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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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Stottlemeyer stops loss-side challenge by Saez to win Action Pool Tour stop

Brett Stottlemeyer stopped a determined, loss-side challenge by Robb Saez to win the August 11-12 stop on the Action Pool Tour. Saez won three double hill matches (and two others) on the loss side for the right to face Stottlemeyer, and won the opening set of the true double elimination final. Stottlemeyer fought back in the second set to chalk up the “W.” The event drew 63 entrants to VIP Billiards in Catonsville, MD.

Stottlemeyer gave up only four racks in his first two matches, and survived a double hill battle against Larry Kressel in the third round. He faced Mike Davis in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Tour points leader, Brian Deska, in the meantime, who had just survived a double hill battle against Saez, squared off against Shaun Wilkie. Stottlemeyer sent Davis west 8-5, as Deska downed Wilkie 8-6. Stottlemeyer got into the hot seat with an 8-4 victory over Deska, which sent him (Deska) to a semifinal re-match against Saez.

Saez, in the meantime, began his five-match journey back to the finals with his first of three double hill victories; over Brandon Shuff. He moved on to defeat Rich Glasscock 6-2, and picked up Davis, coming over from the winners’ side final four. Wilkie picked up Joe Cataldi, who’d defeated Larry Kressel and Shawn Toni, both 6-3.

Saez chalked up his second double hill win, this time over Davis, and in the quarterfinals faced Wilkie, who’d ended Cataldi’s day with a 6-1 victory. Wilkie came within a rack of forcing Saez into his third double hill match on the loss side, but Saez closed the match out at 6-4 and turned for a re-match against Deska in the semifinals.

For the third and final time, Saez locked up in a double hill match. The semifinal, 6-5 victory over Deska gave him a shot at Stottlemeyer in the hot seat. He took advantage of momentum to take the first set of the true double elimination final 8-6. Stottlemeyer, though, fought back in the second set, and won it 6-4 to secure the event title.

With only one point-bearing event to go on the Action Pool Tour’s season (the finale, set for September 8-9 at Big Daddy’s Billiards in Glen Burnie, MD), Stottlemeyer’s victory edged him closer to the top of the tour rankings. He remained behind the leaders, Brian Deska, Brandon Shuff and tour director Ozzy Reynolds, but pulled within striking distance of Reynolds. Deska, in the meantime, finishing third, solidified his top tour ranking, making him almost (but not quite) uncatchable (by Brandon Shuff in second place) as the season finale approaches.