Archive Page

Kraber wins two-match battle against the Grinder to win OTB Ladies Tour finale

April Larson, Kim Sanders, Jennifer Kraber and Rhio Anne Flores

There’s a lot of it going around these days. A younger generation of pool players going head to head against an older generation of players who were around before they were born. In Puerto Rico recently, the phenomenon featured WPBA top pro Kelly Fisher doing battle against 12-year-old Savannah Easton and in the early going, the 12-year-old was ahead 3-2, albeit not for long. That sort, though not precisely that sort of generational ‘combat’ was on display this past weekend at the On the Ball Ladies Tour in the finale of the tour’s season. Veteran Texas competitor, Jennifer Kraber, whose recorded-to-us career got its start when she finished 17th on the Hunter Tour back in 2000, and former five-time BEF Junior National Champion (2012-2016) and current WPBA competitor April Larson (aka The Grinder) squared off twice in the hot seat and finals of the $3,000-added ($2,000, On the Ball Co., $1,000, Skinny Bob’s) season finale, that drew 28 entrants to Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX. 

Kraber went undefeated at the event to claim the title, while Larson ended the tour’s season as its tour champion, beating out Ming Ng by a mere five points. In all, the tour handed out over $1,000 in awards and giveaways over the weekend. Its Most Improved Player award went to Chris Fields, who was also credited with the Most Break & Runs award. Natalie Mans was acknowledged as the tour’s top competitor at making the Most 9’s on the Snap, while Natalie Rocha received the tour’s Best Sportmanship award.

Kraber’s path to the winners’ circle in the tour’s season finale went through Rhio Anne (“Annie”) Flores, Kim Pierce and Gail Roles to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Kim Sanders. The Grinder, in the meantime, got by Erica Hanlon, Molly McWhorter and Zoe Lozano to reach her winners’ side semifinal opponent, Michelle Cortez.

Kraber downed Sander 7-3, as Larson was dispatching Cortez to the loss side 7-2. The two generations battled to double hill in the hot seat match before Kraber won it and sat in the seat, awaiting Larson’s return. 

On the loss side, Sanders picked up Ming Ng, who’d lost her third winners’ side match to Cortez, double hill and then defeated tour director Teresa Garland 7-5, and Chris Fields, double hill to face Sanders. Cortez, in the meantime, drew “Annie” Flores, who’d followed her opening round loss to Kraber with four loss-side wins, giving up only three total racks to Brenda Viola (1), Brittany Kromer (1), Carmel Luttrell (1) and Nicole McDaniel (0). 

Flores made it five in a row, eliminating Cortez 7-4. Sanders and Ng locked up in a double hill fight that eventually put Sanders into the quarterfinals against Flores.

Another double hill battle ensued, this one eventually sent Sanders to the semifinals against Larson. Larson got a second shot at Kraber, waiting for her in the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Sanders in those semifinals.

The finals came within a game of double hill. Kraber, though, edged out in front near the end and won it 7-5, claiming the OTB Tour’s season finale title.

Tour director Teresa Garland thanked the ownership and staff at Skinny Bob’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor On the Ball Co., and Backwards Billiards for the free live streaming on YouTube. The On the Ball Ladies Tour for 2023 will be coming soon and available on the tour’s page here at AZBilliards.

Go to thread

The Grinder goes undefeated to take Stop #3 of On The Ball Ladies Tour in Texas

April Larson

April Larson, aka The Grinder, has come a long way from winning her first pro event, back in August of 2016. She’d represented the USA that year in the Atlantic Cup Challenge, a Mosconi Cup-type event for junior competitors, and won her fifth BEF Junior Nationals title earlier that summer. The victory on the North American Pool Tour’s Summer 10-Ball Classic rendered her literally speechless, when she was handed the winning check. She’d actually been fascinated by the trophy and when she’d collected that, had completely forgotten about the money that went along with it, presented to her sometime later by NAPT’s Adrianne Beach.

Now, she’s the house pro at Stixx and Stones Billiards in Lewisville, TX and is in the midst of trying to duplicate her best earnings year (2018) since that first win, six years ago. She’s just a little more than half-way to her 2018 earnings at the table, having won three events so far this year, and it’s only May. In February, she was runner-up to Mary Rakin in the 7th Annual Texas Open’s Ladies 10-Ball event, before winning both the Ladies Division of the Scotty Townsend Memorial and the 2022 Midwest Ladies Open in March. In April, she chalked up a 9-ball challenge victory over Melissa Helland.

This past weekend (May 14-15), Larson signed on to the On the Ball Ladies Tour for its third stop of the year and went undefeated through a field of 29 entrants to claim the title. The $2,000-added event was hosted by Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX.

Larson’s trip to the winners’ circle was almost derailed, or to be more accurate, sidetracked early. She defeated Edwidge Cavanna 7-2 in the opening round before having to battle through two straight double hill matches, against Nicole McDaniel and Michelle Yim, which set her up for a winners’ side semifinal against Kim Sanders. Chris Fields, in the meantime, who’d face Larson twice before all was said and done, opened with a 7-2 win, as well, against Ruth Paine and advanced to down Ximena Duarte 7-4 and Ming Ng, double hill, to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Jennifer Kraber.

Larson, apparently having had quite enough of double hill matches for the day, shut Sanders out and advanced to the hot seat match. She was joined by Fields, who sent Kraber to the loss side 7-2. Larson gave up only a single rack to Fields and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Kraber picked up Jenna Bishoff, who’d lost her opening round match to McDaniel and went on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Mille Almarez 7-5 and Michelle Yim 7-3. Sanders drew a rematch against Cristina Schneider, whom she’d sent to the loss side in the second round and was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side run that included most recent wins over Ming Ng 7-3 and Angie Payne 7-2.

Bishoff and Schneider had their loss-side winning streaks ended by Kraber and Sanders, in completely different ways. In advancing to the quarterfinals, Sanders gave up only a single rack to Schneider. Bishoff fought Kraber to a 13th deciding game before Kraber prevailed to join Sanders in those quarterfinals.

Sanders then defeated Kraber 7-4, only to be downed by Fields in the semifinals 7-2. Though Fields would do considerably better against Larson in the finals than she had in the hot seat match, Larson edged out in front near the end of the final match, claiming the event title 7-5.

As may be noted in the accompanying photo, Larson remembered her check this time.

The next stop (#4) on the On the Ball Ladies Tour is scheduled for the weekend of July 24-25 and will be hosted by Betsy’s Billiards in Austin, TX. 

Go to thread

Fields comes from the loss side to double dip Ng in finals of OTB Ladies Tour

Ming Ng and Chris Fields

Chris Fields, no stranger to the felt since she first started recording payouts on Florida’s Flamingo and Bay Area Amateur tours 12 years ago, chalked up her first win in just over two years when she came from the loss side to meet and defeat Ming Ng in the finals of a stop on the Texas-based (as is Fields) On The Ball Ladies Tour this past weekend (March 12-13). Her last (recorded) win came on the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s Women’s Finale in October, 2020, when, through six matches, she chalked up an aggregate score of 36-6. At this recent event, Fields had that many racks, plus one, scored against her in her second round of play, which sent her to the loss side for more; more ‘for’ than ‘against’ as it turned out on that side of the bracket. The $2,000-added event drew 34 entrants to Betsy’s Billiards in Austin, TX.

Fields got by her opening match okay, shutting out Leigh Constant, but ran into Kim Sanders in the second round, who fought her to double hill, before she (Sanders) prevailed, launching Fields into a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that eventually led her back to hot seat occupant Ming Ng.

Ng, part of a hot-seat-match pair of what might be aptly described as ‘heavy hitters’ on the Texas Ladies Pool scene, had opened her bid for the title with a double hill win over Angie Payne and went on to defeat Cheyenne Valdez and Natalie Rocha before facing Kim Pierce in one of the winners’ side semifinals. The other member of the ‘heavy hitters’ pair was Jennifer Kraber, who’d gotten by Margaret Fox, Nicole McDaniel, and shut out Michelle Cortez in a winners’ side quarterfinal to face Michelle Yim in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kraber downed Yim 7-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Ng, who’d sent Pierce to the loss side 7-5. Ng sent Kraber off to what would prove to be a fateful matchup in the semifinals, claiming the hot seat 7-4.

On the loss side, Yim drew Kim Sanders, who, following her loss to Pierce had defeated Angie Payne and Natalie Rocha, both 7-5. Pierce picked up Fields, four matches into her loss-side streak, which had recently eliminated Carmel Luttrell and Stephanie Reyes, both 7-1.

Fields advanced to the quarterfinals 7-5 over Pierce and was met by Yim, who’d survived a double hill fight versus Sanders, and was thus able to avoid a rematch against Fields. Fields eliminated Yim 7-4 in those quarterfinals and then, Kraber in the semifinals 7-3.

It was a true double elimination final, forcing Fields to win twice to claim the title. A predictable double hill battle characterized the opening set, won by Fields. Fields chalked up the second set 7-4 and claimed the event title.

A $100-added Best of the Rest event drew 10 entrants. Angie Payne took home the top prize, with Zoe Lozano as runner-up. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Betsy’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor On the Ball Co., which also provided streaming services for the event. The next stop (#3) of the On the Ball Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of May 14-15, will be a $2,000-added event, hosted by Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX. 

Go to thread

World-class trio of Orcollo, Kiamco & Bustamante go 1, 2, 3 at 6th Annual Texas Open 10-Ball

Kraber goes undefeated to win her second Texas Women’s 10-Ball Championship

(l to r): John Palmore, Dennis Orcollo & James Davis, Sr.

Being Texas, it’s never enough to just hold an Open and Ladies 10-Ball tournament every year. Instead, Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX hosts a six-day extravaganza (this year, from Feb. 12-17) that has a way of feeling like a month-long extravaganza, headlined by the annual Texas 10-Ball Open and Ladies 10-Ball Championships.

Things got underway on Wednesday, Feb. 12 with a 10-Ball mini-tournament, as more or less of a warm-up for events to come. On Thursday, the activity was a Scotch Doubles tournament that was eventually won by the team of Warren Kiamco and Ellen Robinson, who downed John Gabriel and Ellen Jones in the finals. Later in the day, a Banks/Rails game was won Sergio Rivas, who defeated John Demet in the finals. On Friday, an Open Ring game was won by Jeffrey DeLuna, with Sky Woodward as runner-up and John Gabriel in third place.

In the absence of a defending champion (Alex Pagulayan), a few relatively well-known Filipino competitors stepped in to fill the gap at the $4,000-added 6th Annual Texas Open 10-Ball, which got underway on Friday evening. Dennis Orcollo ended up going undefeated through the field. He downed Warren Kiamco twice (hot seat and finals) and waited patiently as Kiamco eliminated Francisco Bustamante in the semifinals. We’ll get back to them in a while, but first. . . the ladies.

The $1,000-added Ladies 10-Ball Championship, which drew 20 entrants, got underway on Saturday. Unlike the Open Championship, the Ladies event featured its defending champion, Gail Eaton. It was won by its 2018 champion, Jennifer Kraber, who went undefeated through the field, downing Courtney Peters twice, hot seat and finals.

Following victories over Kim Pierce, Kelly Jones and Rachel Hurst, Kraber moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Ming Ng. After being awarded an opening round bye, Peters downed Latonia Taylor and Michelle Yim, to draw Nicole McDaniel in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kraber and Ng locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Kraber to the hot seat match. She was joined by Peters, who’d defeated McDaniel 7-1. Kraber won the first of two versus Peters 7-3 and waited in the hot seat for her return.

On the loss side, Nicole McDaniel drew Kim Sanders, who’d recently eliminated defending champion Gail Eaton and Rachel Hurst, both 5-3. Ming Ng picked up Michelle Yim, who’d defeated Ellen Robinson 5-3 and Kelly Jones 5-2 to reach her.

Yim and Sanders handed Ng and McDaniel their second straight loss; Yim, 5-3 over Ng and Sanders shut McDaniel out to join Yim in the quarterfinals. Yim then did unto Sanders that which Sanders had most recently done to McDaniel; shut her out to advance.

In the semifinals that followed, Yim became the third shutout victim in a row and gave Peters a second shot at Kraber in the hot seat. Peters chalked up two more racks in the finals than she’d chalked up against Kraber in the hot seat match, but they weren’t enough, as Kraber completed her undefeated run 7-5 to claim the Ladies 10-Ball title.

Orcollo backs up Derby City Master of the Table title with undefeated run at Texas Open 10-Ball
It’s only February and Dennis Orcollo has pocketed money that would be the envy of most pool players to earn in an entire year. He finished 16th in the Derby City’s One Pocket Division, 3rd in the 9-Ball Division and won the 9-Ball Banks, all of which earned him the coveted Master of the Table title. All of this followed his victory at the Music City’s Midnight Madness Tournament and his runner-up finish (to Skyler Woodward) in the Music City’s Open Division. He didn’t get a chance to meet Woodward in this event, although Warren Kiamco did.

Robocop (as they call him) got by Kenny Loftis, John Gabriel, Justin Hall, Kevin Guimond and Junior Jueco by an aggregate score of 35-12, giving up just over two racks per match (on average). Orcollo drew Naoyuki Oi in one of the winners’ side semifinals.

Warren Kiamco, in the meantime, started his campaign out with back-to-back shutouts of Thomas Smith and Pat Castro. He then defeated Josh Roberts 7-1, Robert Gomez 7-3 and won a knock-down, drag-out, double hill match versus Sky Woodward (this event’s 2016 champion) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with a 35-10 aggregate score and having given up an exact average of two racks per match. Kiamco squared off in his winners’ side semifinal against a very familiar opponent, Francisco Bustamante, who’d sent this event’s 2015 and 2017 champion, Manny Chau to the loss side.

Orcollo sent Oi to the loss side 7-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Kiamco, who’d defeated Bustamante 7-4. Orcollo and Kiamco played an entertaining double hill hot seat match that eventually sent Kiamco to the semifinals and left Robocop in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Naoyuki Oi drew James Davis, Sr. (known as Strop, because he’s originally from Bastrop, TX), who’d recently defeated two strong opponents in a row to reach him; first Josh Roberts 7-4 and then, Sky Woodward 7-5. Bustamante picked up Roberto Gomez, who’d defeated Junior Jueco 7-1 and Sergio Rivas 7-3 to reach him.

Strop and Oi locked up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Strop. Bustamante joined Strop in the quarterfinals after eliminating Gomez 7-4. Bustamante then sent Davis, Sr. home 7-3 in those quarterfinals.

Those who thought that Bustamante and Kiamco would get into a double hill fight for a shot at Orcollo in the hot seat were disappointed. Kiamco gave up just a single rack and advanced to the finals 7-1 over Bustamante.

One might have been forgiven for believing that with that 7-1 momentum, the final rematch between Kiamco and Orcollo would have been something of an epic struggle. It wasn’t, really. Orcollo shut Kiamco out 7-0 to claim the event title.

Tour directors John Palmore and James Davis, Sr. thanked John and Sue Cielo and their Skinny Bob’s staff for their continued support of this event, to include their hands-on assistance with varied aspects of running the tournament; entries, money management, etc. In addition, noted Palmore, “Kaye Watson is the glue that holds everything together for (Davis) and I. She helps with bracket management and most importantly, that all the the money is correct coming in and going out.” They also thanked event sponsors Simonis, Hanshew Jump Cues and Sleep Inn.

Ng goes undefeated to win Women’s Open Division of 46th Annual Texas Open

Ming Ng (Photo courtesy Jerry Olivier Pool Tour)

The two finalists at the $1,000-added Women’s Open Division of the 46th Annual Texas Open were coming off recent victories. Ming Ng had chalked up a win on the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour in June, while her finals opponent, Taylor Hansen had won a Division I Pro event on the North American Pool Tour (NAPT) in mid-August. It was the second time in a little over two weeks that 20-year-old Taylor Hansen squared off against an opponent who’d been competing as long as she’d been alive. In August, Hansen defeated Eleanor Callado in the finals of the NAPT’s 4th Summer Classic. This time, though, the veteran prevailed. Ming Ng went undefeated through the field of 32, meeting and defeating Hansen in the finals to claim the event title.
 
Though Ng had a pair of relatively easy opening matches in this event, downing Nicole McDaniel and Tracie Voelkering, both 7-1, things tightened up pretty quickly. Robyn Petrosino managed more racks against her than Ng’s first two opponents combined (three), as Ng advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Chris Fields. Ellen Robinson, in the meantime, who’d been challenged, double hill, by Courtney Peters in the opening round, shut out Michelle Abernathy in the second and sent Teresa Garland to the loss side 7-3 in the third, faced Taylor Hansen in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Both matches for advancement to the hot seat match went double hill, as did the hot seat match. It was Ng and Robinson who advanced as Hansen and Fields moved to the loss side. Ng claimed the hot seat, double hill, over Robinson and waited on Hansen’s return.
 
On the loss side, Chris Fields picked up Liz Galvan, who’d been defeated by Julia Rapp in the event’s opening round of play and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end, and had most recently included victories over Teresa Garland, double hill, and Kim Pierce 7-5. Taylor Hansen drew Jennifer Kraber, whom she’d faced at the end of the Texas Open’s Women's 10-Ball ring game. Kraber and Hansen ended up splitting 1st and 2nd in that event.  In the Women’s event, Kraber had been sent to the loss side by Chris Fields, double hill, in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then eliminated Nicole McDaniel 7-3 and Robyn Petrosino, double hill, to draw Hansen.
 
Fields advanced to the quarterfinals 7-2 over Galvan and was joined by Hansen, who’d defeated Kraber 7-5. Hansen then shut Fields out, advancing to a rematch against Robinson in the semifinals.
 
Hansen defeated Robinson 7-3 and came within a game of forcing a deciding match in the finals against Ng. Ng, though, edged out in front and won it 7-5 to claim the 46th Annual Texas Open Women’s title.
 
Co-tour directors James Davis, Sr. and John Palmore thanked Sue and John Cielo and their Skinny Bob’s Billiards staff, as well as Sleep Inn, Mints Amusement, and James Hanshew. They also acknowledged Ray Hansen and his PoolActionTV crew for the live stream of the event throughout the long weekend.

Jones goes undefeated second straight time to take Stop #4 on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour

(l to r): Kim Pierce, Kelly Jones & Tara Williams

Shades of Yogi Berra and his musing about ‘Déjà vu all over again.’ On the weekend of June 8-9 at JR Pockets Sports Bar and Grill in Denton, TX, Kelly Jones and Kim Pierce faced each other twice to claim an event title (Stop #4) on the Jerry Olivier Custom Cues Ladies Tour, just as they had on the weekend of April 13-14 (Stop #3) at the Diamond Sports Bar and Grill in Port Arthur, TX. With the same result – Kelly Jones claiming the title, Kim Pierce finishing as runner-up. At this most recent event, however, their first meeting came in the hot seat match (it was in a winners’ side semifinal back in April), while for the second straight time on the tour, they were the event finalists. The $2,000-added event drew 48 entrants to JR Pockets.
 
Jones’ path to the hot seat match was almost derailed at the outset. She was awarded an opening round bye before facing Michelle Cortez in the second round. Cortez battled her to double hill before giving way. Jones advanced to defeat Rachel Hurst and Belinda Lee, to face Angie Payne in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Pierce, in the meantime, without an opening round bye, defeated Ellen Robinson, Glynda Fuller, Tam Trinh, and Orietta Strickland to draw Ashley Nandrasy in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Jones got into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Payne and was joined by Pierce, who’d survived a double hill match against Nandrasy. Jones claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited for the second straight time on the tour for the return of Pierce.
 
On the loss side, Payne picked up Tara Williams, who’d been defeated by Belinda Lee in the third winners’ side round and defeated Stacie Putnam 7-2, Rachel Hurst 7-4, picked up a forfeit win from Ricki Lee Casper and downed Kim Sanders 7-5. Nandrasy drew Aryana Lynch, who’d been sent to the loss side by Payne in a winners’ side quarterfinal and downed Michelle Yim 7-3 and Ellen Robinson 7-4 to reach Nandrasy.
 
Nandrasy advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Lynch and was joined by Williams, who’d eliminated Payne 7-2. Williams made it six in a row on the loss side with a 7-2 victory over Nandrasy in those quarterfinals.
 
Pierce stopped Williams’ loss-side run with a 7-4 victory in the semifinals for a second shot (a second time) at Jones in the hot seat. Second verse, same as the first, as they say. Jones took the semifinal match 7-4 to claim her second Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour title.
 
A Best of the Rest event with 11 entrants saw Rachel Hurst take the top prize, with Nicole McDaniel in 2nd place. McDaniel was in the hot seat, but left to get home to her family. Corina Campbell finished 3rd and Melissa Smith came in 4th.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at JR Pockets, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Custom Cues, MzTam.com and a “huge shout out” to Rackem TV for providing a live stream. The next stop (#5) on the Jerry Olivier Custom Cues Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of September 14-15, will be hosted by Slick Willie’s Family Pool Hall in Austin, TX.

Sanders wins battle of the ‘Kims,’ goes undefeated to claim Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour stop #2

(l to r): Kim Sanders, Kim Pierce, Jennifer Kraber & Alicia Stanley

Fresh from their battles at the NAPT Div. II Championships in Phoenix, AZ last month (Feb. 21-24), Kims Sanders and Pierce signed on to stop #2 of the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (JOLT). Pierce was runner-up to Bethany Sykes in the NAPT event and Sanders finished in the tie for 17th. They met twice on the recent JOLT event, and Sanders won both times to claim the title. The $2,000-added event drew 42 entrants to Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX.
 
They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, while Alicia Stanley and Audrey Araceli squared off in the other one. Sanders sent Pierce to the loss side 7-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Stanley, who’d sent Araceli over 7-1. Sanders claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight and waited on what turned out to be the return of Pierce.
 
On the loss side, Pierce picked up Angie Payne, who’d defeated Nicole McDaniel, double hill, and Michelle Cortez 7-5 to reach her. Araceli drew Jennifer Kraber, who’d eliminated Natalie Mans 7-6 and defeated Belinda Lee 7-2.
 
Pierce and Payne locked up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Pierce. She was joined in the quarterfinals by Kraber, who’d eliminated Araceli 7-3.
 
Pierce took the quarterfinal match 7-2 over Kraber, thereby spoiling a potential re-match nearly nine years in the making. In November 2010, Kraber (who won the inaugural JOLT event last March) and Kim Sanders battled in the finals of a stop on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, which became Sanders’ first and as far as we know, only victory on a regional tour (it should be noted that ‘as far as we know’ is not a definitive statement; our records are of events about which we have received information over the years. There are regrettably gaps in that information, but we do know they met at that event and Sanders did secure that event title).
 
Pierce moved on and secured her own rematch against Sanders with a 7-4 victory over Stanley in the semifinals. It was a true double elimination final, but Sanders kept it simple, winning the first and only set she needed 7-2 to claim what, according to our records, is only her second event title. The victory also qualified Sanders for an upcoming NAPT Div. II event in Sacramento, CA this coming June.
 
The Tour’s directing committee thanked the ownership and staff at Skinny Bob’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Custom Cues and MZTam.com. The next stop on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (#3), scheduled for the weekend of April 13-14, will be a $2,000-added event, hosted by Diamonds Sports Bar in Port Arthur, TX. 

Terry Petrosino Wins JO Tour Season Opener

Terry Petrosino and Angie Payne (Photo courtesy of Marty Jones)

The kickoff of the 2019 JO Ladies Tour was held at Big Tyme Billiards in North Houston on the weekend of January 12th-13th.  54 women came out to compete in a double elimination, race to 7, 9-Ball match on Diamond Bar Boxes.  Prior to the start of each tournament, a players’ meeting is held and this one was quite special.  A major announcement made was the addition of Strokin’ Billiards, owned and operated by brothers, Tuan and Nam Nguyen.  Strokin’ Billiards will be providing the fashion of the tour and adding $100 to the “Best of the Rest” Tournament at each stop.  We are excited to have Strokin’ as part of the JO Tour and look forward to the amazing designs that will be available!  Check them out at www.strokinbilliards.com
 
The JO Ladies Tour also commemorated the years of service and dedication given by Monica Anderson and Shayla Neris, both who resigned from board positions at the end of 2018.  Also resigning from the tour was our “Tour Angel”, Carter Nakashima.  We are actively looking to fill that spot, so applications are being accepted…  As always, our fearless sponsor, Jerry Olivier, was on site to provide flawless cue repair and sales of his great playing cues!  To order one of his fabulous cues go to www.jocues.com! 
 
The battle of the 54 ladies went late into Saturday night and the remaining 12 returned to play on Sunday.  On the winners’ side was a showdown between Angie Payne vs Chris Fields and Terry Petrosino vs Kim Pierce.  The B Side featured Robyn Petrosino vs Shayla Neris, Jeannie Cockman vs Orietta Strickland, Michelle Yim vs Natalie Mans, and Jennifer Kraber vs Tam Trinh.  When it was all said and done, the hot seat match featured Angie Payne from Austin and Terry Petrosino from Houston.  Terry sent Angie to the other side to duke it out with 2018 Tour Champion, Orietta Strickland from Dallas, and it was Angie who came out on top.  Angie hadn’t played in an Tour stop in quite some time and she was on a mission.  She beat Terry in the first set, however, Terry wasn’t going to let her get away with the second set.  Terry nabbed the first place trophy and prize money of $800!  Congratulations!
 
The second day of the stop isn’t all about the main event.  The Best of the Rest tournament is held on Sunday and it is no less competitive than the main event.  24 ladies returned to play and then there were 2 remaining.  Ellen Robinson from San Marcos and Yvonne “Casher” Asher from Houston were the last 2 standing and split the winnings of $210 and were declared the Best of the Rest.  
 
Main Event Standings:
1st Place Terry Petrosino $800
2nd Place Angie Payne $600
3rd Place Orietta Strickland $450
4th Place Kim “Texas Heat” Pierce $335
5th-6th Place Jennifer Kraber $200
Chris Fields $200
7th-8th Place Natalie Mans $125
Shayla Neris $125
9th-12th Place Robyn Petrosino $85
Tam Trinh $85
Jeannie Cockman $85
Michelle Yim $85
 
Best of the Rest Standings:
1st-2nd Place Ellen Robinson $105
Yvonne Asher $105
3rd Place Cheyna Wigley $60
4th Place Teresa Garland $35
5th-6th Place Crystal Dunn $20
Deedra Trammell $20
 
 
A huge thank you to Big Tyme Billiards (www.bigtymebilliards.com) and Billy Sharp for hosting the event.  Big Tyme is truly a players’ pool hall with its wide open spaces, Diamond Bar Boxes, 9’ Diamonds and Gold Crowns, and friendly staff!  We appreciate it and look forward to returning next year!  
 
We hope to see everyone at the next stop!  From Diamond Bar Boxes to 9’ Gold Crowns, we head out to Round Rock, TX (just north of Austin) to Skinny Bob Billiard’s (www.skinnybobs.com), home of the Texas State 9 and 10 Ball Opens, the weekend of March 9-10th.  Come on out and enjoy some great pool and meet the women of the JO Ladies Tour!  For more information, please contact one of the Board members: Teresa Garland, Natalie Mans, or Yvonne Asher.  
 
The JO Ladies Tour is a sanctioned Division II tour of the North American Pool Tour (NAPT).  Good Luck to these 14 women who will represent the JO Tour in the upcoming NAPT Division II Championships held at Bull Shooters in Phoenix, AZ, February 21-24: Jennifer Kraber, Michelle Cortez, Nicole McDaniel, Kim Pierce, Natalie Mans, Yvonne Asher, Teresa Garland, Tam Trinh, Ellen Robinson, Robyn Petrosino, Kim Sanders, Shayla Neris, Julie Collins, and Kelly Jones.  Let’s hope one of these ladies brings the championship to our tour!
 
 
Jerry Olivier Custom Cues www.jocues.com
JO Ladies Tour www.joladiestour.com
Strokin’ Billiards www.strokinbilliards.com
Mz Tam Trinh www.mztam.com
North American Pool Tour (NAPT) www.playnapt.com

Eaton Posts Second Win on Gulf Coast Tour

Gail Eaton

Gail Eaton came out firing at the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour Texas Open Warm-Up ladies’ 9-ball event held at Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, Texas. Eaton fought her way through a talented field of 29 women, overcoming local favorite Jennifer Kraber in the first and final set, 5-2, to capture her second, consecutive, Gulf Coast Tour tournament title. 
 
On August 28th, 2016, Skinny Bob’s Billiards www.skinnybobs.com, along with tour sponsors Delta-13 Rack www.delta-13.com, APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, Cyclop Billiard Balls, and host hotel Candlewood Suites in Round Rock www.CandlewoodSuites.com facilitated another successful event for the ladies, who competed for over $1,000 in prize money, in a one-day competition. 
 
It was the sixth stop on this year’s WPBA sanctioned Gulf Coast Tour and the players came out in full force, including hometown talent Tam Trinh, Jennifer Kraber, Kim Sanders, Veronica “Pistol Perez” Perez, and Kim “Texas Heat” Pierce, along with San Antonio’s Gail Eaton, Lufkin’s Toni Esteves, numerous Houston contingents, and the newest and youngest member of the tour, 13-year old Ariana Lynch of San Antonio. The road to the winners’ side final four saw Eaton defeat Toni Esteves, Loretta Lindgren, 5-1, and Veronica Perez, 5-0. Mercedes Vasquez also made an impressive run for the final four winners’ side, ousting Tangela Hunt, Teresa Garland, and Liz Yorek, 5-4. Tam Trinh defeated Terri Resendes, 5-0, and Kim Pierce, 5-4, while Ricki Casper ousted Diana Cardona, 5-0, and Kimberly Brown, 5-1. Eaton went on to defeat Vasquez, 5-3, and Casper overcame Trinh, 5-2. On the one-loss side, Nicole McDaniel eliminated Teresa Garland, 4-1, Tiffany Mundie ended Veronica Perez, 4-2, and Kim Pierce halted a three-match-run by Brandi Humber. And then, there was Kraber. Struggling after a second round loss to Garland, 5-1, Kraber won three consecutive matches to meet Pierce. Down to the final eight players in the event, on the top of the one-loss side, it was Mundie over McDaniel, 4-2, while down below Kraber struck another blow, eliminating Pierce, 4-2. Trinh made quick work of Mundie, 4-1, and Kraber took down Vasquez, her fifth victim, 4-1. Back on the east side, Eaton narrowly escaped Casper for the hot seat win, 5-4. Kraber went on to defeat Trinh, 4-1, and Casper, 4-2, which marked an astounding seven, consecutive match wins, to meet Eaton in the final. The former WPBA Pro came out firing against the Austin contender, ending her impressive run in the first set, 5-2.  
 
In an effort to better accommodate the large number of players competing in the Texas Open Warm Up 9-Ball Event at Skinny Bob’s, beginning in 2017, the Gulf Coast event will be staged at “Skinny Bob's II”, a smoke-free pool room, adjoining the main room, which houses eight new Diamond bar tables. “This event has presented some challenges over the years, and I’m confident that utilizing this additional space will provide a smoother tournament experience for all of the players,” says Tour Director, Kim Newsome.  
 
WPBA Vice President and 2016 BCA Hall of Fame inductee, Belinda Calhoun, attended the event, in advance of participating in the 43rd Annual Texas Open. The Gulf Coast Tour would like to congratulate this decorated, professional player on her upcoming Hall of Fame induction, and thank her for close to 30 years of service in the industry. It is because of the efforts of self-less volunteers like Mrs. Calhoun, that the industry continues to move in the right direction. On that note, the Gulf Coast Tour welcomes its newest player members, Ariana Lynch, Kimberly Brown, Stephanie Reyes, Monica DeTuncq, Cindy Tillman, Jennifer Kraber, and Nicole McDaniel. 
 
The Gulf Coast Tour will host a $1,000 added 9-ball event and 2017 WPBA Masters Qualifier on November 12th-13th at Fat Racks Billiards and Sports Lounge in San Antonio, Texas. For more information visit www.gulfcoastwomenstour.com or contact Kim Newsome at 713.825.1411.

The Texas Tornado chalks up her third straight Texas Open title

Jennifer Kraber and Vivian Villarreal

Vivian Villarreal, who'll be spearheading her own Tornado Open tournament at the end of the month (September 30 – October 4), took time out from what must certainly be a flurry of activity in preparation, to chalk up her third straight Texas Open title on Labor Day weekend. The $2,000-added Ladies event drew a full field of 32 entrants, and was run concurrently with a $7,000-added Open event that drew a full-field 128, and was won by Skyler Woodward (separate story).
 
Villarreal's march to the winners' circle was almost (a relative word, of course) derailed in the finals by Jennifer Kraber, a frequent 'flyer' on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, and payout lists for 15 years. Kraber's threat came from deep on the loss side, as she lost her third round match, double hill, to Belinda Calhoun, and embarked on a five-match winning run to get to those finals.
 
Calhoun, in the meantime, advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Villarreal, while always-a-threat Liz Lovely faced Kim Sanders in the other one. Combined, Lovely and Villarreal gave up a single rack in those semifinals (Lovely gave it up to Sanders). Villarreal kept the trend alive by giving up only a single rack to Lovely in the hot seat match. One win away from her third straight Texas Open, the Texas Tornado idled in the hot seat, and watched as Kraber completed her loss-side run.
 
Kraber had defeated Julia Rapp 7-3 and Gail Eaton 7-2, when she ran into Sanders, coming over from the winners' side semifinal. Calhoun, coming over, picked up Ming Ng, recent winner over Nicole McDaniel 7-3 and Chris Fields 7-5. Ng eliminated Calhoun 7-4, as Kraber got locked up in a double hill fight against Sanders. Kraber prevailed to face Ng in the quarterfinals.
 
Ng came within a game of forcing Kraber into her second straight double hill match, but Kraber advanced 7-5, to get locked up in a double hill battle versus Lovely in the semifinals. Kraber advanced again, this time, facing a Tornado, she was going to have to defeat twice to claim the event title.
 
In a tight match, Villarreal and Kraber battled, while Charlie Bryant and Robb Saez were competing at an adjacent table in the semifinals of the Men's event. Villarreal reached the hill at 6-4, and in the 11th rack, was shooting at the 9-ball. It rattled (or, as PoolActionTV commentators would often say, "boinged') in a corner pocket, allowing Kraber to sink it and draw within a game of double hill, and two, to force a second set. Villarreal put a stop to any such notion and finished it at 7-4.