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Souvanthong Wins First Joss Tour Stop of New Season

Nate Marshall, Diamond Billiards Owner Fran Imburgia and Bucky Souvanthong

Bucky Souvanthong returned to the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour’s winners circle with an undefeated run through a field of thirty five players at Diamond Billiards in Rochester, New York on November 5th – 6th. 

Souvanthong’s path on Saturday included wins Frank Wolak, Nabil Lazouzi and Sean Zeng. Souvanthong had three matches again on Sunday, with two of them against Nate Marshall. The first match against Marshall was a 9-6 win for the hot-seat, and after Marshall eliminated Ron Casanzio in the semi-final match 7-4, the second match against Marshall was a 9-5 win in the final match. 

In the second chance tournament on Sunday, Rohit Aggarwal won two out of three matches against Tito Ortiz, once in the hot-seat match and two more times in the finals where they split two 3-1 matches. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Snookers in Providence, RI for the 34th Ocean State 9-Ball Championship.

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Bausch, Akaloo and McNamara win Joss Tour Titles

Ron Casanzio with room owner Andrea Duvall and Alex Bausch

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour is on a roll with a new winner each week. Different than previous seasons where one or two players dominated the season with multiple title wins, the 2022 / 2023 Joss NE 9-Ball Tour has seen a different winner at each stop. That record continued through October with Alex Bausch winning his first career tour stop at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard on October 15th – 16th, Kyle Akaloo earning his first career tour stop win at Brickhouse Billiards in N. Syracuse on October 22nd – 23rd, and then Ray McNamara winning his first title of the year at American Pool & Billiards on October 29th – 30. 

Alex Bausch’s win on October 15th – 16th kicked off with an undefeated run to the hot-seat match, where he beat Dan Sharlow 9-5. Sharlow would not make it back to face Bausch in the finals, as Ron Casanzio was tearing through the one loss side and defeated Sharlow 7-5 in the semi-final match. 

Casanzio had lost to Bausch early in the day on Saturday, but won seven straight matches to get to the double elimination finals. Casanzio quickly extended that run of wins to eight, with a 9-2 win over Bausch in the first set of the finals, but Bausch took control in the second set and scored a 7-2 win for his first career Joss Tour Stop. 

Ron Casanzio, Brickhouse Billiards Manager Chloe Romanyk and Kyle Akaloo

The October 22nd – 23rd tour stop at Brickhouse Billiards looked a lot like the event a week before. This time, it was South Africa’s Kyle Akaloo who defeated Casanzio on Saturday as part of his run to the hot-seat match. Akaloo defeated Qays Kolee for the hot-seat 9-6, and Kolee found Casanzio on another winning streak on the left side of the board. This time, Casanzio’s run was only five consecutive wins, including a 7-2 win over Kolee, to put Casanzio in his second final match in as many weeks. 

Casanzio won the first set of the finals 9-7, but faltered again in the second set, dropping that match 7-3 for Akaloo’s first career Joss Tour win. 

Dave Hall, American Pool & Billiards Owner Jerry Giutard and Ray McNamara

The October 29th – 30th tour stop at American Pool & Billiards in Portland Maine saw Dave Hall run through the right side of the brackets and score a 9-3 win over Shane Cote to take the hot-seat. 

Cote, then dropped a heart-breaking 7-6 match against tour regular Ray McNamara, who had lost his Saturday match against Hall 9-8. McNamara strung together five straight wins on the left side of the board and got the finals underway with a 9-4 win over hot-seat holder Hall. While two players had been unable to complete the double dip the previous two events, McNamara was successful in his attempt this time, with a 7-5 win over Hall in the second set of the finals for McNamara’s first win on the tour since June of last year. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Diamond Billiards in Rochester, NY this weekend for tour stop number 8, with another $1500 added main event and $500 added second chance tournament. 

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Kolee Wins Second Career Joss Tour Stop at Sharpshooters in New York

Qays Kolee and Bucky Souvanthong

Four events into last season on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, Bucky Souvanthong had played in all four final matches and won half of the stops. This season is a different story though, as the tour crowned a fourth different champion at Sharpshooters Billiards & Sports Pub in Amsterdam, NY on October 8th – 9th. 

Souvanthong did go through Saturday without a loss, joining Ron Casanzio, Qais Kolee and Nate Marshall on the winners side on Sunday morning. Souvanthong sent Casanzio to the left side of the board 9-6 on Sunday morning, while Kolee did the same to Marshall 9-4. The hot-seat match went to Souvanthong 9-6 and it looked like he might notch his first tour stop of the season. 

Nate Marshall was waiting for Kolee on the one loss side after wins over Barry Hetherington (who had been riding a four match winning streak) and Casanzio, but Kolee made quick work of him 7-2 to book the rematch with Souvanthong in the finals. 

The final match was not just a rematch from the hot-seat match, but it was also a rematch from the final match of the Northeast 9-Ball Open XXXII at Sharpshooters back in February of 2020, when Kolee beat Souvanthong in the first set of the finals 9-4 for his first Joss Tour win. The first set of the finals this time was also a 9-4 scoreline with Kolee winning again. That left one race to seven to determine the winner, and it was Kolee with a hill-hill win for his second tour stop win and first of the new 2022/2023 season. 

Sundays second chance event saw Tom Acciavatti get off to a slow start with a 3-0 loss to Aaron Greenwood in the first round, but Acciavatti quickly got things under control and rattled off eight straight wins, including back to back wins over Mark Creamer in the finals, for the tournament win. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY this weekend for another $1500/$500 added event. 

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Two tour veterans, each seeking first Joss NE 9-Ball title, battle it out in finals of season finale

Pete Bowman, Mike Zuglan, Snookers manager Paul Troxell and Ray McNamara

Oldest player to win on tour,’ Bob Darigis, wins Second Chance event

He’d be the first to tell you that it’d been a long time coming. But it did show up. This past weekend (June 4-5), after 20 years of attempts, Ray McNamara (generally known on the tour as ‘Ray Mac’) claimed his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour title, using the last regular season event of the tour’s 2021-2022 season to do so. In an effort that began (as far as we know) with a 7th place finish at a stop in Bristol, CT in October of 2002, McNamara went on to compete regularly on the Joss and other tours, and more recently, won the 364-entrant Amateur Senior event of the Super Billiards Expo this past April. The $1,500-added, 15th stop on the 2021-2022 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour drew 53 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

In addition to crowning a first-time champion, the event played host to another event champion, whom tour director Mike Zuglan described as “the oldest person (he could) think of who won any of (their) events.”  A $500-added Second Chance tournament that drew 14 entrants was won by 71-year-old Bob Darigis.

“Ray Mac and Bob were both around in the days when me, Larry Lisciotti and Joe Tucker were still playing around,” said Zuglan.

Ray Mac’s trip to the winners’ circle had to go through another Joss NE 9-Ball veteran, also looking for his first (recorded with us) win on the tour, Pete Bowman. They met twice; hot seat match and finals. Mac had gotten by Nick Coppola, Lida Mullendore, Clyde Matta and Ryan Cullen to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Bob Madenjian, who, it should be noted, finished in the four-way tie for 5th place behind McNamara in the SBE’s Amateur Senior tournament in April and would end up in the same position at this event. Peter Bowman sent Aro Majumber and Brandon Coley to the loss side before encountering the later-to-be winner of the Second Chance event, Bob Darigis, who battled him tooth and nail to double hill before he sent him over, as well. Bowman then downed Darren Jevons to pick up Kerry McAuliffe in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mac sent Madenjian west 9-2, while Bowman was defeating McAuliffe 9-3. McNamara claimed the hot seat 9-5, which was, as far as we know, his first.

On the loss side, McAuliffe picked up Steve Mack, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Madenjian and jumped onto the loss-side wagon with victories over Rich Kravetz 7-5 and Dan Sharlow 7-3. Madenjian picked up Francisco Salas, who’d also lost to Madenjian on the winners’ side (3rd round) and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals and include the double-hill elimination of Jeremy Sossei, followed by wins over Darren Jevons 7-2 and Frankie Hernandez 7-3.

Mack did his part to secure a rematch versus Madenjian with a 7-4 win over McAuliffe, but Salas took Madenjian out 7-5 and then eliminated Mack 7-3 in the quarterfinals. 

Bowman closed out Salas’ run with a 7-3 win in the semifinals to earn his second shot at Ray Mac, waiting for him in the hot seat. Though Salas would chalk up three more racks against Ray Mac in the finals than he had in the hot seat, Ray Mac prevailed 9-5 to claim his first Joss Northeast 9-Ball title, closing the ‘long time coming’ door behind him.

The final standings in tour points were headed up by Bucky Souvanthong, who appeared in nine of the season’s 15 events, winning five of them. Ron Casanzio finished in 2nd place, based on 10 appearances, with a single win. Jeremy Sossei was in 3rd place, having won three of his five appearances. Len Gianfrate placed fourth, just ahead of Aaron Greenwood. Rounding out the top 10 on the 2021-2022 tour were Jamie Garrett, Dan Sharlow, Frank Hernandez, Mhet Vergara and Bruce Carroll. 

Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked Regina and Steve Goulding and their Snookers’ staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Joss Cues, Turning Stone Resort Casino, Simonis Cloth, Poolonthenet.com, AZBilliards, Aramith, Billiards Press and World Class Cue Care. The next event, the tour’s season finale, scheduled for Sept. 1-4, will be the $25,000-added Turning Stone Classic XXXV 9-Ball Open, hosted by the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY

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Sossei takes two out of three over Kiamco to win Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop on Long Island

Warren Kiamco, Raxx Owner Holden Chin and Jeremy Sossei

It was Jeremy Sossei’s third, and second straight, win in four attempts on the 2021-22 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour this past weekend (May 14-15). It was Warren Kiamco’s first appearance on the tour this year, and with it being a long way from the man’s ‘first rodeo,’ he got as close to winning it as possible; facing Sossei three times, battling to double hill twice, but winning only the first set of the true double elimination final. The $1,500-added event drew 42 entrants to Raxx Pool Room, Sports Bar & Grill in West Hempstead, NY.

Going into Stop #14, Bucky Souvanthong and Ron Casanzio were the tour’s top two points leaders (#1 & #2), way out in front of the field, based on the number of times they’ve competed in the 2021-22 season and on their finish positions each time they did so. They didn’t compete in Stop #14, which left a door open for Sossei, who obligingly walked in, won his second straight stop on the tour and promptly moved himself into third place in the tour-point standings. Kiamco was probably a ‘wild card’ that Sossei had not expected in the deck.

Sossei ran into some immediate trouble when he opened his run in a double hill battle against Ron Piontkowski. Once over that hurdle, he downed Chuck Allie 9-5 and shut out Chris Lazaravitch, before facing Mhet Vergara in a match that came within a game of double hill. He survived that to draw John Francisco in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kiamco drew a bye in his opening round and went on to send Troy Deocharran (4), Alex Osipov (2) and Ray Lee (2) to the loss side, picking up Mike Renshaw in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kiamco got into the hot seat match with a shutout over Renshaw, while Sossei sent Francisco to the loss side 9-4. In his first of three versus Kiamco and the first of two straight double hill matches, Sossei claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Francisco drew a rematch against Yesid Garibello, whom he’d sent to the loss side in a third-round, double hill fight. Garibello moved over to engage in a four-match winning streak that had recently eliminated Lazaravitch 7-2 and Caroline Pao, double hill. Renshaw drew Mhet Vergara, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Sossei with wins over Jay Plonski and Mike Salerno, both 7-4.

Garibello wreaked his vengeance on Francisco 7-5, while Vergara was eliminating Renshaw by the same score, and, as it turned out, by the same score that Vergara eliminated Garibello in the subsequent quarterfinals.

Vergara was one step away from a rematch against Sossei, who’d sent him to the loss side, five matches ago. Unfortunately, for him, it was Warren Kiamco who was in his way in the semifinals that followed. Kiamco was the one who earned the rematch, downing Vergara 7-4.

For the second time, Sossei and Kiamco locked themselves up in a double hill fight, in the opening set of the true double elimination final. This time, though, it was Kiamco who won. The ‘wild card’ was on the table and very much in play. Sossei, though, had his own hand to play and did so in the second set, defeating Kiamco 7-3 to claim title to the 14th stop on the 2021-22 Joss NE 9-Ball Tour.

A $500-added Second Chance tournament drew eight entrants and was won by Raxx Pool Room, Sports Bar & Grill’s owner, Holden Chin. Chin shut out Sly Vachiro in the hot seat match and in the true double-elimination final, faced Mike Callaghan, who’d lost his opening match to Vachiro, won two straight double hill matches to begin his four-match trip back to the finals and then shut out Vachiro in their semifinal rematch. He then took the opening set of the true double elimination final, before Chin came back to shut him out in the second set. 

The next stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 4-5, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Snookers Sports Billiards, Bar & Grill in Providence, RI. The season finale of the 2021-22 season – Turning Stone Classic XXXV 9-Ball Open – is scheduled for September 1-4 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY.

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Fracasso-Verner Beats Souvanthong and Casanzio For First Joss Tour Win

Ron Casanzio, room owner Andrea Duvall and Lukas Fracasso-Verner

Lukas Fracasso-Verner cruised through a field of fifty five other players to earn his first career Joss NE 9-Ball Tour title at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, New York on April 2nd and 3rd. 

The story of the season has been the dominating play of Bucky Souvanthong, but Fracasso-Verner made an early statement on Saturday at this event, as he sent Souvanthong to the one loss side with a convincing 9-2 beating. Fracasso-Verner then went on to end his Saturday with an even more convincing 9-1 win over Marko Clarke.

Aside from Souvanthong, the second most dominating player on tour this season has been Ron Casanzio. Fracasso-Verner drew Casanzio in their first match on Sunday and didn’t miss a beat with a 9-6 win to remain undefeated. All that stood between Fracasso-Verner and the hot-seat was Nate Marshall, and that match didn’t last long, with Fracasso-Verner scoring a 9-4 win. 

On the one loss side, Souvanthong and Casanzio ran into each other on Sunday and it was Casanzio coming away with the win this time, by a 7-5 scoreline. A 7-4 win over Aaron Greenwood was followed up with a 7-0 drubbing of Marshall to earn Casanzio another shot at Fracasso-Verner in the finals. 

The double elimination final only went one set with Fracasso-Verner scoring a come-from-behind hill-hill win over Casanzio for what will undoubtedly be the first of many Joss NE 9-Ball Tour titles for the up and coming champion. 

Sunday’s second chance tournament was guaranteed a first time winner before the finals even got underway with local favorites Peter Servello and Brandon Fletcher both turning their first Joss Tour appearance into a match against each other in the finals. Servello had already beaten Fletcher once in the final four 3-2, and he won again with a 3-1 score in the finals. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball tour will be back in action this weekend with another $1500 added main event and $500 added second chance tournament at Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.

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Souvanthong over Casanzio for fifth Joss Tour Win

Ron Casanzio, Mike Zuglan and Bucky Souvanthong

While the main storyline all year on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour has been the performance of Bucky Souvanthong, winning four tour stops and competing in the finals of two others, one other storyline has been the rivalry between Souvanthong and Ron Casanzio. Casanzio won the first stop on the tour this season at East Ridge Billiards, defeating Souvanthong in the finals. Souvanthong returned the favor, defeating Casanzio in the finals of stop 4 at Diamond Billiards in Rochester. These two competitors renewed their rivalry, facing off against each other three times at the Brickhouse Billiards tour stop on March 19th and 20th.

Souvanthong and Casanzio made it through the field of 50 players undefeated on Saturday. Casanzio had wins over Ryan Smith, Mike Armstrong, Geoff Montgomery, and Sean Zeng, while Souvanthong had wins over Dennis Gaetano, Bill Goodman, Aaron Greenwood, and Len Gianfrate. Casanzio’s day one performance was notable for the dominating fashion in which he put away his opponents. Two of Casanzio’s four wins were 9-0 shutouts, and the three racks he gave up to Zeng was the most anyone got against him on day one.

Sunday kicked off with Souvanthong and Casanzio facing off in their first matches of the day. It was another battle between these two players, won by Souvanthong this time, 9-7. Souvanthong then defeated Mark Creamer for the hot-seat 9-6.

On the one-loss side, Casanzio ran into familiar opponents as he handed Greenwood and then Zeng their second losses of the day. He went on to send Creamer home in 3rd place with a 7-3 semifinal loss.

If Souvanthong thought the finals would be easy, he received a quick reminder that Casanzio had other plans, as Casanzio crushed Souvanthong 9-1 in the first set of the double-elimination finals. The second set was a different matter though, with Souvanthong scoring a quick 7-2 win for his fifth win on the Joss Tour season.

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Bill Goodman turn in an undefeated run through the field of 13 players. Goodman had wins over John Reardon, Dave Copperwheat, Nick Coppola, Ron Ince, and then Josh Welsh in the finals. In addition to the $300 first prize that Goodman won in the second chance tournament, he also won the cue raffle for the weekend, winning a custom engraved Joss Cue.

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard for the next stop on April 2nd and 3rd.

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Sossei over Souvanthong at Northeast 9-Ball Open XXXIII

Jeremy Sossei and Bucky Souvanthong

The biggest story on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour this season has been the dominant run by tour points leader Bucky Souvanthong. Souvanthong has four first place finishes this season and has competed in the finals of every tour stop that he has played in. While he kept his string of finals appearances intact at the Northeast 9-Ball Open XXXIII held at Sharp Shooters Billiards and Sports Pub in Amsterdam, NY on February 19th – 20th, first place went to Jeremy Sossei instead of Souvanthong. 

Souvanthong and Sossei found themselves on the same side of the brackets in this 54 player event. Sossei had Saturday wins over Jason Collins, Jim Kearney, Tito Ortiz and Dawn Fox, while Souvanthong defeated Chris Tiru and Pat Fleming before being handed a lopsided 9-3 loss by Damon Sobers. 

Souvanthong came back on Sunday and took out his vengeance on the left side of the board. Tom Acciavatti fell 7-2, Bud Robideau lost 7-0 and Bruce Carroll took a 7-0 loss to Souvanthong. 

Back on the right side of the board, it was smooth sailing for Sossei with a 9-3 win over Sobers and then a 9-4 win over Marko Clarke for the hot-seat. Souvanthong had wins over Ron Casanzio and Clarke to earn his spot in the finals against Sossei but Sossei ended things before Souvanthong had any chance to get things going with a 9-2 win in the first (and only) set of the finals. 

Sundays second chance event saw Jim Kearney face off against Greg Bombard three times before a winner was declared. Kearney had a 3-0 win over Bombard for the hot-seat, but after a hill-hill battle with Joe Wysocki in the semi-finals, Bombard came back and handed Kearney a 3-0 loss in the first set of the double elimination finals. The rubber match went to Kearney by that same 3-0 scoreline for first place. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will take this weekend off and the come back on March 5th – 6th for the 12th N.E. Pool & Billiard Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open at Snookers Billiards Bar & Grill in Providence, Rhode Island. 

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Turning Stone Classic XXXIV – Hunter Lombardo vs Ron Casanzio

Souvanthong Wins Second Joss Tour Stop of the Season

Bucky Souvanthong, Diamond Billiards owner Fran Imburgia and Ron Casanzio

In the first three Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stops of the young season, Bucky Souvanthong has played in the finals of all three, and won one. He kept that record intact over the weekend at stop four at Diamond Billiards Bar & Grill in Rochester, NY. 

Souvanthong had Saturday wins over Joe Wysocki, Marco Kam and Rohit Aggarwal to qualify as one of the finale four undefeated players. He came back on Sunday to face Dan Sharlow on one side of the winner’s bracket, while Ron Casanzio took on Nick Coppola on the other. Souvanthong and Casanzio both scored 9-3 wins to earn themselves each a spot in the hot-seat match. Casanzio then went on to take the hot-seat, sending Souvanthong to the one loss side, by the score of 9-7. 

Souvanthong found Nate Marshall waiting on the left side of the board. Marshall had dropped a hill-hill decision to Sharlow in the first round on Saturday, but then went on to win seven straight on the one loss side. Any hopes of extending that streak to eight was quickly extinguished by Souvanthong in a 7-2 semi-final match. 

The Souvanthong / Casanzio final match was not only a rematch of the hot-seat match, but also a rematch of the finals from stop one at East Ridge Billiards back on October 3rd. In that event, Casanzio double dipped Souvanthong and Bucky would get his revenge this time, by double dipping Casanzio 9-8 and 7-2 for his second tour stop win of the season. 

In Sunday’s second chance tournament, it was George Lashoff coming back from the one loss side to double dip the hot-seat occupant in the finals. That hot-seat winner was Joe Wysocki, who had sent Lashoff to the one loss side in the quarter finals. Wysocki went on to defeat Marco Kam for the hot-seat 3-2, while Lashoff had wins over Fran Imburgia, Mike Renshaw and Kam on the left side. Lashoff won the first set of the finals 3-0 and the second set by a score of 3-2. The win was Lashoff’s first win (and first cash) on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at American Pool and Billiards in Portland, Maine this weekend for another $1500/$500 added event.