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Gorst goes undefeated to claim 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial Title

Fedor Gorst, Shane Wolford, Kristina Tkach, Paul Oh and room owner Anthony Luong

There are times when words are insufficient to the task that they have been set out on a page to perform. So it is with reporting on the B & L Billiard Tournaments’ 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial, a $10,000-added event that drew 64 entrants to First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA last weekend (June 11-12). Spearheaded by a trio of Hannah Choi’s close friends – Paul Oh, Kristina Tkach and Fedor Gorst – the memorial was organized to commemorate Choi, who went missing from her home in early March and was discovered dead in a Maryland park weeks later. The person currently being sought in connection with her death, classified as murder, has still not been apprehended. 

Choi was an active player at Street Light Billiard Academy in Alexandria, VA, where Tkach, Gorst, Ruslan Chinakhov and other members of “Roy’s Basement,” along with players like Shane Van Boening, Efren Reyes and Nick Varner would gather along with Academy members, offering clinics, challenge matches and exhibitions.

“Hannah became Kristina’s handler, like a family member,” said Oh. “Hannah wasn’t like a professional player, although she was an APA 6, and she became close to Kristina. She was probably Kristina’s closest friend, lived with her whenever she was in-country.”

As a loosely-organized group engaged in the Virginia (and surrounding areas) pool community, the players would discuss any number of things around meals, table practice and tournaments. On more than one occasion, Choi had mentioned to the group the idea of organizing a Virginia-based ProAm tournament, which, for a variety of different reasons, had never really advanced beyond casual talk about it being a good idea.

“We’d had conversations about it,” said Oh, “wanting to hold a tournament in the area, so when Hannah passed, it was a no-brainer.”

Oh reached out to B&L Billiard Tournaments, in the persons of Brian Kilgore and Lai Li, within a matter of days after Choi’s passing. In less than three months, the circle of friends that had known Choi personally, organized the 1st Annual event that would bear her name.

“It meant a lot to Paul, Fedor and Kristina, who was her best friend,” said Kilgore. “Kristina talked to the players (at length) before the tournament began, telling them all of the things that Hannah Choi had done for her.”

Kilgore and the 64-entrant field were all on-hand to hear Tkach’s impassioned words. In retrospect, Kilgore regretted that the moments had not been recorded. Tkach did, though, write about Choi’s passing in an on-line post.

“I didn’t lose my best friend,” she wrote. “No…I lost so much more than that. I lost my soulmate, my partner, life mentor, my whole world.”

“But you didn’t leave me, right?” she went on to ask. “No, it just can’t be… you are somewhere here now, by my side, kindly looking at me, smiling, listening to me just like you always did.”

Tkach continued, eventually confronting the chasm of grief that lay before her; “the pain that doesn’t go away no matter what you do, eating you up from inside.

“But I can’t give up,” she added. “I have to keep grinding, growing and trying to be the best I can possibly be, because that’s what you would want me to do. I promise you will be proud of me.”

At the risk of presumption, one can only imagine that Hannah Choi would have accepted the need and impetus to discuss her passing and the memorial tournament arranged on her behalf, and then, expected all of us to proceed; “grinding, growing, trying to be the best that we can possibly be because that’s what (she) would want us to do.”

The 64-entrant, double elimination bracket that opened the proceedings had a proverbial ‘boat load’ of pool talent on board, including the very people responsible for the tournament’s existence; Paul Oh, Kristina Tkach and Fedor Gorst. Two of those three (Tkach and Gorst) would advance to the single elimination phase of the event and Gorst would win it. Things were set up through the event semifinals for Tkach and Gorst to square off in the final match, but Shane Wolford stepped in and left Tkach in the tie for 3rd place.

In one of the more entertaining matches of the event, Gorst opened up the double-elimination phase against junior competitor, Joey Tate. Live-streamed (as were selected matches throughout the weekend) by Omega Billiards, Tate encountered some early issues, arguably brought on by an initial concern that he might not make it to the event at all. He’d called Brian Kilgore to relate some ‘timing’ issues and assured him that though he was running late, he would be there in time. He made it on-time, by a matter of minutes and found himself facing Gorst in his opening round.

In the early going, Tate missed some ‘9’s and ‘10’s and found himself in a 3-1 hole after four. But he fought back to be within a single game at 6-5. Gorst prevailed and Tate would go on to lose his first loss-side match. 

Gorst advanced and ran into an immediate double hill battle against Atlantic Coast veteran Steve Fleming. He survived that battle as well, and then shut out Kevin West to become one of the eight winners’ side competitors advancing to single elimination. He was joined by fellow ‘winners’ side’ competitors Warren Kiamco, Greg McAndrews, Manny Chau, Roberto Gomez, Shane Wolford, Brandon Shuff and Chris Hansen. From the loss side, Rafael Reyes, Danny Mastermaker, Deo Alpajora, Kevin West, Dylan Spohr, BJ Ussery, Jr., Mhet Vergara and Kristina Tkach advanced to the final 16. Tkach, sent to the loss side by Manny Chau, had worked her way through William Moon, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Roger Halder to join the loss-side’s group in the final 16.

Tkach got by Roberto Gomez in the opening round of single elimination and in the quarterfinals, drew Kevin West, who’d eliminated Chris Hansen. Gorst defeated Mhet Vergara and picked up Manny Chau, who’d sent Greg McAndrews home. Wolford, in the meantime, had knocked out Brandon Shuff and faced BJ Ussery, who’d defeated Rafael Reyes to reach him. Kiamco got by Deo Alpajora in the single-elimination opening round and squared off against Dylan Spohr, who’d ended Danny Mastermaker’s run.

Tkach downed West 9-7 and in the semifinals, drew Wolford, who’d defeated Ussery 9-7. Gorst eliminated Chau 9-4 and picked up Kiamco, who’d defeated Spohr 9-4. 

Wolford put an end to speculation and hopes for two of Hanna Choi’s best friends to meet in the finals with a 9-6 win over Tkach. Gorst downed Kiamco 9-5. In the extended race-to-9, Gorst and Wolford came within a game of double hill. Gorst pulled out in front in the end to win by two, 11-9. 

The 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial was in the books, with Gorst and Tkach proud to have played their part in making it a success. Paul Oh, though less than pleased with his finish ‘out of the money,’ as it were, was pleased at how well the entire affair had been arranged and executed, as was Brian Kilgore.

“It’s amazing to me how it turned out,” said Oh, noting that it was a combined effort on the part of the group of friends around Hannah Choi, who, over the years, “had eaten together, travelled together and worked together,” to include Anthony Milanesi (who’d donated a cue that he’d made for one of the raffles that helped bring money to the event), Ken Tranh and his wife, Linda, Joonick Jun and of course, the central trio of Tkach, Oh and Fedor Gorst. 

That core group along with Brian Kilgore and Lai Li thanked Anthony Luong and his First Break staff for their hospitality and a portion of the added money, as well as Cuetec Cues. They applauded the efforts of all 64 players who’d made Hannah Choi’s first memorial a memorable occasion. As something of an extended tour-promotion unit, they are already looking forward to the 2nd Annual Hannah Choi Memorial. While it’s a bit too early to determine how that will shape up, there is consideration being given to another Open event, as well as a Women’s tournament.

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Stottlemyer takes two out of three vs. Spohr to claim MD State Bar Table 9-Ball Championship

Brett Stottlemyer

The last time Brett Stottlemyer won On the Hill Production’s MD State Bar Table 9-Ball Championships in 2020, he came from the loss-side, faced a teenager, Dylan Spohr, in the semifinals and went on to double dip Oklahoma’s Joe Tomkowski in the finals. Two years later, this past weekend (April 9-10), Stottlemyer and now, an officially adult (21) Spohr faced each other three times; once in a winner’s side semifinal and twice in a double elimination final. Stottlemyer sent Spohr to the loss side in the first, Spohr took the second and Stottlemyer claimed the 2022 MD State Bar Table 9-Ball title with a victory in the third. The $2,500-added event drew 75 entrants to Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

After being awarded an opening round bye, Stottlemyer’s path went through Todd Michael,  before he faced and defeated the ‘favorite’ in the race, Shaun Wilkie in a double hill fight. He followed with wins over Deomark Alpajera and Glen Loveland to draw Spohr in their winners’ side semifinal matchup.

Meanwhile, Rick Miller, looking for his first recorded win since he came back from a loss, battling for the hot seat, to meet and defeat Andrew Cleary in the finals at a stop on the former Predator Pro Am Tour four years ago, worked his way through four opponents, two of which (Ricardo Diaz and Russ Redhead) gave him a double hill run for his money, two others who came within a game of double hill (Rick Molineiro and Scott Haas; 7-5) and Norman Wagner, his first opponent, who chalked up four against him. Miller faced Bobby Pacheco in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

In their first of three, Stottlemyer downed Spohr 7-4 and by the same score, Miller sent Pacheco to the loss side. Stottlemyer claimed the hot seat over Miller 7-3 and waited on Spohr’s return.

On the loss side, Spohr picked up Jimmy Rivera, who, after losing to Pacheco 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal had eliminated Paul Oh 7-4 and Scott Haas 7-3. Pacheco drew Wilkie, who’d followed his double-hill loss to Stottlemyer with six straight on the loss side, including recent wins over Moe Mozannar 7-1 and Molineiro 7-2. 

Wilkie and Pacheco locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Wilkie to the quarterfinals, as Spohr downed Rivera 7-4 to join him. Wilkie’s loss-side run came to end at seven matches in those quarterfinals, with Spohr advancing 7-2 to meet and defeat Miller in the semifinals 7-4.

Momentum went to work for Spohr in the opening set of the finals. Coming off his three loss-side wins, Spohr rolled into that opening set and gave up only three racks. The second set was a much tighter race until the very end. Tied at 3-3, Stottlemyer won two straight before Spohr came back to take the 9th rack, giving him a chance to break and tie it up again at 5-5. 

Things went pretty smoothly in that 10th rack, with Stottlemyer up 5-4, and with four balls left, it looked like Spohr would, indeed, be tying things up. He lined up to shoot the 6-ball into a corner pocket; a pretty straight-forward shot, running it straight up, about three inches off the rail, with enough of an angle to give him good position on the 7-ball. As the 6-ball moved in the right direction, it looked pretty good. Until it didn’t. It caught an edge of the pocket and rattled in the doorway before deciding to stay outside.

Spohr collapsed forward on the table. He knew he hadn’t just missed a shot. With Brett Stottlemyer stepping to the table, Spohr was fairly certain that he’d just missed his chance at winning the title. He was right. It wasn’t precisely over at that point. Stottlemyer did finish the 10th rack to move out in front 6-4 and Spohr got to break and did win the 11th rack to pull back within one at 6-5. But on the hill, Stottlemyer broke, dropping three balls, and then, ran out to claim the title.

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

On the Hill Productions will be back at Brews & Cues on the Boulevard at the end of the month, when they bring event #4 in the Bar Box Bonanza Series, a FargoRate 8-Ball tournament (April 30-May 1).

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Aranas goes undefeated to capture APT title at 12th Annual Bob Stocks Memorial

(l to r): Assistant TD Raymond Walters & Zoren James Aranas

On the weekend of April 7-8, the Philippines’ Zoren James Aranas went undefeated to become the 12th different champion of the annual Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour. In the event’s 13-year history since 2006, only APT veteran Shaun Wilkie has won the event twice.
 
Wilkie was the only one of the event’s previous champions to compete in this year’s event, and though he was fresh from his win on the last APT stop (a “Bar Box Bash,” 8-Ball event in March), he would end up being sent to the loss side by the eventual runner-up (Dennis Orcollo) and be eliminated by the APT’s current #1-ranked player, Steve Fleming.
 
This 12th Annual Bob Stocks Memorial, the fourth stop on the APT, drew 49 entrants to First Break Café in Sterling, VA, and like some other Northeast tours that occurred on the same weekend (the Predator Pro Am Tour, as one example), it benefited from an influx of top players, warming up for the Super Billiards Expo, scheduled to begin on Thursday (April 12). Aranas and Orcollo, of course, were among them, and though they would advance to the hot seat match, and ultimately, the finals, their paths to those last two matches could not be characterized as the proverbial ‘walks in the park.’
 
Aranas opened what would prove to be his winning campaign with three straight 7-2 wins, against Tuan Chau, Mitch Deike and Bruce Choyce. Thomas Haas then chalked up four against him in a winners’ side quarterfinal that would advance Aranas to a winners’ side semifinal against the APT’s #1-ranked player, Steve Fleming. Nobody gave Orcollo a harder time than his first opponent, Coen Bell, who chalked up five against him in the opening round. That proved to be more racks than Orcollo’s next three opponents combined – Paul Helms (1), Shaun Wilkie (2), and Tom Zippler (1). This set Orcollo up in a winners’ side semifinal against Rick Glasscock.
 
Aranas and Orcollo defeated Fleming and Glasscock, both 7-3, to face each other in the hot seat match. Aranas won it 7-3 and waited on Orcollo’s return from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Fleming picked up Tom Zippler, who, following his defeat at the hands of Orcollo in a winners’ side quarterfinal, shut out Jason Trigo, and eliminated Doug Whiting 6-3. Glasscock drew Wilkie, four matches into his loss-side streak that, like Zipple’s, had begun with a loss to Orcollo. Wilkie had moved into the money rounds, with a 6-4 win over Rob Cord, and a shutout over Thomas Haas.
 
With a 6-2 win by Wilkie over Glasscock and a 6-3 win by Fleming over Zippler, the top two-ranked players on the APT squared off in this event’s quarterfinals. The #1-player (Fleming) downed #2 (Wilkie) 6-2. Fleming then fell to Orcollo in the semifinals 6-4.
 
Aranas’ final match proved to be his easiest of the tournament. He punctuated his undefeated run with a shutout over Orcollo in the finals.
 
A Second Chance tournament drew 13 entrants, and saw Scott Haas come from the loss side to avenge an earlier loss to Paul Oh by defeating him, double hill, in the finals. Dan Maruschak finished third and John Cianflone finished in fourth place.  
 
Tour director Ozzy Reynolds thanked the ownership and staff at First Break Café, as well as tour sponsors Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Viking Cues, Predator Cues, Tiger Products, Ozone Billiards, Aramith, and George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor). Stop # 5 on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of May 12-13, will be the Bash at the Beach, hosted by Q-Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.

Earl Strickland Claims His Second Maryland State Bar Table Championship

Rick Scarlato Jr., Earl Strickland, RJ Carmona, Tony Long and Shaun Wilkie (Photo by Erwin Dionisio)

Maryland State events are quickly becoming the premiere event and the Maryland State 9 Ball Bar Table Championship March 17th – 18th was no exception. With another full field event of 128 players, $1000 added by McDermott cues, first place paying over $5900, and a stacked field with every big name you can possibly imagine, it’s no wonder there’s a buzz about the On the Hill Productions tournament. The home room of these tournaments, Bank Shot Bar and Grill in Laurel, MD, was brimming with green-clad players gunning for the top spot this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, everyone hoping for a bit of luck. Earl Strickland was more than lucky, winning the “pot o’ gold” and claiming his second MD State victory. 
 
Strickland was the star of the show as usual, entertaining fans between matches with endless stories and replayed layouts. He was like a Shakespearean actor with a skull in his hands, retelling dramatic matches with famous opponents, waving and illustrating the drama to captivated listeners. On the table, Earl simply dominated, going undefeated with only one opponent getting to the hill before the finals (Adam Kielar). 
 
Of crowd favorites, Earl was of course the largest, then Jason Kirkwood, a bar table champion whose reputation preceded him. The luck of the Irish was not with Kirkwood though, as he was brought down unexpectedly by Leeroy Taylor (7-6), and only won one more on the B-side before his run was ended by Eddie Abraham (7-6), leaving Kirkwood in the top 32 but out of the money. Leeroy went on to finish 9-12, surely leaving some green with envy as he wasn’t an anticipated challenger.
 
The spectators kept hope with their next favorite in line to win, Shaun Wilkie, a professional player who consistently places in the top of any field he enters. True to this expectation, Wilkie immediately downed Danny Basavich, otherwise known as Kid Delicious (7-4). Wilkie could not get past Strickland (7-4) later in the bracket, however, and went to the B-side Sunday to knock down Reymart Lim (7-5), before falling to Tony Long (7-2), taking 4th in this strong event.
 
By Sunday, only monsters remained. The green shirts had dissipated, leaving more of a quiet intensity to the play rather than festivity. Reymart finished 5th/6th after the mentioned loss to Wilkie, but not before taking down Zippler (7-5), Brett Stottlemeyer (7-3), and Pat McNally (7-5) among others. Kenny Ruttmann (Russian Kenny) went on a tear on the B-side which was ended by Paul Cogle Sunday, and Tom Zippler ended Cogle’s run a few rounds later. An exhausting tournament for those making it to this point, but all were in the money and were hungry for their shot. 
 
Speaking of exhaustion, Tony Long may have had the longest (pun intended) journey to get to his 3rd place finish but on the way he ended more runs than a pulled hamstring. Long lost 2nd round to Joe Chester (7-4) and then won an incredible 9 matches in a row. Among those Long knocked out were Greg Sabins (7-1), Chris Wilburn (7-5), Adam Kielar (7-5), Joe Wright (7-4), and Steve Fleming (7-5), before RJ Carmona put a stop to Long in a hill-hill semifinal. 
 
On the way there, Carmona RJ cleared the top of the A-side brackets, with no opponent getting to the hill until his hotseat match with Strickland. He downed Steve Fleming (7-4), Leeroy Taylor (7-5), Joey Mastermaker (7-1), Paul Oh (7-3), Stosh Sheldon (7-2), and in the first round, Kenny Ruttmann (7-5). His first matchup with Strickland did not go smoothly though. Carmona lost a quick 7-2 in the hotseat match before recovering on the B-side. 
 
The Philippine native travelled from Virginia Beach with the Greg’s Not So Pro Shop crew to put up an impressive hill-hill set in the finals against the Hall of Fame legend, even though the true double-elimination format meant that RJ would’ve also had to win a second set to claim the title. The odds were against Carmona, facing a five-time US Open and two-time world champion, but it didn’t seem to phase him.  
 
The final match got off to a funky start, with RJ scratching on the break, leaving a guaranteed 2-9 combination shot, but ball in hand on a 1-8 combo up table. In an effort to control the 1ball, Earl failed to pocket the 8-ball, and conceded the game. RJ then tacked on another game after a fluke scratch by Earl. Another scratch on the break swung things towards Strickland, who took that game and the next, making 3 balls on his break. Score 2-2, RJ broke dry, leading to a safety game and ultimately a miscue. Earl took that game and the next, taking the lead 4-2. The scratches were a large factor in this matchup at this point.
 
RJ answered next rack with a much-needed break and run, clearing the air of mistakes. He then also took advantage of a dry break by Earl, running that out. 4-4, RJ broke, made the 1-ball and got hooked getting to the 2. After a messy back and forth, RJ stroked a beautiful 7-ball to get to the 9, score 5-4 RJ. Earl then broke and ran to even things up, 5-5, then closed the next one after RJ accidentally hooked himself mid-rack.
 
Earl, now on the hill, tried to play safe off the 2-ball, but scratched. RJ seized the opportunity and ran out. Now hill-hill, RJ broke, made the one, and bumped the 2 into a difficult position against the side of the pocket behind a ball. Knowing he couldn’t afford a mistake, RJ decided to play safe by just rolling the cueball against the 2, executing beautifully. Earl somehow not only made a good hit but made the 2. From there, he ran down to the 8, where RJ threw in the towel (literally), conceding the match. 
 
Earl Strickland now owns two Maryland State titles, with Klenti Kaci and Dennis Orcullo each owning one also. Strickland, a North Carolina native who currently resides in the Philadelphia area, is revered as one of the greatest pool players to have ever played. Congratulations go out to him and RJ Carmona for their thoroughly entertaining play. 
 
On the Hill Productions would like to thank Bank Shot Bar and Grill, McDermott Cues, Simonis Cloth, Navigator Tips, Phillippi Custom Cues, Aramith Pool Balls, CBR TAP Leagues, and all the players and spectators that made this event successful. A special acknowledgement to Lights Out Billiards Apparel in addition to sponsoring, but also for donating 10% of their proceeds from this event to a fundraiser run by Greg’s Not So Pro Shop, benefitting a young child in the Philippines that needs a heart operation. 
 
To watch the streamed matches from this event and more, find Ground Zero Scott (Adict2speed) on Youtube. Also follow On the Hill on Facebook, keeping your eye out for the next event at Champions Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, the first big table event for the crew. These events fill up fast, so jump at any chance if you can! 
 

Wilkie and Malm come from the loss side to chalk up their third win on The Action Pool Tour

Shaun Wilkie

Tina Malm had to come a little further on the loss side than Shaun Wilkie did, but when the Open and Ladies events' of the Action Pool Tour's (APT) seventh stop concluded on the weekend of July 8-9, they'd both come back to challenge their respective hot seat opponents, and chalked up their third victory on the tour. The Open event drew 71 entrants, while the Ladies' event drew 13 to Champion Billiards in Frederick, MD.
 
It could be argued that it would have been Wilkie's fourth win on the tour, had it not been for the presence of Dennis Orcollo at the VA State 10-Ball Championships back in February. That said, though, Wilkie did defeat Orcollo in a winners' side semifinal in those championships, and advanced to the hot seat, only to fall in the finals. This time around, Wilkie had to contend with Karen Corr. Following victories over BRyan Jones, Alan Duty, the winner of the Ladies' event, Tina Malm and TJ Moore, Wilkie drew Corr in a winners' side semifinal. Scott Haas, in the meantime, squared off against Jordan Grubb. Corr took Wilkie right to the brink before Wilkie finished the double hill win that put him in the hot seat against Haas, who'd defeated Grubb 7-4. Wilkie took Haas to the brink in that hot seat match, before Haas finished it, consigning Wilkie to a semifinal re-match against Corr.
 
On the loss side, Corr picked up Bruce Nagle, who'd eliminated Malm via shutout and Dave Hunt 6-4 to reach her. Grubb drew veteran APT competitor Brandon Shuff, who'd been sent to the loss side by Haas in the third round and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that included two double hill wins (over Duty and Matt Krah), before chalking up a shutout over Paul Oh and a 6-4 win over Jimmy Varias that set him up against Grubb.
 
Corr got into the quarterfinals 6-3 over Nagle, and was joined by Shuff, who'd eliminated Grubb 6-4. Corr and Shuff went double hill before Corr advanced to a re-match against Wilkie in the semifinals. Wilkie defeated Corr 6-4 and got his own re-match, versus Haas in the finals. In the extended race to 9, Wilkie defeated Haas 9-4 to claim his third APT title.
 
Malm loses opener, wins five on the loss side to meet and defeat Lampert in Ladies final
 
Things did not start out well for Tina Malm, who entered the ladies event of the APT's 7th stop in the #2 position in the ladies rankings (behind Judie Wilson, who's appeared in all seven stops on the tour). In the opening round, Malm faced Tina Castillo, who was appearing on the tour for the first time this year. Castillo won that opener 6-4, and after a 6-1 victory over Peggi Wilkinson, faced Anita Sowers in a winners' side semifinal. Amanda Lampert, in the meantime, faced Terri Stovall, who'd defeated Judie Wilson 6-2 and Jennifer Tully 6-3 to reach her.
 
Lampert and Sowers advanced to the hot seat match; Lampert 6-4 over Stovall and Sowers 6-3 over Castillo. Lampert claimed the hot seat over Sowers 6-1 and waited on Malm.
 
Castillo's move to the loss side put her in an immediate re-match against Malm, who'd defeated Tully 5-1, and Gwen Townsend 6-4 to reach her. Stovall drew Kia Sidbury, who, after an opening round loss to Townsend, had defeated Melissa Mason (double hill), Nicole King and shut out Judie Wilson to reach her. Stovall and Sidbury battled to double hill before Stovall advanced to the quarterfinals to meet Malm, who'd successfully wreaked her vengeance on Castillo 5-3.
 
With two more, back-to-back 5-3 wins – against Stovall in the quarterfinals and Sowers in the semifinals, Malm got a shot at Lampert, waiting for her in the hot seat. The two battled to double hill before Malm dropped the final ball and chalked up her third APT victory of the 2017 season.
 
A Second Chance tournament, which drew 23 entrants, saw Steve Fleming come back from a hot seat loss to Josh McCauley to defeat him 6-2 in the finals.

Moore comes from the loss side to take down Wilkie in the Action Pool Tour hot seat

In the absence of Brandon Shuff, who sits atop the Action Pool Tour's leaderboard, the next three players on that board finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on the tour's sixth stop, held on the weekend of June 18-19 (third-place finisher, Kenny Miller, advanced to that third spot as a result of his finish). Eric Moore, winner of the Virginia State 10-Ball Championships in February, chalked up his second victory on the 2016 tour, coming from the loss-side to defeat Shaun Wilkie, who'd sent him there. The event drew 46 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
 
Moore and Wilkie clashed first in a winners' side semifinal. Moore had advanced through four opponents, allowing each of them an average of two racks against him; 1,1, 2 & 4, against Bill Duggan, Kia Sidbury, Bill Woods and Tuan Chau. Wilkie, after an opening round bye, had faced three opponents and allowed just a slightly higher, percentage point average; 1, 4, & 5, against Rob Gager, Nathan Childress, and Joey Mastermaker. As Moore and Wilkie battled, Kenny Miller and David Stanley squared off in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
Wilkie took the first of his two against Moore 9-5, and in the hot seat match, faced Miller, who'd sent Stanley to the loss side 9-2. Miller proved to be Wilkie's toughest challenge (to that point), chalking up six racks against him, but when the dust settled, Wilkie was in the hot seat, and Miller was on his way to the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, David Stanley ran into a formidable opponent in Taylor Burleson, who'd been defeated in the opening round of play, and then won six on the loss side, including a double hill win over Joey Mastermaker, and a 7-1 victory over Tuan Chau. Moore drew Chris Bruner, who'd been defeated by Miller in a winners' side quarterfinal, and then, on the loss side, eliminated Paul Oh 7-3 and Doug Hornsby 7-2.
 
Moore and Burleson gave up one rack between them versus Bruner and Stanley (Bruner chalked up the one against Moore). Moore then ended Burleson's strong, loss-side campaign at seven wins, with a 7-1 victory in the quarterfinals. 
 
In the semifinals, Moore chalked up a second straight 7-1 victory that denied Miller a second shot at Wilkie in the hot seat. Moore, though, got his second chance against Wilkie, and took full advantage. He became Wilkie's toughest opponent in the tournament, defeating him 11-9 in the finals to claim the event title. 

Deska comes back from semifinals to win second straight Action Pool Tour stop

With a couple of significant 'cats' away, a few fairly formidable 'mice' came out to play at the Action Pool Tour's fourth stop of the year. One of the 'cats' who stayed behind for the April 9-10 stop was Brian Deska, who came back from a hot seat defeat to challenge Jimmy Varias and win his second straight Action Pool Tour stop. The event, missing regular APT 'cats' Brandon Shuff and Shaun Wilkie, who were competing in the Don Coates Memorial in Raleigh, NC, drew 41 entrants to First Break Cafe in Sterling, VA.
 
Sporting remarkably similar won/loss records, featuring only three kinds of scores (8-5, 8-2 and each recording a shutout), Deska (32-9) and Varias (32-12) advanced to a winners' side semifinal against an opponent named Paul; Deska versus Paul Helms and Varias against Paul Cogle. Deska chalked up his second 8-5 score, defeating Helms, while Varias won his first 8-3 match, sending Cogle to the loss side. Varias won his second 8-3 match, defeating Deska to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Helms picked up Alan Duty, who was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He won his third and fourth loss-side matches against Derek Crothers 7-2 and Chris Hansen 7-3. Cogle drew Will Moon, who'd been sent to the loss side by Deska in a winners' side quarterfinal and was on his own, somewhat shorter loss-side streak that would advance him to the semifinals. Moon had defeated Trevor Dentz 7-1 and Paul Oh 7-4 to draw Cogle.
 
Duty downed Helms 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Moon, who'd eliminated Cogle 7-5. Moon ended Duty's loss-side run with a 7-5 victory in those quarterfinals, to earn himself a re-match against Deska. Deska, though, obviously determined, defeated Moon a second time, but not before Moon had forced a final, deciding 15th game. 
 
Deska's second shot at Varias came within a game of coming to double hill. In the end, though, Deska pulled out in front to win it 10-8 and claim his second straight APT title of the year. The victory movEd Deska up on the tour's ranking list, from outside of the top 10 to within three of the leader, the absent-for-this-stop Shuff and the VA State 10-Ball Champion, Eric Moore.

Shuff goes undefeated to capture APT’s Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament

Brandon Shuff

While a list of the 'usual suspects' competed for the 9th Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament title on the weekend of October 10-11, the meta-game of tour rankings on the Action Pool Tour continued. Brandon Shuff went undefeated through a field of 52 , on-hand at the First Break Cafe in Sterling, VA to claim the 2015 title,  defeating defending champion Shaun Wilkie on the way. The tour rankings remained the same, with Wilkie on top and Shuff in second place. The Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament was instituted by First Break Cafe in 2006, and since 2011, has been held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour.
 
Following an opening round bye and victories over Steve Ball, Wilkie, and Rick Glasscock, Shuff moved into a winners' side semifinal versus another perennial Action Pool Tour competitor, Brian Deska, currently at #17 on the tour rankings. Dannys Green and Mastermaker competed in the other winners' side semifinal. Shuff and Mastermaker sent Deska and Green to the loss side, both by 8-4 scores, and met in the hot seat match, won by Shuff  8-5.
 
On the loss side, Wilkie loomed; loss-side campaigns not being unheard of in his itinerary. After a double hill win over Paul Oh, a 7-4 victory over Steve Fleming, another double hill win over Rafael Reyes, and another 7-4 win over Joey Mastermaker, Wilkie met up with Deska, coming over from the winners' side semifinal. Green, also coming over, met up with Jimmy Varias, who'd defeated Kenny Miller 7-3 and shut out Glasscock.
 
Green won a double hill battle versus Varias to advance to the quarterfinals. Deska joined him after completing a double hill win over Wilkie. Deska then downed Green 7-2, before being eliminated by Mastermaker in the semifinals 7-3.
 
While Wilkie's finish in the tie for 5th place assured him that his top spot in the rankings would remain, Shuff was looking to edge closer. He did so with a 10-5 victory in the finals over Mastermaker, securing the Bob Stocks Memorial title, and a firm grip on the tour's # 2 position.
 

Shuff chalks up second straight Action Pool Tour win over Wilkie

Brandon Shuff

For the second time in a row, Brandon Shuff met Shaun Wilkie in the finals of an Action Pool Tour event and won. In March, Wilkie was sent to the loss side in the opening round of play and worked his way back through nine matches on the loss side to face Shuff in the finals. Shuff's victory ended a six-event winning streak for Wilkie on the tour (four at the end of last season, two at the beginning of this current tour season). On the weekend of April 4-5, at an event hosted by Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA, which drew 61 entrants, Shuff once again took the undefeated route to the event title. Wilkie took the easier (shorter) undefeated route, as well this time, until the two met in the hot seat match and the finals.
 
Each of their winning percentages went down since the earlier meeting; Shuff winning 67% of his 97 games this time out (down from 72% of games won in March), Wilkie winning (just shy of) 60% of his 114 (down from 70% in March). Wilkie gave up over twice as many racks to opponents per match in this latest event – 2.5 per match to 5.75 – while Shuff's opponents improved from 2.8 racks per match to 4.57. 
 
Shuff's trail went through Pooky Rasmeloungon, R.J. Carmona, Alex Travino, and Dominic Noe, before coming up against Paul Helms in one of the winners' side semifinals. Wilkie got by Troy Miller, Will Moon, Paul Oh and Matt Krah before facing Mike Davis in the other winners' side semifinal. Shuff downed Helms 9-3, while Wilkie made short 9-1 work of Davis. In their first of two, Shuff gained the hot seat over Wilkie 9-7.
 
Helms moved to the loss side and met up with Jimmy Varias, who was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak (including a bye) that began when he'd been sent west in the opening round of play. Varias survived a double hill match against Tom Zippler and eliminated Matt Krah 7-3 to pick up Helms. Davis drew Carmona, who'd gotten by Steve Ball 7-5 and Noe 7-4.
 
Helms ended the Varias loss side streak, and Davis knocked Carmona out of action, both 7-4.
Davis then eliminated Helms 7-1 in the quarterfinals and got a second shot at Wilkie. Though he'd do a lot better than the earlier 7-1 match and force a 13th and deciding game, Davis fell a second time to Wilkie. Wilkie then fell a second time to Shuff, who completed his second straight, undefeated weekend on the Action Pool Tour 11-9.
 
Shuff, who missed the first two stops on the tour, has a long way to go to catch Wilkie in his perch at the top of the current APT rankings; a trip made even more difficult by Wilkie's runner up finish in the last two events. The tour's next stop (May 9-10 at Clubhouse Billiards in Lynchburg, VA) will mark the midway point of the 10-event schedule.

Wilkie wins “unprecedented” fifth straight on the Action Pool Tour

Shaun Wilkie

Tour director Ozzy Reynolds noted that Shaun Wilkie's four straight wins on his Action Pool Tour would be a record that would be hard to break. Imagine his surprise when Wilkie upped the ante on the weekend of January 17-18 by going undefeated to win his fifth straight stop on the tour. The event drew 52 entrants to Magic 8 Cue Club in Cockeysville, MD.
 
It was not a random-draw easy path for Wilkie, either. After a bye, he had to contend with Brett Stottlemeyer, Paul Oh, and Karen Corr to move among the winners' side final four and a match against Dominic Noe. Alan Duty and Steve Fleming squared off in the other winners' side semifinal. Wilkie moved into the hot seat match 7-3 over Noe, and was joined by Duty, who'd survived a double hill battle versus Fleming. Wilkie claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited on the return of what turned out to be Fleming.
 
Fleming's three-match, loss-side streak, started out the same way Wilkie's win-side streak had begun; against Brett Stottlemeyer, who, following his earlier defeat at the hands of Wilkie, won six in a row, including back-to-back shutouts over Tom Zippler and Shawn Jackson to draw Fleming. Noe picked up Garrett Waechter, who'd survived his first loss-side match (double hill win over David Stanley) and given up only four racks since, including one each to Will Stem and Allan Cannington, which set him (Waechter) up to face Noe.
 
Noe and Fleming advanced to the quarterfinal, defeating Waechter and Stottlemeyer, both matches ending in 5-1 scores. Duty put up a fight in the semifinals, but Fleming prevailed 5-4 for a second chance against Wilkie. For all the good it did him. Wilkie downed Fleming 9-5 to complete his "unprecedented" fifth straight win on the tour.