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Lombardo Highlights Turning Stone Day Three

Hunter Lombardo (Photo courtesy of Taylor Workman)

Day three was full of action at the Turning Stone Classic XXX in Verona, NY. 

The late Friday upset victims, Mika Immonen and Billy Thorpe, were both eliminated from the tournament early on day three as Immonen fell to Canada’s Dany Normandin 9-4 and Thorpe fell to Brandon Shuff 9-5.
Jayson Shaw and Earl Strickland were both sent to the one loss side early on Saturday. Shaw fell to Finland’ Olli Turkulainen 9-8 and Strickland lost a 9-7 match to Joss tour favorite Bucky Souvanthong. Turkulainen and Souvanthong were then sent to join the players on the one loss side after losses to Shane Van Boeing and Johnny Archer respectively.
The story of the day on Saturday was the play of Hunter Lombardo. Lombardo is a regular at Turning Stone, but has never finished higher than 7th place. This time, he has quietly scored win after win on the right side of the board. A 9-7 win over Pat Fleming was followed by a 9-1 trouncing of Demitrios Jelatis. At the time of this writing, Lombardo is locked up in a tough match with Archer to determine who will meet Van Boening for the hot-seat. 
AzBilliards will have online brackets and real time scoring for the duration of the event, and Upstate Al is streaming select matches on his Facebook page. Links to all of this coverage are available on our live page for the event. 

Van Boening Earns Fourth Turning Stone Title

Shane Van Boening

The story at the Turning Stone Classic for the past couple events has been whether (and when) Jayson Shaw will match Johnny Archer’s record six wins. After the Turning Stone Classic XXX, the story can shift to whether Shane Van Boening will catch up with Shaw’s five wins. 
Day four dawned with just eight players left with hopes of winning the title. Van Boening was one of the four unbeaten players and he started Sunday with a 9-5 win over Canada’s Erik Hjorleifson. At the same time, Archer was squeaking by Turning Stone regular Hunter Lombardo 9-8. 
On the one loss side, Finland’s Olli Turkulainen eliminated Zion Zvi and Jayson Shaw eliminated another Turning Stone regular, Bucky Souvanthong
Both players coming over from the winner’s side then eliminated Turkulainen (lost to Lombardo) and Shaw (lost to Hjorleifson). Hjorleifson and Lombardo had both been playing great all week, but one of them would have to settle for 4th place. That player would be Hjorleifson after a 9-3 loss to Lombardo. 
The semifinal gave Lombardo a chance to avenge his earlier loss to Archer, but Archer took an early lead and Lombardo would be unable to catch up in a 9-7 match.
Between them, the finalists had almost 1/3 of the Turning Stone Classic titles in existence (9 of 30). Even though Archer had the larger number of titles (six), Van Boening appears to be in his usual late year form, and that was more than Archer could handle. Archer struggled with his break for most of the match, while Van Boening was controlling the break (and the table) like only he can. Archer made a couple short runs, but they were always stopped by a dry break. The final score was 13-7 Van Boening, in a match that wasn’t even really that close. 
For Van Boening, it was his fourth Turning Stone title and his third straight tournament win, following his US Open 8-Ball and US Open 10-Ball wins last month.

Rodriguez goes undefeated to take Joss Tour’s Hudson Valley Fall Classic

Jorge Rodriguez

Though he’d been among the top 10 finishers in 14 major events since January of 2016, an event victory had eluded Jorge Rodriguez since he won the season opener of the 2016 Predator Pro Am Tour. Rodriguez changed that at the second stop on the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour’s 2017-2018 season. Rodriguez went undefeated through a field of 59, on hand for the $1,500-added Hudson Valley Fall Classic, hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY on the weekend of September 30-October 1.
Rodriguez faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of the event. Following victories over Geovanni Hosang, and Ron Casanzio, Rodriguez gave up only one rack to his next two opponents, shutting out Thomas Haas, and giving up the single rack to Geoff Montgomery. This set Rodriguez up in a winners’ side semifinal against Matt Tetreault. In the meantime, Zion Zvi, who’d just sent Rodriguez’ eventual opponent in the finals, Jeremy Sossei to the loss side, squared off against Lee Van Corteza in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Rodriguez sent Matt Tetreault to the loss side 9-3, as Zvi downed Van Corteza 9-6. Rodriguez claimed the hot seat over Zvi 9-7 and waited for Sossei to complete a five-match, loss-side run that would put him into the finals.
Sossei opened his loss-side run with a 9-5 win over Jason Michas, and a 9-3 win over Carmen Lombardo, which set him up to face Tetreault. Van Corteza drew Rhys Chen, who was in the midst of his own six-match, loss-side run that had most recently included wins over Geoff Montgomery 9-5 and Olli Turkulainen 9-7.
Van Corteza ended Chen’s run in a double hill match, while Sossei was eliminating Tetreault 9-3. The Sossei/Van Corteza quarterfinal came within a game of going double hill, but Sossei advanced 9-7. The Sossei/Zvi semifinal rematch did go double hill, and when it was over, Sossei had earned himself a shot at Rodriguez in the hot seat.
Rodriguez completed his undefeated run with a 9-7 win over Sossei in the finals. The win put Rodriguez at the top of early tour rankings, alongside Nelson Oliveira who had won the season opener in September, but did not compete in Nanuet.
A $500-added, 19-entrant Second Chance event was won by Rob Pole, who defeated Mike Salerno in the finals. Scott Haas finished third, ahead of Jim Kearney. Brian Hunter and Ron Plontkowski finished in the tie for fifth.
The next stop on the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of October 14-15, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Sharpshooter’s Billiards and Sports Pub in Amsterdam, NY. A week later (October 21-22), at the same location, the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour will hold its second annual Juniors Tournament, featuring separate divisional events for 18-and-under and 12-and-under competitors. The 12-and-under group will play on 7-foot Diamond tables, while the older group will face off on 9-foot Diamonds. Last year’s winner in the 18-and-under group was Lukas Fracasso-Verner, who defeated Peter Abatangelo in the finals. Ivo Linkin won the 12-and-under competition, downing Zach Hemendinger twice in a true double elimination final.
Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked the ownership and staff at The Spot for their hospitality and asked that players be reminded of the upcoming Turning Stone XXIX, scheduled for January 4-7 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY. Players interested in competing should touch base with Zuglan as soon as possible to secure a slot in the event.