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Bruner wins two-match battle with Haas to claim On the Hill Productions’ Summer Slam

Loye Bolyard, Scott Haas, Chris Bruner and Rick Scarlato, Jr

As with most pool players, not to mention good folks everywhere, 2020 was a bit of an ‘off’ year for Chris Bruner. Having recorded his best earnings year in 2019 (of 14 years on record), when, in eight of the 10 tournaments in which he cashed, he finished among the top five and won four of those eight, he finished ‘in the money’ only twice in 2020; 3rd and 13th in stops on the Action Pool Tour. Before last Saturday’s (June 12) Summer Slam, held under the auspices of On the Hill Productions at Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD, he’d already cashed in two events, finishing 3rd at the VA 10-Ball Championships in February and 4th at a stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour a couple of weeks ago (May 29-30). Scott Haas sent Bruner to the semifinals in the Summer Slam, but Bruner came back to down him in the finals to claim the title. The event drew 39 entrants to Brews & Cues. 

Bruner won his first three matches, versus Rick Wilson, Garrett Vaughan and fellow ‘2020-was- an-off-year’ competitor, Steve Fleming by an aggregate score of 21-4. This set him up to face Jimmy Varias in a winners’ side semifinal. Scott Haas, in the meantime, ran into some tough competition in his opening three. He opened against Brett Stottlemyer and after sending him to the loss side 7-4, ran into co-tour director Rick Scarlato, Jr., who gave him a double-hill run for his money, before joining Stottlemyer on the loss side. Haas then defeated Joshua McCauley 7-3 to draw Dylan Spohr in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Two double hill matches determined the competitors for the hot seat match; Bruner over Varias and Haas over Spohr. A third double hill battle left Haas in the hot seat and Bruner on his way to the semifinals.

On the loss side, Spohr picked up a by-now very determined Brett Stottlemyer, who’d followed his loss against Scott Haas with six straight loss-side victories that included wins over Scott Haas’ son, Thomas and the other co-tour director, Loye Bolyard. Stottlemyer had more recently eliminated Bryan Jones 7-4 and in the only double-hill match he played, Russ Redhead. Spohr, in the meantime, picked up Steve Fleming, who’d been sent to the loss side by Bruner in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, defeated Scarlato, Jr. 7-4 and Trey Frank 7-2.

Spohr sent Fleming home 7-4. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Varias, who’d ended Stottlemyer’s loss-side run 7-5. Spohr then ended Varias’ day 7-4.

Spohr had his brief, loss-side run stopped at two by Bruner, who defeated him 7-3 in the semifinals for a second shot at Scott Haas in the hot seat, waiting for him. They almost repeated their double hill hot seat match, but in the end, Bruner pulled out ahead to win it by two 7-5.

Tour directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. of On the Hill Productions thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as sponsors AlleyKat Cue Sports, AZBilliards.com, Aramith Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Mezz Cues, Turtle Racks, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region and Safe Harbor Retirement Planners. The next On the Hill Productions event, scheduled for July 24-25, will be the MD State 8-Ball Championships, to be hosted by Champion Billiards in Frederick, MD. 

Korsiak comes from the loss side to win Dynaspheres Cup Series 8-Ball Championships

Joey Korsiak

Joe Korsiak chalked up his second major event victory in the state of Maryland in 2021 last weekend (June 5-6) with a come-from-the-loss-side win at the $3,000-added Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championships ($1,500 from Billiard Sports Network and $1,500 from Championship Fabric, LLC) that drew 108 entrants to Center Pocket in Bowie, MD. Last month (May), he chalked up a win at the MD State 9-Ball Championships and earlier in the month had finished 3rd in the Dynaspheres Cup 10-Ball Championships, behind Shane Van Boening and Raphael Dabreo. He’s won more events midway through this year than he won all year in his best recorded earnings year at the tables (2005), when he cashed in 10 events, including the US Open 9-Ball Championships (33rd), the SBE Players Championship (5th), the 16th Ocean State 9-Ball Championship (17th) and five stops on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, at which he finished as runner-up, twice, to Mike Davis and Dennis Hatch.

The event was as notable for the competitors who weren’t around as it neared the end as it was for those who figured into its final matches. Some of the more prominent competitors who were on-hand included Shaun Wilkie, Bucky Souvanthong, “Pooky” Rasmechai, Brian Dietzenbach, Brandon Shuff, Matt Krah and the Mastermaker brothers, Joey and Danny, to name just a few. The event also featured a contingent of junior players, fresh off their competition in the series of On the Wire Creative Media’s Junior International Championships (JIC), the most recent of which was held in the same location as this event at the end of May.

Nathan Childress, 18, who, after four JIC events, is ranked at #1 in the “18 and under Boys” division, #2 in the ProAm division and has won the last two “18 and Under” tournaments opened his Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball campaign with a shutout and won three more before being sent to the loss side by Mid-Atlantic veteran Steve Fleming. He was defeated by “Pooky” Rasmechai in his first loss-side match. Skylar Hess, 12, who is ranked #3 in the “13 and Under Girls” division and won the last JIC stop in that division was welcomed to the world of ‘big folk’ pool with two straight losses. D’Angelo “Jaws” Spain, 9, who is ranked at #5 in his own “13 and Under Boys” division, #17 in the “18 and Under Boys” and #45 in the ProAm division went two and out, but congratulations are certainly in order, for “Jaws” and all of the juniors, for getting out onto the tables and competing. They’ll continue to do so on the JIC tour and will get a second chance on the Dynaspheres Cup circuit at the second Junior Championship event (the first was in February), set for the weekend of September 25-26.

Korsiak’s path to the winners’ circle in this Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championships opened smoothly enough with a 6-1 victory over David Stanley and was followed by four straight 6-4 wins over Redgie Cutler, Joey Mastermaker, Kevin West and Robert Pole, Jr. He arrived at his winners’ side semifinal match against Scott Haas with a 64% game-winning percentage. Del Sim got by Kamrin Kohr 6-3 in his opener, before downing William Miller 6-1, Richard Winpigler 6-2, Thomas Haas 6-4, and Jake Lebon 6-3 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match with a slightly better game-winning average than Korsiak (70%) as he prepared to face off against Dennis Spears.

Korsiak got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Haas. Sim, in the meantime, was struggling with Spears in a double hill match that eventually did send Sim into the hot seat match against Korsiak. Sim prevailed 6-3 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Haas picked up “Pooky” Rasmechai, who’d lost his opening match to Dennis Spears and was in the midst of a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that featured two double hill wins, had most recently eliminated junior competitor Nathan Childress 5-3 and Shaun Wilkie 5-1 and was about to come to an end. Dennis Spears drew Steve Fleming, who’d been defeated by Childress in the 4th winners’ side round and on the loss side, had defeated Matthew Rezendes 5-2, both Tony Long and Mike Saleh 5-3 and Thomas Haas 5-2.

Fleming leapfrogged into the quarterfinals when Spears forfeited. He was joined by Scott Haas, who’d survived a double hill fight versus Rasmechai. Haas was not as fortunate in what proved to be his second straight double hill match. Fleming defeated him, only to be eliminated 5-3 by Korsiak in the semifinals.

Among any number of scenarios that one might have predicted for the true double elimination final that followed, what happened would not likely have been one of them. In the initial, race-to-6 opening set, Korsiak gave up only a single rack. In the race-to-5 second set, he didn’t give up any at all and claimed the event title.

Held under the auspices of the Billiard Sports Network, The Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championships were streamed live throughout the weekend. Tournament director Tina Malm and Billiard Sports Network’s Jake Lawson and Josh Setterfield extended thanks to the ownership and staff at Center Pocket for their ongoing hospitality throughout the Dynaspheres series of events, as well as title sponsor Dynaspheres Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Gina Cunningham (Keller Williams Integrity), East Coast Prime Meats, Courtyard by Marriott (Bowie, MD), Hampton Inn by Hilton (Bowie, MD), Luke Thompson Photography, MB Cues/Mike Burton, Integrity Cues, Break Out Billiards Apparel, AZBilliards, Premier Billiards, CueScore.com, The League Room, Championship Fabric, LLC, S&T Billiards, DFE Billiards Cue Repair, American Billiard Covering  and JB Cases.

The next stop on the Dynaspheres Cup series, scheduled for the weekend of July 31-August 1will be a Double 8-Ball Championship, once again to be hosted by Center Pocket in Bowie, MD. The event will be followed by a second Junior Championship on the weekend of Sept. 25-26 and the series finale, scheduled for Nov. 6-7, the Dynaspheres Cup 9-Ball Championships.

Bruner goes undefeated to win Action Pool Tour season finale and finish as Tour Champion

Chris Bruner 2019 Action Pool Tour Champion

Chris Bruner competed in all but one of the 12 Action Pool Tour stops in 2019. He won four of them – June, July, October (VA State 8-Ball Championship) and the tour’s season finale this past weekend (December 7-8). He was runner-up in two others; to Mike Davis in May and Kristina Tkach in August. He tripled the number of appearances he made on the tour this year, which, factored into tournament results as the APT’s season concluded, gave Bruner the 2019 Tour Champion title. Last year’s champion, Steve Fleming competed in all but two of this year’s tour stops and finished as runner-up.
 
Bruner went undefeated through a field of 19 pre-qualified entrants, who signed on for the season finale – The Pineapple Morris Memorial Shootout on Saturday, December 7 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Named after Craig “Pineapple” Morris, a fixture as a teacher at Q Master Billiards and doorman at the annual US Open 9-Ball Championships for many years, the event was limited to the Top 16 men and three women in the tour’s point standings. Thanks to primary tour sponsors Predator Cues, Aramith and Simonis, every player who competed was paid.
 
Fleming was on-hand as well, with the opportunity to defend his tour championship title there for the taking. Fleming was one of six entrants who played a preliminary round for entrance into the event’s official 16-player, double elimination bracket. He and Larry Kressel locked up in a double hill fight that advanced Kressel and sent Fleming to the loss side, where he lasted three rounds.
 
Bruner’s path to the winners’ circle climbed a straight-up ladder that went through #12 Greg Sabins and #8 Bill Duggan, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against #4 Reymart Lim. Scott Roberts (#6), working in a pressure cooker of his own making, won two straight double hill matches against David Hunt (#5) and Jimmy Byrd (#18) to draw his winners’ side semifinal opponent, none other than the aforementioned Larry Kressel (#11).
 
Roberts won his third straight double hill match, downing Kressel to earn a spot in the hot seat match. Bruner joined him with a double hill win over Lim. Roberts recorded his first double hill loss, as Bruner chalked up his second straight double hill win to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Kressel picked up #3 RJ Carmona, who’d lost to #7 Scott Haas in the event’s first full opening round and was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d recently eliminated Bill Duggan 9-6 and David Hunt 9-5. Lim picked up Haas, who’d been sent over by Kressel in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Greg Sabins 9-5 and Jimmy Bird, double hill.
 
The possible Carmona/Haas rematch didn’t happen, as Kressel moved into the quarterfinals 9-7 over Carmona. Haas downed Lim 9-3, but in those quarterfinals, fell to Kressel 9-2.
 
The Roberts/Kressel semifinal came within a game of being the 5th double hill match among the event’s final 13 matches. Roberts prevailed 9-7 for a second shot at Bruner in the hot seat.
 
Bruner got out in front and claimed the event title and title of tour champion with an 11-7 victory over Roberts.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth. Viking Cues, Brown’s Mechanical LLC, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, CSI, Grant Wylie Photography and George Hammerbacher, Advanced Pool Instructor.

Rasmechai takes two out of three over Shuff to win MD State 10-Ball Bar Table Championship

(l to r): Brandon Shuff & Grai (Pooky) Rasmechai

In most double elimination pool tournaments, the winner usually ends up taking down the runner-up, twice; again, usually in the hot seat match and finals. It’s what happened at the 2018 MD State 10-Ball Bar Table Championships, when Johann Chua defeated Jesus Atencio twice to claim the title. This year, on the weekend of November 30-December 1, a veteran of the mid-Atlantic pool scene returned to the tables after something of a protracted absence and a few appearances on the Action Pool Tour over the past few years. Formerly known as Pooky Rasmeloungon, he has returned to the scene as Grai Rasmechai, maintaining the "Pooky" as a nickname. Pooky had to defeat an opponent, Brandon Shuff, twice this past weekend, but had to face him three times to claim the 2019 MD State 10-Ball Bar Table Championships. They and a number of competitors in this event have been familiar opponents over the years on (among other tours/events) the Falcon Cue 9-Ball Tour. To get a sense of just how familiar the winner and runner-up in this event have been as been as opponents over the years, it should be noted that they tied for 5th place in the Pennsylvania State 9-Ball Championships, 15 years ago. The $2,000-added event this past weekend drew 103 entrants to Brews & Cues on the Blvd. in Glen Burnie, MD.
 
Rasmechai got by Heath Willard, Joey Scarlato, James Aranas, Clint Clayton and Brandon Sluzalis to face Shuff for the first time in a winners’ side semifinal. Shuff had defeated Joe Chester, Rick Miller, Alvin Thomas, Shane Wolford, and Shaun Wilkie to reach Rasmechai. In the meantime, Dylan Spohr and Chuck Sampson squared off in the other one. By identical 7-5 scores, Sampson and Rasmechai sent Spohr and Shuff to the loss side. Rasmechai followed his victory over Shuff with a 7-3 victory over Sampson to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Shuff picked up Thomas Haas, who’d defeated Rick Molineiro 7-1 and survived a double hill fight against Rob Cord to reach him. Spohr drew Shaun Wilkie, who, following his defeat at the hands of Shuff in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had eliminated Scott Haas 7-2 and Bob Pacheco 7-5.
 
Anyone familiar with the mid-Atlantic region pool scene who happened to be in attendance or possibly watching the live stream of the event (courtesy of Billiard Sports Network) could see a potential rematch between Shuff and Wilkie looming. Shuff did his part, downing Haas 7-4. Spohr, though, spoiled the reunion by defeating Wilkie 7-1.
 
Shuff defeated Spohr 7-2 in those quarterfinals and then found himself locked up in a double hill fight versus Sampson in the semifinals. Shuff eventually prevailed to earn himself a spot in the finals.
 
Shuff walked into a second straight double hill fight in the opening set of the true double elimination final and won it to force a second set. Rasmechai got out in front in the second set, winning it eventually 7-4 to claim his first event title since (according to our records) he won the opening stop of the Seminole Tour's 2005 season.
 
On The Hill Productions will return to Brews & Cues in Glen Burnie on the weekend of February 8-9 for the Maryland State 8-Ball Bar Table Championships.
 
Event directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked Anthony and Stefanie Manning and their Brews & Cues staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors McDermott Cues, Lights Out Billiards Apparel, TAP Pool League-Chesapeake Bay Region, Billiards Sports Network, AZBilliards, Aramith Balls and Simonis Cloth.

Bruner still on top of Action Pool Tour standings, claims VA State 8-Ball Championships

(l to r): Chris Bruner & RJ Carmona

Liz Taylor goes undefeated through Ladies field
 
Chris Bruner came into the October 12-13 VA State 8-Ball Championships as the Action Pool Tour’s top player. He went undefeated through a field of 37 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA to claim the event title and maintain his position as #1 on the tour’s player standings list. Eight of the players on the tour’s Top Ten list competed in this year’s event, but so did, among others, Shaun Wilkie (#14) and last year’s runner-up, Mike Davis (#30). Defending champion, Warren Kiamco, did not compete this year. Bruner sent #2, Steve Fleming, to the loss side, and faced #3, RJ Carmona, twice to claim the title.
 
The Ladies event drew a short field of 13 and was won by Liz Taylor, who, along with Jacki Duggan, who finished in 4th place, are the only women among the tour’s Top 20 in player standings. Like Bruner, Taylor went undefeated through the field and had to face the same opponent (Cheryl Pritchard) in both the hot seat and finals.
 
Bruner’s seven-match march to the finish line went through Jose Vega-Hernandez, Travis Southard, Jamie Bess and Fleming to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Eric Moore, who would normally be among the tour’s top players, but was making here only his second appearance on the 2019 tour. Bruner arrived at the winners’ side semifinal, having given up only five total racks (two to Southard and three to Fleming).
 
Carmona got by Kenny Miller (#11), Jason Trigo (#17) and survived a double hill bout versus JT Ringgold (#21) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Reymart Lim (#5). Three of the four competitors in the winners’ side semifinals had won previous stops on the 2019 tour; Bruner and Lim with two each and Carmona with one.
 
Moore chalked up more racks against Bruner than all of his previous opponents combined. They fought to double hill before Bruner prevailed and advanced to the hot seat match. He was joined by Carmona, who’d sent Lim west 7-3. In their first of two, Bruner claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Carmona.
 
On the loss side, Lim picked up Scott Haas, who’d been defeated by Eric Moore 7-5 in a winners’ side quarterfinal match and gone on to defeat Shaun Wilkie 6-4 and Steve Fleming 6-2. Moore drew Ringgold, who, following his double hill loss to Bruner in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had defeated Tony Montalvo 6-2 and Kenny Miller 6-1.
 
Ringgold downed Moore 6-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Lim, who’d defeated Haas 6-2. Lim took the quarterfinal match 6-3 over Ringgold.
 
In the semifinals that followed, Carmona gave up only a single rack to Lim and earned himself a second shot against Bruner. In their second meeting, the Bruner and Carmona battled to double hill before Bruner prevailed to deny Carmona his second 2019 tour victory and chalk up his own third win.
 
Taylor downs Pritchard twice to capture Ladies 8-Ball Title
 
Last year’s Ladies’ winner – Bethany Sykes – was ‘in the house’ for this event, though she was sent to the loss side 6-4 in the second round by the eventual winner, Liz Taylor. Sykes then won four on the loss side, before falling to the event’s runner-up, Cheryl Pritchard, in the semifinals.
 
It took Liz Taylor five matches to claim the title. She got by Maria Beckner 6-1 before sending the event’s defending champion, Bethany Sykes to the loss side 6-4. This set Taylor up in a winners’ side semifinal versus Kim Whitman. Awarded a preliminary round bye, Pritchard defeated Kelly Cox 6-3 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Lisa Uilani Vita.
 
Taylor and Whitman fought to double hill before Taylor prevailed 6-5 and sent Whitman west. Pritchard gave up only a single rack to Vita and joined Taylor in what would be their first of two, battling for the hot seat. Taylor took that first of two 6-3 and waited in the hot seat for Pritchard’s return.
 
On the loss side, Whitman drew Jacki Duggan, who’d lost an earlier battle to Vita and on the loss side, had eliminated Soo Emmett 5-1 and Maria Beckner 5-3. Vita picked up Sykes, who, following her defeat at the hands of Taylor, had defeated Kelly Wyatt 5-3 and Kim McKenna 5-1.
 
Duggan and Sykes advanced to the quarterfinals with 5-3 victories over Whitman and Vita. Sykes followed that with another 5-3 victory, over Duggan, in the quarterfinals.
 
Pritchard ended Sykes’ bid for a second year in the 8-Ball Championship finals with a 5-2 win in the semifinals. Taylor then ended Pritchard’s bid for the event title by shutting her out in the finals.
 
A Second Chance tournament drew 12 entrants and saw Steve Fleming come from the loss side to down hot seat occupant Justin Clark 6-1 in the finals. James Blackburn finished third, with Jimmy Bird in fourth place.
 
Tour directors Kim Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Viking Cues, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Brown’s Mechanical LLC, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, CSI, Grant Wylie Photography and George Hammerbacher, Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 16-17, will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

West foils a strong, loss-side bid by Wilkie to claim MD State 10-Ball Championships

Rick Scarlato Jr, Shaun Wilkie, Jake Lawson, Chuck Sampson, Michael Yednak, Kevin West, Loye Bolyard

The two competitors who squared off against each other in the finals of the Maryland State 10-Ball Championships on the weekend of September 28-29 are the only two who have ever won the Action Pool Tour’s annual Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament twice. That record was held by Shaun Wilkie, until in 2017 & this past April, Kevin West chalked up his two. West went undefeated in the MD State 10-Ball event, and was challenged by Wilkie, who’d been sent to the loss side in an early round by another Bob Stocks Memorial champion, Brandon Shuff. Wilkie won eight on the loss side to challenge West in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Champions Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.
 
With his finals opponent toiling away on the loss side, West advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Del Sim. Chuck Sampson faced Robert Palucho in the other one. West sent Sim west 7-1 and in the hot seat match, faced Sampson, who’d defeated Palucho 7-5. West and Sampson battled to a 13th deciding game before West dropped the last 10-ball to claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Wilkie and Shuff were working their way toward a potential re-match, which would have occurred in the quarterfinals had it not been for Scott Haas. As Wilkie was busy tallying his 4th loss-side win, downing William Gallagher 7-3, Haas was at work eliminating Shuff 7-5. Wilkie subsequently defeated Haas 7-4, which set him (Wilkie) up to face Del Sim. Palucho drew Michael Yednak, who’d shut out Dylan Spohr and given up only a single rack to co-event director, Rick Scarlato, Jr.
 
Wilkie advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sim and was joined by Yednak, who’d defeated Palucho 7-2. Wilkie took the quarterfinals 7-3 over Yednak and then shut Sampson out in the semifinals.
 
Momentum aside, Wilkie was unable to just roll over West in the finals. West got out in front and won it by three (7-4) to claim the MD State 10-Ball Title. 
 
Co-event directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Champions Billiards, as well as sponsors McDermott Cues, Lights Out Billiards Apparel, AZBilliards, Simonis Cloth, Billiards Sports Network, Chesapeake Bay TAP Leagues and Aramith Balls.    

Wilkie chalks up his first 2019 win on the Action Pool Tour

Shaun Wilkie

Though he’s in the midst of a fairly good year at the tables – runner-up in Maryland’s 9-Ball Bar Table and State 9-Ball Tournaments, 3rd in that state’s 8-Ball Championships and cash payouts in six other events, including Turning Stone XXXII (9th), the SBE Pro Players Championship (13th) and the US Open 9-Ball Championship (49th) – Shaun Wilkie had yet to record a 2019 win. Until this past weekend, when he went undefeated on the Action Pool Tour; according to our records, his first win on the tour in just over a year. Wilkie came back from a hot seat loss to RJ Carmona to meet and defeat him in the finals. The 10-ball event drew 44 entrants to Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA on the weekend of September 14-15.
 
It was Wilkie’s third appearance on APT’s 2019 tour; he finished third at a stop in August and just out of the money at a stop in June. On this weekend, he got by Jim Davis 7-2, shut out Carlton Pelzer, downed Scott Roberts 7-4 and defeated the tour’s #2-ranked competitor, Steve Fleming 7-1 to draw Scott Haas in one of the winners’ side semifinals. RJ Carmona, in the meantime, whose runner-up finish would propel him into third place among the tour’s players, defeated Reymart Lim 7-4, Alex Parker 7-2, Tuan Chau 7-1 and Dave Hunt 7-5 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Kenny Miller.
 
Carmona defeated Miller 7-2, while Wilkie was moving into the hot seat match with a shutout over Scott Haas. Carmona claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Wilkie and waited on his return.
 
Miller moved to the loss side and picked up Larry Kressel, who’d been defeated by Dave Hunt in the second round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had included recent wins over the tour’s #1 and #5 competitors, Chris Bruner and Reymart Lim, both 6-3. Haas drew Nilbert Lim, in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end.
 
Haas ended Lim’s streak 6-3, as Kressel extended his with a 6-2 win over Miller. In the quarterfinals that followed, Haas downed Kressel 6-2 for a second shot against Wilkie. It proved to be Kressel’s best finish on the 2019 APT. Wilkie ended Haas’ short loss-side trip 6-2 in the semifinals.
 
Wilkie completed his first 2019 win on the tour with a 9-7 victory over Carmona in the finals. The victory moved Wilkie up on the APT rankings ladder from outside the top 25 to #14. It elevated Carmona from just outside the top 10 to #3.
 
A Second Chance event drew 10 players and saw Steve Fleming down Greg Sabins twice 5-4, 6-2 (hot seat and finals) to claim the $100 first-place prize.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Breakers Sky Lounge for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Viking Cues, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Brown’s Mechanical LLC, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, CSI, Grant Wylie Photography and George Hammerbacher, Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of October 12-13, will be the VA State 8-Ball Championships. A Double Point event, it will be hosted by Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.

Tkach follows WPBA win with an undefeated run on the mixed gender Action Pool Tour

Kristina Tkach

Kristina Tkach has been a busy young woman. Since March, she’s chalked up three major titles, commencing with her win at the 2019 Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s 9-Ball Championship, followed by a May victory in a European tour event and just last week (Aug. 8-11), a WPBA victory at the Sondheim Diamond Invitational in Iowa. She had no sooner made it back home to Virginia (Roy’s Basement), when she signed on to the August 17-18 stop on the Action Pool Tour, where she went undefeated to claim that event title. The event drew 41 entrants to Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.
 
Not only did Tkach work through a field dominated by men (36 of the 41), she defeated the top-ranked player in the Action Pool Tour’s standings and winner of the last two stops on the tour, Chris Bruner. Twice.
 
Tkach embarked on her trip to the winners’ circle with an 8-1 victory over Skylar Hess and then, defeated the 2018 runner-up in the tour’s rankings, Jason Trigo 8-3 (this was only Trigo’s third appearance on the 2019 tour). Tkach then defeated Elva Abernathy 8-4 to draw Brian Bryant in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
 
Bruner, in the meantime, downed Thomas Haas 8-4, Bill Duggan 8-2, Jerry Gruber 8-1 and Daniel Jarquin 8-3 to draw the always-threat of Shaun Wilkie in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Bruner got into the hot seat match with an 8-2 victory over Wilkie. Tkach joined him after defeating Bryant 8-4. Tkach then claimed her first of two over Bruner 8-6 and waited in the hot seat for him to get back from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Wilkie picked up Scott Roberts, who’d been sent to the loss side by Brian Bryant (8-5) and then defeated Scott Haas, double hill, and then, Thomas Haas 7-1. Bryant drew Matt Krah, who’d been sent to the loss side by Wilkie, shut out Chuck Sampson and defeated Chris Funk 7-5.
 
Wilkie and Krah advanced to the quarterfinals, both 7-4, over Roberts and Bryant. Wilkie gave up only a single rack to Krah in those quarterfinals to earn his rematch against Bruner.
 
Bruner and Wilkie battled to within a game of double hill, but Bruner edged out in front near the end to win it 7-5. With the intangible of momentum presumably on his side, Bruner turned his attention to the young woman waiting for him in the hot seat (and how many times, one wonders, has that happened?)
 
Tkach and Bruner did battle it out to a 19th and deciding game in the finals. Tkach, though, had the last ‘word,’ as it were, and dropped the final 9-Ball to claim the event title.
 
A Second Chance event drew eight entrants. Don Steele and Alavaro Valle battled twice (hot seat and finals) for it. Steele took them both, taking home $100 after a 5-2 win in the hot seat and shutting Valle out in the finals. Valle took home the $75 second-place prize.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Champion Billiards Sports Bar, as well as sponsors CSI, Viking Cues, Predator Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Kamui, Chix Cabinets, and George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor). The next stop on the Action Pool Tour (#9), scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 14-15, will be a Double Points event, hosted by Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA.

Davis undefeated on Action Pool Tour’s ‘Back to the Beach’ 10-Ball event

(l to r): Mike Davis & Chris Bruner

While it conjures images of pool tables lined up along a sandy beach somewhere, with players in bathing suits, the Action Pool Tour’s 5th stop on the 2019 tour referenced the town’s name, not the beaches that are admittedly nearby. The tour stop, held on the weekend of May 18-19, drew 31 entrants to Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Mike Davis, making his first appearance on the 2019 tour, went undefeated to claim the title, but not before being challenged in the finals by Chris Bruner, who’d been sent to the loss side in the second round of play and won seven in a row for the right to face Davis.
 
As the event progressed from its opening rounds, Davis’ opponents kept getting closer and closer. Davis opened with an 8-1 victory over Anthony Vigliotti, an 8-3 win over Jimmy Bird, and an 8-5 win over Scott Haas to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Bernard Andico. Nilbert Lim, in the meantime, got by Ron Zampko 8-3, Keith Bennett 8-5 and survived a double hill match against Mark Lacson to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Kelly Farrar. Farrar, on her way to the matchup against Lim, was responsible for sending Chris Bruner to the loss side, and had also defeated the tour’s #3-ranked player, Steve Fleming.
 
Lim sent Farrar to the loss side and an immediate rematch against Bruner with an 8-3 win, as Davis sent Andico over 8-5. In the battle for the hot seat, Lim was able to chalk up more racks against him than any of his previous opponents, Davis prevailed to claim the hot seat 8-6.
 
On the loss side, Farrar ran into Bruner, four matches into his seven-match, loss-side streak, which had most recently resulted in the elimination of JR Avery 7-3 and Scott Haas 7-5. Andico picked up the tour’s #2-ranked competitor RJ Carmona, who, like Bruner had been defeated in the second round of play (by Scott Haas) and was in the midst of his own five-match, loss-side winning streak. Bruner and Carmona were about to meet in the quarterfinals.
 
Carmona got there with a 7-2 win over Andico and was joined by Bruner, who’d ended Farrar’s weekend 7-4. Bruner then ended Carmona’s loss-side streak 7-5 in that quarterfinal match.
 
Bruner completed his loss-side run with a 7-3 win over Lim in the semifinals. Davis completed his undefeated run with a 10-5 victory over Bruner in the finals.
 
A Second Chance drew eight entrants. It was won by Kelly Cox, who defeated Steve Fleming in the finals 7-5.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Viking Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Cue Sports International (CSI), Chix Cabinets Direct, Grant Wylie (professional photographer), Brown’s Mechanical, LLC, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the APT, scheduled for the weekend of June 15-16, will be the Brown’s Mechanical 9-Ball Open, hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Brandon Shuff Seals the Deal at Maryland State 9-Ball Championship

Brandon Shuff, Loye Bolyard, Shaun Wilkie, Jake Lawson, Kenny Ruttman and Rick Scarlato

In yet another action-packed weekend of competitive pool, Brandon Shuff emerged as the winner of the Maryland State 9-Ball Championship. The event, which is owned and managed by On The Hill Productions, was held at the Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD during the weekend of May 4th-5th. This has been a successful year so far for Brandon. He recently finished 4th in the Barry Behrman Memorial in April and the VA State 10-Ball in February. In this tournament, he sailed through the field and dropped only one set to Shaun Wilkie, who came back from the B-side to try and claim the title. Brandon held firm and was able to lift the trophy in victory.
 
The 82-player field was customarily strong, loaded with such powerhouses as Shaun Wilkie, Kevin West, Brett Stottlemyer, Chip Klein, Del Sim, David Hennessy, Kenny Rutman, Matt Krah, Steve Fleming, Thomas Zippler and Scott Haas to name a few. The ladies were represented by local favorites Bethany Sykes, Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Gwen Townsend, Lai Li, Stefanie Manning and newcomer to the tournament scene, Jenny Mohammed.
 
Not to be left out, the young guns also made their presence felt. Tournament-regulars Dylan Spohr and Coen Bell were there to stir the pot, but the young man who stood head and shoulders above the rest was Justin Martin from Wilmington, NC. He had a very strong finish of fourth place and impressed everyone with his display of fundamentals, technique, and poise. Don't be surprised if he snaps off one of these big events very soon! 
 
The recent champion of the MD State 9-Ball Bar Table Championship, Brandon Sluzalis was also there, but his efforts to repeat were cut short first by Kenny Rutman, then by the straight-shooting Bobby Pacheco. He had to settle for 9th. place.
 
Congratulations to all who finished in the top 24 places this weekend. 
This event owes its success to the following sponsors:
McDermott Cues
Billiard Sports Network
Lights Out Billiard Apparel
Phillippi Custom Cues
TAP Pool League – Chesapeake Region
 
Many thanks to the owner Gary Allen & staff at Champion Billiards for hosting another successful event. The high-quality free stream was provided by Jake Lawson and Josh Setterfield of Billiard Sports Network. Tour directors Rick Scarlato Jr. and Loye Bolyard continue to provide great tournaments with the utmost professionalism and quality.