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Mike Davis, Jr. comes from the loss side to capture $3.7K-added, MD State Bar Box 10-Ball title

Mike Davis

It’s been a good year for Mike Davis, Jr., who’d already chalked up his best (recorded) earnings year since 2016, when he travelled to Maryland this past Thanksgiving Day weekend (Nov. 26-27) and competed in the MD State Bar Box 10-Ball Championships. He got sent to the loss side by his eventual opponent in the double elimination final, Tom Zippler, and defeated him twice in the double elimination final to claim the title. The $3,750-added event drew 86 entrants to Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

The battle for this title was, by close-match standards, fierce; 38% of the tournament’s last 18 matches (7) went double hill, including the hot seat match, semifinal and first set of the true double elimination final. Mike Davis’ campaign opened up with a double hill battle that he won over Scott Haas. Davis followed up with wins over Clint Clayton (4), Mike Saleh (4) and Steve Fleming (5), to arrive at his first match against Zippler, in one of the a winners’ side semifinals. Zippler’s path started out easy enough, with a shutout over Matt Broz, but grew increasingly competitive as he got by Tony Manning (2), Michael Miller (3), Roger Haldar (4) and then, had to battle Brett Stottlemeyer to double hill in a winners’ side quarterfinal that did send him (Zippler) to that first battle with Davis. In the meantime, Kevin West, working at the other end of the bracket, sent Garrett Vaughan (1), Steve Johnson (2), Bobby Pacheco (double hill) and Grayson Vaughan (4) to the loss side and drew Brandon Shuff in the other winners’ side semifinal.

West and Shuff locked up in a double hill battle that eventually did advance West to the hot seat match. He was joined by Zippler, who’d won his first (and, as it turned out, last) match against Davis 7-3. Zippler and West fought to double hill in that hot seat match, with Zippler prevailing and waiting in the hot seat for Davis’ return.

On the loss side, Davis would play three matches against three of the mid-Atlantic region’s (country’s) toughest competitors; in order, Shaun Wilkie, BJ Ussery, Jr. and then, Kevin West. Upon arrival, Davis faced Wilkie, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Brandon Shuff and then defeated Matt Krah 7-5 and Jeff Abernathy, double hill. Shuff drew BJ Ussery, who didn’t give up a rack through his first two winners’ side matches and then, was defeated by Thomas Haas 7-5. Ussery went on a six-match, loss-side winning streak to get to Shuff, which included the most recent eliminations of Steve Fleming, by shutout, and, junior competitor Nathan Childress, double hill.

Davis defeated Wilkie 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Ussery, who’d given up just a single rack to Shuff. Davis ended Ussery’s loss-side streak at seven, downing him 7-2 in the quarterfinals before he and West locked up in the second-to-last double hill battle of the tournament, struggling for a seat in the finals.

Davis prevailed and walked right into the last double hill battle of the weekend in the opening set of the true double elimination final against Zippler. He won it and then, came within a game of a second double hill match, before getting out ahead and finishing it 7-5. 

It should be noted that the event was attended by a number of female competitors, veterans of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, most of them, including its tour director, Linda Shea, who went 2-2, finishing in the tie for 25th. The two highest female finishers were Tina Malm, who won three on the loss side before encountering Brett Stottlemeyer in the winners’ side fourth round, battling him to double hill before being sent to the loss side and finishing in the tie for 17th with a 3-2 record. And Bethany Sykes, who finished in the same position; sent to the loss side in the second round and winning two there, before being eliminated. Eugenia Gyftopoulos and Stefanie Manning also competed.

The event also featured a few junior competitors, among them Nathan Childress, who finished in the tie for 7th/8th, Brent Worth (25th) and Garrett Vaughan (33rd). 

Tour director Loye Bolyard thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as sponsors AlleyKat Cue Sports, Bull Carbon, AZBilliards, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Safe Harbor Retirement Planners and Whyte Carbon Fiber Cue Shafts. 

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Brothers battles back in finals to win B & L 2nd Annual Fargo Open 9-Ball Championship

Josh Brothers

At the height of Josh Brothers’ pool career, defined by us here at AZBilliards as his best earnings year (2010), he finished among the top five competitors in 18 of the 19 (recorded) events in which he cashed that year. He won 10 of them; nine on the Mezz Pro Am Tour and was that year’s Maryland State Champion in a November event at which Manny Chau finished in the tie for 5th place. Twelve years later, this past weekend (Sept. 17), Brothers went undefeated at the B & L Billiards Tournaments’ 2nd Annual Fargo Open 9-Ball Championships and had to come from behind in the finals versus Manny Chau, who’d won seven on the loss side to challenge him. The event drew 78 entrants to Bank Shot Bar & Grill in Laurel, MD.

Brothers, racing to 8 throughout, was moving right along through his opponents (racing to between 5 and 7), who were chalking up an average of three or four racks against him; Sam Roberts (3), Josh Mohammed (2), Shawn Toni (4) and Rick Molineiro (2). This set Brothers up in a winners’ side semifinal match against Tom Zippler. Marvin Ramirez, in the meantime, racing to 5, got by Jenn Benton (1), Brandon Vaughan (3), junior competitor Nathan Childress (4, racing to 8), Curtis Branker (4, racing to 6) and Derek Crothers (4, racing to 7), which set him up to face Matt Krah in the other winners’ side semifinal. Krah had been responsible for sending Manny Chau to the loss side in the third round. 

Brothers advanced to the hot seat match 8-4 over Zippler and was joined by Ramirez, who’d defeated Krah 5-5 (Krah racing to 7), sending him west to an immediate rematch against Chau. 

Brothers shut Ramirez out to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Chau had chalked up loss-side wins #3 & #4 against Rick Molineiro 8-5 and Mike Saleh, double hill (8-6), when who should show up but the man who’d made all that extra loss-side work necessary, Matt Krah. Zippler drew Derek Crothers, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Ramirez with wins over Richey Orem 7-2 and Scott Haas 7-4. 

Krah had a single ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 8. He could have been given five of them, because Chau eliminated him 8-2. Crothers downed Zippler 7-2 and then had his brief, loss-side run stopped by Chau in the quarterfinals 8-1.

Chau had his hands full in the double hill semifinals that followed. Ramirez started the match with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 8 and won four of the five he needed to win. Chau chalked up his eight and turned to face Roberts waiting for him in the hot seat.

Fresh off his double hill win in the semifinals, Chau opened the finals with five straight racks before Brothers got on the board. Brothers went on to win seven of the next nine games; #6 put him on the hill, #7 gave him the championship.

Co-tour directors Brian Kilgore and Lai Li thanked the ownership and staff at Bank Shot Bar & Grill for their hospitality, as well as all of those who came to play, to whom they extended their congratulations.

“We ended up a little short of our (attendance) goal,” noted Kilgore, “but with 78 unbelievable, game-ready competitors, we couldn’t be too upset.”

Special congratulations were extended to the winner and runner-up for “a roller coaster final set,” as well as to B & L regular and third-place finisher, Marvin Ramirez, in his first time “going deep” in one of the organization’s singles events.

“An unbelievable run,” said Kilgore, “beating two ‘700’ Fargos and multiple monsters along the way.”

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Brothers double dips Morrow to win the Dynaspheres Cup 9-Ball Memorial Day Shootout

Josh Brothers

If it had been a horse race, the trio of Josh Brothers, Shayne Morrow and Russell Redhead would have yielded an outstanding trifecta payout. None favored, really, although Brothers, who won the Dynaspheres Cup 9-Ball Memorial Day Shootout this past weekend (May 28-29), was the third pick among those expressing an opinion. Ahead of him were Shaun Wilkie and Lucas Fracasso-Verner, who finished 24th and 17th, respectively, as Brothers came from the loss side to double dip Morrow, chalking up his first (recorded) event win in almost a decade; since he won a stop on the Mezz Pro Am Tour in February of 2013. The event, held under the auspices of and streamed by Billiard Sports Network (BSN Media), drew 55 entrants to Bank Shot Bar & Grill in Laurel, MD. 

“That was the great thing about this tournament,” commented BSN Media owner and event tour director, Jake Lawson. “You had two guys who were not favored on paper (finishing) 2nd and 3rd. And Shayne (Morrow; 3rd) won the hot seat.”

“So, pretty crazy weekend,” he added. “It’s why I love doing this.”

Neither of the two competitors favored in the event faced the winner. Wilkie didn’t make it out of the second winners’ side round or the third loss-side round. Fracasso-Verner won two on the winners’ side but only one on the loss side.

After an opening round bye, Brothers’ path to the hot seat match went through John Moody, Sr., Vietnam’s Tuan Chau (who would later, on the loss side, eliminate Wilkie), and eventual third-place finisher, Russell Redhead, arriving at a winners’ side semifinal against Scott Haas. Morrow, in the meantime, defeated Donald Painter, Justin Mast, Jimmy Varias and Curtis Branker to arrive at his winners’ side versus Jeff Jones, Jr.

Morrow fought a double hill battle before advancing to the hot seat match, as Brothers sent Haas to the loss side 7-2 and joined him. In his second straight double hill battle, Morrow, at 6-6, took a chance on an extraordinary, not to mention low-percentage, three-rail bank shot at the 9-ball that travelled back from what looked to be an impossible angle off the second rail to hit the 3rd rail and travel cross-table to drop into a side pocket. He was in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Jones drew Redhead, who’d followed his loss to Brothers with victories over Fred Crislip, Jr. 6-3 and a double hill win over Thomas Haas. Scott Haas picked up Eric Yoo, who was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Tuan Chau (fresh from his elimination of Wilkie) 6-4, John Newton 6-3 and Mike Miller (double hill).

Scott Haas put a stop to Yoo’s loss-side trip 6-4 and in the quarterfinals faced Redhead, who’d knocked Jones out 6-2. Redhead chalked up his last match victory eliminating Haas 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

Brothers stopped Redhead’s streak at three in the semifinals to earn himself a rematch against Morrow, waiting for him in the hot seat. Brothers took the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-4. He and Morrow battled back and forth to 5-5 and a single game for all of the proverbial marbles. Brothers won it.

Tour director Jake Lawson thanked the ownership and staff at Bank Shot Bar and Grill, as well as sponsors Dynaspheres, Championship Billiard Fabric, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), JB Cases, Gina Cunningham (Keller Williams Integrity), East Coast Prime Meats, Integrity Cues, Break Out Apparel Co., AZBilliards, Premier Billiards, Cue Score, The League Room, American Billiard Covering, B&R Productions (Rich France & Bruce Carder), DFE Billiards Service/XLR. For information on BSN Media productions, including upcoming Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball, 9-Ball and Juniors 9-Ball competition, visit their Web site at http://www.thebilliardsportsnetwork.com/. 

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Gorst goes undefeated in delayed 14th Bob Stocks Memorial

Fedor Gorst and Shane Wolford (TTMD)

There were a lot of events going on this past Easter weekend, particularly on the East Coast and the multiplicity of them led to a few crossover competitors, reducing the numbers here, increasing them there. This past weekend’s 14th Bob Stocks Memorial (April 16), usually held on an annual basis, came two years after the last one in 2019. Formerly held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour, ThinkTechMD picked up the reins for this year’s edition. Initially capping the field at 64, that number fell to 52 for a variety of different reasons, and when it began, there were only 30.

Fedor Gorst went undefeated through the field, advancing first on the winners’ side of a double elimination bracket and then, winning four matches in a single elimination bracket to claim the title. Gorst and junior competitor Shane Wolford advanced through the winners’ side of the double elimination bracket and were one of the eight chosen from that side of the bracket to compete in the single elimination phase of the event. Had the double elimination bracket continued, they would have faced off in a winners’ side quarterfinal. As it turned out, after the redraw to single elimination, they showed up at opposite ends of the single elimination bracket and met, for the first and last time, in the event final. The $1,500-added event drew its 30 entrants to First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA.

Gorst played two matches on the winners’ side of the double elimination bracket, downing Rafael Reyes (1) and Matt Krah (0) by an aggregate score of 14-1. Wolford advanced through Lenny Valley (4) and Thang Nguyen (3) to arrive at the same winners’ side spot. Joining the eventual finalists in the single elimination phase were, from the winners’ side, Chris Hansen and Nathan Childress, Derick Daya and Manny Chau, as well as Kristina Tkach and Scott Haas.

The last eight left standing on the losers’ side and advancing to single elimination were Thomas Haas, Eric Heiland, Dylan Spohr, Rafael Reyes, Matt Krah, Brandon Shuff, Bart Czapla and John Moody, Sr.

Heiland and Spohr advanced to the event’s final eight after defeating Daya and Childress, respectively. Gorst got by Reyes and was joined in the final eight by Chau, who’d defeated Thomas Haas. Moody, Sr. and Shuff advanced as well, eliminating Scott Haas and Kristina Tkach. Wolford downed Matt Krah, and was joined among the final eight by Chris Hansen, who’d defeated Czapla.

The winners in the four, quarterfinal matches advanced by an aggregate score of 48-16. Shuff and Wolford downed Moody, Sr. and Hansen by the same 11-5 score. Gorst eliminated Chau 11-4 and Spohr gave up only two racks versus Heiland.

The semifinal matches pitted Gorst against Spohr and Shuff against Wolford. Gorst eliminated Spohr 11-5. Shuff gave Wolford a run for his money, coming within a game of forcing a twenty-first deciding game, but in the end, Wolford pulled out in front, advancing to the final against Gorst 11-9.

The final match was an extended race-to-13. Though similar in age (early 20s), the combatants were quite different in how far each had come to this point in their pool careers; Wolford, more or less just starting out and Gorst, already a recognized world-class professional player. Though Wolford would chalk up twice as many racks against Gorst as any of his previous challengers (Reyes and Spohr had managed five against him in races to 11), Gorst got out ahead of Wolford and closed the 14th Bob Stocks Memorial with a 13-10 victory to claim the title. 

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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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The “Munchkin” breaks through, downs Stottlemeyer to claim MD State 8-Ball Championships

Brett Stottlemyer and Steve Johnson

“He’s short,” said Loye Bolyard, co-tour director of On the Hill Productions’ Maryland State Championship events, “and people were always busting on him about it.”

Over the years, Steve Johnson has good-naturedly absorbed an expected array of potential nicknames related to his height; “Shorty,” of course, being the most common. Until one day, he corrected someone by suggesting that they refer to him as the “Munchkin.” It’s stuck, if not before, certainly now, as the “Munchkin” just completed a successful run through a field of 50 entrants at this past weekend’s (March 12-13) MD State 8-Ball Championships. According to Bolyard, while Johnson’s been a regular competitor on the MD State series of events, as well as a cash winner at any number of small, venue-specific tournaments, it’s the first time that the “Munchkin” has recorded a major (recorded) tournament payout and it was a win. The event drew its 50 entrants to Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

It’s rare to the point of being remarkable that a player with almost no known history of success at the tables can break through at a tournament featuring a number of better-known and presumably, better players. Not completely unheard of, but certainly rare enough to gain ‘remarkable’ status. And while the game was 8-ball, known to offer players more kinds of opportunities to frustrate opponent plans, and he wasn’t up against the likes of Jayson Shaw, Shane Van Boening or Fedor Gorst, the “Munchkin” didn’t get a lot of luck from the bracket draws. He had to get by (among others) the likes of Matt Krah, Jimmy Rivera, Scott Haas and eventually, had to double dip Brett Stottlemeyer in the finals to claim his first event title.

“We don’t know what happened,” said Bolyard. “He’d won one of those weekly tournaments the Friday before and he just kept his nerves under control. He was really calm all the way through.”

“He kept his composure together and everything just clicked for him,” he added. “He was able (in the finals) to put Brett in some lockdowns; good ones that stopped runouts. He had him 4-0 in that first set.”

It started well for the “Munchkin.” He opened with a shutout over Tim Metter and then got by Christie Hurdel and Joseph Wright, Jr. before encountering Matt Krah in a winners’ side quarterfinal. They fought the proverbial ‘tooth and nail’ to 5-5 before Johnson picked up ‘6,’ advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against Jimmy Rivera. Like Johnson, Stottlemeyer opened with a shutout (over Bruce Brunnell) before facing his own ‘rogue’s gallery’ of familiar combatants, any one of whom could have derailed his trip to the hot seat; Rick Miller, Steve Fleming and, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, Scott Haas. Going into the winners’ side quarterfinals, there was a potential father/son battle for the hot seat looming on the event horizon. But while Thomas did his part, downing Thomas Zippler 6-3, Stottlemeyer sent his Dad to the loss side in a double hill fight and picked up son Thomas in the other winners’ side semifinal. This shifted the potential father/son battle to the loss side, where they eventually met in the quarterfinals.

Stottlemeyer made short work of son Thomas Haas 6-1, as Johnson was dispatching Rivera to the loss side 6-4. In the first of their three matches, Stottlemeyer dominated, for the second time in a row giving up only a single rack. He sat in the hot seat, one would assume, fairly confident that he’d be chalking up the one win he needed to claim the title.  

On the loss side, the Haas family was at work, looking to match up in the quarterfinals. Dad had followed his loss to Stottlemeyer with victories over Bryan Jones 6-2 and Zippler 6-1 to draw Rivera. Son Thomas picked up Eric Lyons, who was working on a modest four-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Matt Krah 6-4 and co-tour director Rick Scarlato, Jr. 6-1.

Father and son downed their respective opponents, Rivera and Lyons, by the same 6-3 score and the quarterfinal family fight was on. Oddly enough, it was won by the same 6-3 score that had made the match happen. It was Dad Scott who advanced to the semifinals against the “Munchkin.” 

The reportedly “calm” and “composed” Johnson kept the ‘cool’ going in the face of a double hill challenge from the last Haas standing. He weathered that storm, eliminating Haas to put an even more daunting challenge on his ‘dance card;’ the necessary two-step tango to pry Brett Stottlemeyer from his perch in the hot seat.

The “Munchkin” grabbed the first set 6-3, which almost certainly had a way of boosting his confidence, while on the other side of the table, the pressure was suddenly on. Johnson won the second set 6-4 to claim MD State’s 8-Ball Championships and earn his first payout entry into AZBilliards’ database.

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 for its next three events. Its first, a 10-Ball Scotch Doubles event for teams with a combined FargoRate of 1200 or under, scheduled for the weekend of March 26-27, will be #3 in its Bar Box Bonanza series. April will bring two events, blending into May. The MD State Bar Table 9-Ball Championships (April 9-10) and #4 in the Bar Box Bonanza Series, a FargoRate 8-Ball tournament (April 30-May 1). 

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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.