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Rodriguez and Paradowski earn DPT Wins

Chris Paradowski

The G Cue Billiard Store Diamond Pool Tour made its only trip to Tucson this season, with a stop at Pockets on July 15th – 16th. Once again, two new champions were crowned at these events, with El Paso’s Ramon Rodriguez winning the amateur event, and Tucson’s Chris Paradowski winning a marathon final match to capture the open division crown.
Things got underway on Saturday, with 25 players competing in the amateur division. By the luck of the draw, Tucson’s Mike Hamman drew his wife Tracie in the first round of play. Mike won that match going away, but it would be far from the last time fans in attendance would hear from the fairer of the Hammans. Mike Hamman’s trek through the winner’s side included a hill-hill nail biter over Tommy Dilorenzo and wins over Chris Campbell and John Alteri.
Hamman’s opponent for the hot-seat was Ramon Rodriguez. This was Rodriguez’s first DCT tour stop, and he had to play at the top of the Fargo scale, meaning he was giving weight to almost every opponent all weekend long. Rodriguez’s run through the right side of the board consisted of wins over James Bentley, Dakota Conroy, Joe Guerra and Johnny Dearmore.
It appeared that Rodriguez saved his best for last, as he sent Hamman to the one loss side by a convincing 9-3 margin.
On the one loss side, Mike Hamman found a familiar opponent in the form of wife Tracie. After the first round loss to Mike, Tracie put together a 6 match winning streak to challenge Mike in the semi-finals. Unfortunately for Tracie, the rematch with Mike was similar to their first match, with Mike winning 9-1.
The semi-final wasn’t the only rematch with a similar outcome, as Rodriguez scored another 9-3 win over Mike Hamman in the first and only round of the finals.
Sunday’s open division drew a field made up of 16 top players. Stop 1 winner, Gus Briseno, found himself in unfamiliar territory after a first round hill-hill loss to Bret Huth, but he would be back again.
Huth dropped his next match to AJ Jones, who then went on to challenge Chris Paradowski for the hot-seat. That match was fairly lopsided, with Paradowski scoring a 10-3 win.
Meanwhile, Briseno was putting on a 9-ball clinic on the one loss side of the board. Briseno notched wins over Ben Hrabina, Tonee Allin, Tim Christopher and Ruben Silva, by a combined score of 44-9. Briseno then took advantage of a forfeit by Rudy Alameda and then continued his winning ways with an 11-3 win over Jones in the semi-finals.
The finals saw Briseno facing Paradowski in an 11-9 race. The late hour meant nothing to these players as they battled to hill-hill in the first set before Briseno pocketed the final 9-ball. That meant a second set would have to be played to determine the final winner. Again, the match went to hill-hill, but this time it was Paradowski pocketing the final 9-ball and earning the tournament win.
The G Cue Billiard Store Diamond Pool Tour will travel to Las Vegas next month for a stop at Griff’s on August 5th – 6th.
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Ellerman Three-Peats on Diamond Tour

Mitch Ellerman (Photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

The Diamond Pool Tour returned to Pockets Billiards in Tucson on October 1st – 2nd, for stop #7, with a field of 43 players playing 9-Ball on the 9’ tables. Although the top Tucson players put up a fight, it was Mitch Ellerman turning in his third straight tour stop win. 
The “A” bracket only held 14 players, and it was Ellerman and Tucson’s Chris Paradowski making their way through the winner’s bracket to meet up for the “A” bracket hot-seat. That match would go to Ellerman 9-6. Tim Daniel had lost his first match of the event, but scored an impressive run through the one loss side with dominating wins over AJ Jones, Tonee Allin, Jeff Webb and George Teyechea to face off with Paradowski in the semi-final match. Paradowski did the Tucson fans proud though, with a 9-6 win over Daniel. 
The “B” bracket consisted of 29 players with the Tucson players showing that they were more than ready to take on Phoenix’s best. The “B” bracket hot-seat came down to two Tucsonians with Eric Beeler defeating John Polaski in a hard fought 9-7 match. On the one loss side, Manny Luevano was proving that his 9-2 loss to Jack Murray in the first round was just a fluke. Luevano then went on a seven match winning streak that included notable wins over Rick Schmitz, 2015 “B” player of the year Joey Barrera, 2016 “B” Player of the year candidate Oscar Avila Sr. and Polaski in the semi final match. 
The 7th place finish by Avila was made possible by the come-back match of the weekend on Saturday night. Trailing Tim Christopher 8-2, Avila then proceeded to win seven straight games for the 9-8 win to earn him his spot in the Sunday bracket. 
When the brackets came together, Ellerman made quick work of Beeler for the overall hot-seat 9-3. On the one loss side though, Luevano was having fun defeating Tucson players and he kept the string going with a 9-7 win over Paradowski. Luevano wasn’t even done then, as he went on to eliminate Beeler in third place 9-4. That left Luevano with the unenviable task of having to beat Ellerman twice in the finals. He put up a fight, but it was Ellerman winning the first set 9-5 for first place and his third straight win. 
With the tournament win, Ellerman locked down the “A” player points list, with an insurmountable lead over Scott Frost. The “B” player points list sees Avila at the top, with a 115 point lead over Karloz Chavez. It would take a very high finish in the final stop of the year for Chavez to catch Avila on the list. 
Tour staff expressed their thanks to Curtis Johnson and his staff for taking care of the players all weekend. Rick Schmitz once again proved why he is the best billiards photographer in Arizona, with a selection of great player shots. 
The Diamond Pool Tour wasn’t done for the month though, as they held their final regular tour stop of the season three weeks later at Skip and Jan’s in Gilbert. 

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