakes Billiards, Ultimate Chalkers, Boynton Billiards, AZ Billiards and Discount Mugs. Of course, thanks to Stephanie Mitchell for being a great host!

Nicolle Cuellar defeats TFT Tour Champion

Jeannie Seaver, Vanessa Seaver and Nicolle Cuellar

Nicolle Cuellar showed that she still has what it takes to get to the top, winning her first Tiger Florida Tour event in a long time, taking down the TFT Tour Champion Jeannie Seaver along the way.
 
33 women came to Boulevard Billiards in Ocala last Saturday, including several new players from the Ocala area. Cuellar made it past Kaylee McIntosh, a talented 17-year old junior player, and Tour Director Mimi McAndrews before going west thanks to Jeannie Seaver. Cuellar then fought her way back to the finals with wins over Kristen Bennington, Jeri Bouvette and Vanessa Seaver.
 
Jeannie Seaver, in great form fresh off her 5th/6th place finish at the WPBA US Open, got past Angela Ger, Wendy Langford, Windy Tang, Jessica Human and Michell Monk to meet up with Cuellar in the finals for Cuellar’s revenge match. The final match between Cuellar and Seaver was close, and a few missed shots by Seaver left the door open for Cuellar, who quickly stepped up and closed the door 7 – 5 for the win!
 
Vanessa Seaver, Michell Monk finished 3rd/4th. Jeri Bouvette, Windy Tang, Jessica Human and Roe Guarnero finished 5th – 8th.
 
Thanks again to Boulevard Billiards and Diane Chauliac and Donald Kreischer for being great hosts again this year! Thanks to our title sponsor, Tiger Products, and Great Lakes Billiards, Ulterior Chalkers, Boynton Billiards and Discount Mugs.