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Fracasso-Verner wins nine on the loss side, double dips Matta to claim NE 9-Ball Series title

Rafael Ortiz Jr, Clyde Matta and Lukas Fracasso-Verner

It’s been a relatively good year for Lukas Fracasso-Verner. He started it off in January by winning a stop on the NE 9-Ball Series and a month later, won the Empire State Championships, which, combined, has so far accounted for just under 80% of his cash at the tables this year. He’s a little over halfway to his 2018 cash earnings, which were the best of his still-young career. He took a step in the right direction on the weekend of August 9-11 by winning nine on the loss side of a NE 9-Ball Series bracket (Stop #24) to double dip hot seat occupant Clyde Matta and win the event title. The event drew 60 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

As the event wound down to its final 12 competitors, Fracasso-Verner had the remaining field’s highest Fargo Rate (648). He was sent to the loss side in a double hill, second-round battle versus Jason Platt, who was sent over to join him by Mike Demarco in the next round. DeMarco would join both of them, when defeated by Clyde Matta, who advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Ran Tamba. Rafael Ortiz, Jr., in the meantime, squared off against Phillip Medeiros in the other one.
In a straight-up race to 6, Matta (with the final 12’s second-highest Fargo Rate; 615) downed Tamba 6-3, as Ortiz, Jr. was busy surviving a double hill straight-up race to 5 against Medeiros. Matta claimed the hot seat with an exclamation point, shutting Ortiz, Jr. out.
Over on the loss side, Fracasso-Verner was edging his way back. With four down and five to go, he navigated his way through two straight double hill matches, against Mike DeMarco and Jim Prather, to draw Tamba. Medeiros picked up Jose Concepcion, who’d also chalked up two straight double hill matches, against Angel Gonzalez and Ed Courtney, to reach him.
Fracasso-Verner won a third double hill match, eliminating Tamba and advancing to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by Concepcion, who’d defeated Medeiros 4-2. Apparently tired of facing elimination in double hill scenarios, Fracasso-Verner gave up only one rack to Concepcion in those quarterfinals.
In a straight-up race to 7, Fracasso-Verner defeated Ortiz, Jr. in the semifinals 7-3 and turned to Matta in a true double elimination final. Fracasso-Verner took the opening set in a straight-up race to 6, 6-2. Matta fought back fiercely in the second race-to-5 set, forcing a deciding 9th game. Fracasso-Verner won it to claim his second 2019 NE 9-Ball Series title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s, as well as sponsors Predator, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop (#25) on the NE 9-Ball Series, scheduled for the weekend of August 24-25, will be a special added event, an All-Around Championship, featuring competition in 8-ball, 10-ball and straight pool, to be hosted by Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

The Pearl wins Predator Open finale; Davis comes from the loss side to win Amateur event

Earl Strickland

Anytime Earl Strickland and Jayson Shaw get into a tournament together (and it's happening frequently, now that they're both residing together in The Big Apple), spectators are poised for fireworks. And it's a little like the anticipation of actual fireworks; no matter how many times you've seen it, you still "Ooh,' and "Ahh" at the really good explosions of color. They failed to materialize during the season finale of the Predator Tour. They both made it to the winners' side semifinals, but Wang Can sent Shaw to the loss side, from whence he would never return. Earl Strickland, though, went on to complete an undefeated run through a field of 16, on-hand for the $1,500-added event, hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
A concurrently-run, $1,500-added Amateur event drew 64 entrants and saw Phil Davis come from the loss side and win six straight matches to defeat hot seat occupant, Stewart Warnock.
In the Open event, as Wang Can was busy sending Shaw off to what would turn out to be a second straight loss, Strickland was sending Mhet Vergara over 7-5. Strickland completed his short, three-match run to the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Can, and waited on what a few folk thought might be Shaw, but turned out to be a second meeting versus Can.
On the loss side, Shaw's undoing came immediately at the hands of Frankie Hernandez, who'd downed Chad Bowling 7-4 and Michael Yednak 7-5 to reach Shaw. Vergara picked up tour director Tony Robles, who'd gotten by room owner Holden Chin and Nigel Francis, both 7-3. 
Shaw and Vergara both went down for their second straight losses; Shaw to Hernandez 7-5, and Vergara to Robles 7-3.
Hernandez then took Robles down 7-2 in the quarterfinals. Can delivered an even more decisive victory over Hernandez in the semifinals, allowing him only a single rack in the match that sent Can back for a second shot at Strickland. They'd played 12 in the hot seat match and Strickland had come up with seven. They played 15 in the final match, and Strickland racked up nine to claim the event title.
In the Amateur event Stew Warnock sent Phil Davis to the loss side 7-5 in a winners' side final eight match and turned to face Manny Stamatakis, owner of Steinway Billiards. Rafael Ortiz, Sr., in the meantime, met up with Roberto Mendoza. Warnock and Stamatakis battled to double hill before Warnock prevailed. Ortiz, Sr. joined him in the hot seat match after a double hill fight against Mendoza. Warnock gained the hot seat 7-5, in what would prove to be his last victory.
As would happen later in the Open event, the two players making their loss-side debut were eliminated by their loss-side opponents; by the same 7-3 score as it turned out. Stamatakis was downed by Eric Grasman, who'd defeated Koka Davladze 7-5 and Meshak Daniel 8-5 to reach him. Mendoza fell to Davis, who, following his defeat at the hands of Warnock, had given up only three racks in victories over Rhys Chen (1) and Bogie Uzdejczyk (2).
Davis then dropped Grasman into fourth place 7-5 and spoiled Rafael Ortiz, Sr.'s chance for a rematch against Warnock with a 7-3 win. Davis, whose last recorded win on the Predator Tour was almost exactly two years ago, in the same location, defeated Warnock 9-4 in the finals to complete his loss-side journey and claim the event title.

Russell goes undefeated to capture Predator Tour Amateur event

Though challenged by Junior Sanchez, who won five on the loss side to face him in the finals, Brian Russell hung on to go undefeated in the Amateur event of the Predator Tour stop on the weekend of February 11-12. The $500-added Amateur event drew 59 entrants to The Cue Bar in Bayside, NY.

From among the winners’ side final four, Russell defeated Charles Young 7-5 to get into the hot seat match against Matthew Harricharan, who, from among the final eight winners, had sent Junior Sanchez west and then defeated Rafael Ortiz 7-2. Russell got into the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Harricharan, and awaited the return of Sanchez.

Sanchez began his five-match, loss-side journey with a 7-4 victory over Coco Davladze, followed up with a 7-5 win over Billy Santiago, and picked up Ortiz. Young drew Kelly Wong, who’d advanced past Ray Lee 7-4 and Meshak Daniel 7-2. Sanchez gave up only a single rack versus Ortiz and moved into the quarterfinals against Young, who’d downed Wong 7-4. 

Sanchez then won two straight double hill battles; versus Young in the quarterfinals, and then, in a re-match, over Harricharan in the semifinals. Sanchez got into his third straight double hill match in the finals against Russell, but it was Russell prevailing to capture the event title.

Tour director Tony Robles thanked The Cue Bar owner, Sam An and his staff, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 racks, Poison Cues,, and NYCGrind.