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Cohen Claims Top Spot at the Fifth NCPT Stop

Scott Cohen

The North Central Pool Tour (NCPT) hosted its fifth event of the year at Pyramid Sports Bar and Pizzeria on Saturday, June 29. Twenty-seven players signed up to compete in the open 10-ball tournament. By the end, the two players vying for the top spot were Scott Cohen (McHenry, IL) and Mason Koch (Menasha, WI).
 
Young gun Koch cruised through the A side to claim the hot seat. He downed Joe Ulanowski (7-2), Olivia Cheng (7-4), Tom Karabatsos (7-4), and Marcus Wronski (7-4) on his undefeated streak. He even sent fellow finals contestant Scott Cohen (7-4) to the one-loss side in a late-round A-side match. Undeterred, Cohen rebounded with solid wins against Donald Branson (6-3), Andrew Mackey (6-5), and Marcus Wronski (6-2) to secure a rematch against Koch.
 
In the final set, one race to nine, Koch started off strong. He was quickly up 2-0 on Cohen, snagging his second win with a bank on the 10. But then Koch made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Cohen closed the gap–and then some–winning the next six games in a row. Koch attempted a late-match rally with some impressive play, even making a four-rail bank shot on the 9. But the late hour may have affected his focus as he then missed two 10 balls. Cohen cleaned up the match with a 9 to 4 finish. 
 
To watch streamed matches from this event, visit the RailbirdsTV’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy7rtHkZxl4&feature=share. To see a full list of players and the brackets, visit challonge.com. The final standings for the event are:
1st Scott Cohen ($450)
2nd Mason Koch ($285)
3rd Marcus Wronski ($180)
4th Andrew Mackey ($115)
5/6th Donald Branson and Robert Madison ($75)
7/8th Greg Pitts and Mensur Kahric ($45)
 
The NCPT thanks Pyramid Sports Bar and tour sponsor Eric Nelson for adding $300 to this event. A big thanks, too, to RailbirdsTV for streaming all the action. The new tour directors for the NCPT (Vanessa Hood, Laura Semko, Rho Reyes, and Laura Bendikas) are sincerely grateful to Kelly Nickl for all her work over the past 3 years. She set the groundwork for the successful continuation of this tour.
 
The NCPT will be hosting two ladies division events July 20 at City Pool Hall and August 24 at Red Shoes Billiards. At least one more open event is also in the works for the fall. Visit the NCPT facebook page or NCPTplay.com for more details! You can also find the NCPT on Instagram and Twitter.

Chicago Winners: Dobosenski & Cozzolino Head to the Andy Cloth World Tournament of 14.1

The first qualifier for the 2015 Andy Cloth World Tournament of 14.1 took place Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Red Shoes Billiards in Alsip, Illinois for the 7th straight year. Longtime 14.1 specialists Ron Dobosenski of Wisconsin and Chicago's Bob Cozzolino took the top honors. For the 10th year in a row, qualifiers will be held nationwide for the 75th edition of The World Tournament of 14.1. Players all over the United States will be able to take their chance to win a spot into the grand slam of straight pool! Each qualifier winner will be guaranteed a minimal of 6 round robin matches in the finale main event. The main event will take place once more in New York City. Dragon Promotions is pleased to keep the oldest billiard event in the world alive with the 75th production on July 13th-19th, 2015. As usual, a star studded field is expected this year at Steinway Billiards Cafe, who is once more hosting this world class event. The World Tournament Official Equipment include Viking Cue with all matches played on Andy Cloth. Event partners include Mr.Tom Gleich, Dr. Gregory Diehl, Mr. Greg Hunt of Amsterdam Billiards, & Mr. Jim Gottier of Greenleaf's Pool Room. Patron sponsors include Mr. Harold Siegel of Excelsior Graphics, Dr. James Heller, Mr. Charles Eames of Charles Eames Photography, Frank Scharbach of Frank's Billard Cafe, and the National Amateur Pool League. 
 
The World Tournament will be live streamed on AZBTV . Official media partners are www.NYCGrind.com , Pool & Billiard Magazine, & tech support by Gotham City Technologies. 
 
Most of the usual suspects were there, but a few out of towners showed up to take a shot at the biggest straight pool event in the world. We had Hal Johns and Peter Hull coming in from Ohio this year and we had Jim Colling making the trip from Texas as well as Ron Dobosenski and Robert Crawford coming down from Madison Wisconsin all for the second straight year. The rest of our 15 man field was rounded out by local guys from the Greater Chicago area.
 
Ed Latimer, who has been a straight pool fixture in Chicago forever started out with a match against one of the Ohio fellows, Hal Johns. Hal is a straight pool enthusiast who has made trips to Chicago before most notably, whenever Danny Diliberto was in town to give lessons. Hal is an old school player who owns a Balabushka cue. He said he was just getting in the tournament to help support our effort, yet he acquitted himself well, falling just a bit short with Mr. Latimer, 67-100. 
 
Bob Crawford of Madison Wisconsin had been in the Red Shoes Straight Pool League last session, making the 3 hour plus drive twice a month to compete. He had recently made 140 balls in back to back innings, but again, he said he was coming down to help support straight pool in our area. In his first match he bested a young sharpshooter named Chris Medvid, who has been in a few of Red Shoes straight pool leagues, but with a new baby, has had to cut back on his pool playing recently.
 
Tom Karabatsos who has been playing straight pool forever and is a pupil of Dallas West’s matched up with Ted Antle, who is a great straight pool supporter and is in the 14.1 club this year as well as being a 2016 George Fels Memorial Derby City Straight Pool Challenge sponsor.
 
Jim Colling of Texas matched up with Vince Crovetti, a local golf pro who has been playing in Red Shoes Straight Pool Leagues, Illinois Billiard Club Leagues, and who has played in other tournaments closer to the Wisconsin Border where he lives for many years. 9Ball Jim, as he calls himself on AZBilliards has been a nine ball player and is a good shooter, but has been transitioning his game to Straight Pool for probably the last 5 years. He boasts a high run of 70, so far. He was able to beat Vince in their opening round.
 
Rich Klein who has been running most of the straight pool leagues in Chicago, and who is a member of the 14.1 club, and who is a sponsor yearly for the George Fels Memorial Derby City Straight Pool Challenge was matched up against one of the Ohio lads, Peter Hull. Peter Hull is a lawyer from Hinckley, Ohio, who is active in Ohio straight pool circles. He told me he has a pool table and a billiards table in his basement. He ran a 37 en route to dispatching Rich and moved ahead in the brackets.
 
Yours truly, Dennis Walsh got the dubious honor of matching up with Bob Cozzolino in the first round. Coz, as we call him has already been to the big show three previous times and Walsh has never ever beaten him. Perhaps because it was early or perhaps because he was conserving his strength for later, Coz allowed me to get to 95 before running 7 and out to win his first match.
 
Ron Dobosenski is from Madison, Wisconsin where he lives with his wife of 39 years. He is a former multiple state and Midwest champion who played numerous professional events in the early 1980s. He is a student of 14.1 Hall of Fame inductee, Frank “Sailor” Stellman and boasts a high run of 211. He is now retired and has started playing again. He met up with Mario Galletti in the first round and was able to emerge triumphant.
The fellow who got the bye in the first round, Joe Klein, was rewarded by getting to meet up with Tom Karabatsos in the second round. Tom has probably played Joe many times over the years and was able to take him down and move forward.
 
Bob Crawford got to 70 something against Ed Latimer. Jim Colling got to 81 against Cozzolino and Ron Dobosenski was able to beat Peter Hull.
In the next round on the winner’s side, Ed Latimer got to sit in his chair while Tom Karabatsos had two 40 ball runs against him. Bob Cozzolino got ahead of Ron Dobosenski 86-79, but he must have blinked because Ron ended up winner 100-87.
 
This led to the winner’s side matchup between Ron Dobosenski and Tom Karabatsos. Ron had played Tom twice in last year’s qualifier and Tom had won both games, sending Ron back to Wisconsin. This year, Ron saved his best for last, running 52 and a 28 back to back, winning easily.
 
Tom then had to wait while me and the rest of the losers had to battle it out on the left side for the opportunity to play Tom for the second spot. There was a lot of commotion over on the loser’s side, but eventually, Bob Cozzolino beat Peter Hull to take on Tom Karabatsos for the final spot. Bob saved his best for last running a 40 and 2 20s on his way to victory. 
 
Last year’s inductee to the 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of fame, Frank “Sailor” Stellman was there watching most of the matches and hand delivering his $250 donation to the 14.1 club to help with the prize fund. As always, John Lavin was the perfect host , making everyone feel welcome and creating a 14.1 oasis in the Midwest that cannot be beaten. Thanks to all of the players and all of the spectators for creating a wonderful Straight Pool Event once again.
 
The finale qualifier will be held at Amsterdam Billiards in New York City. Amsterdam has been a huge supporter of the World Tournament of 14.1 from the start of its resurrection in 2006 and has held a qualifier every year for 10 years straight, giving them the distinction of being the only billiard room to do so. This has all been due to the enormous generosity of Greg Hunt, owner and founder of Amsterdam Billiard Club since 1989.

Verkruyse & Karabotsos Win Chicago: OB Official Cue of ANDY CLOTH World 14.1 Tournament

Here are the results of the 2014 World Tournament of 14.1,Red Shoes Billiards Qualifier that was held a few weeks back. It was a small field but there were many quality contenders, including Michael Verkruyse, Tom Karabatsos, Ronald Dobosenski, Bob Cozzolino, Richard Michalec Sr., Jim Colling, Rich Klein, and Dean Markoshan, one of Chicago's finest, just back from a straight pool lesson with Dallas West.  
 
OB Cues has also joined as the Official Cue of the ANDY CLOTH World Tournament which takes place on August 4th-9th, 2014. Sponsored by Andy Cloth, Kamui Brands, OB Cues, Amsterdam Billiard Club, Realrealcool.com, Pool & Billiard Magazine , Aramith Balls, and George Beckman Kinetic Sculptures. Official patron 14.1 aficionados are Stu Mattana, Tom Gleich, Harold Siegel, and Dr. Greg Diehl Plastic Surgery.  Each qualifier winner will be guaranteed a minimal of 5 round robin matches in the finale main event. The main event will take place once more in New York City. Dragon Promotions and Dr. Michael Fedak are pleased to bring the 74th production of the oldest billiard event in the world on August 4th-9th, 2014. A star studded field is expected this year at Steinway Billiards Cafe, who is once more hosting the world's grandest straight pool championship.
 
“OB Cues are now the official cues of one of the oldest, longest running tournaments in billiards: The 74th World Tournament of 14.1. This event has a rich history connecting us with legends like Mosconi, Greenleaf, Lassiter, Mizerak, Crane and so many more. OB is proud to be associated with such names in the game they mastered and we look forward to seeing many of the champion players of today competing in this event to try and best the records of some of the great legends of yesteryear." , said Shane Sinnott , Director of Sales and Marketing for OB Cues. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, OB is a leading manufacturer of High Performance Pool Cues and Pool Cue Shafts made 100% in the USA since 2005. 
 
Bob Cozzolino, who has qualified twice before had a tough opening round match with Tom Karabatsos. Bob beat Tom last year on the loser's side of the qualifier and beat Tom in a league match at Red Shoes Billiards just a week earlier. Tom had come in second in the league out of 32 players and has qualified numerous times, so he is always dangerous. Bob got off to an 60-20 lead but Tom came back hard and bested him 100-80. In the other first round match in that bracket, Ron Dobosenski ran a 41 and a 38 and out on Jim Colling who had come down from Texas to play in the qualifier while visiting relatives. Jim is a somewhat recent convert to straight pool that boasts a high run of 70. Ron is a student of Frank "Sailor" Stellman, noted cue maker and 14.1 teacher from Racine Wisconsin. Ron boasts a high run of 211 and Sailor had made the trip down to Chicago to watch his former student and to sweat some straight pool matches. Ron had just finished up one session of Red Shoes Straight Pool league, driving down from Madison, Wisconsin twice a month to play the game he loves.
 
The next round found Tom Karabatsos matched up with Ron Dobosenski and the straight pool heavyweights, who have played each other many times in the last 30 years, traded punches with Tom coming out on top. On the other side of the bracket, Rich Klein, one of the league directors at Red Shoes Billiards and one of the sponsors of the Derby City Classic Straight Pool Challenge every year, matched up with Dean Markoshan, a member of the Red Shoes Straight Pool league and an officer with the Chicago Police Department. Dean is relatively new to straight pool, but gave it everything he had. It was not enough to best the steady Rich Klein. On the other side of that bracket, Rick Michalec, Sr., a veteran of the Illinois Billiards Club Straight Pool League and the Red Shoes league was going up against a new face at Red Shoes in Michael Verkruyse. Rick has a high run of 70 and has won one of the straight pool qualifiers before and is always a threat. The two of them went back and forth with no big runs, and eventually, Michael landed the last punch, winning 100-77. That matched him up with Rich Klein and he was able to get off to a 75-19 lead. A couple of unforced errors on Mike's part were enough to give Rich an opportunity and he was able to get within striking distance, but Mike closed out the game and finished it 100-55. Richard referred to Mike as "Madman MIke, he of the fabulous fundamentals and perfect stroke", Mike is a student of Mark Wilson's and I imagine that might be where he honed his fundamentals. He also has spent some time with Nick Varner, so who knows.
 
I will use the words of Mike to describe the final match on the winners side between him and Tom Karabatos: 
"I had been watching him play all day and knew I had my hands full. The opening break was the first time I had to break all day and I managed to hit a good clean safe leaving him long and tough on the 9-ball. Tom played safe and left me a small glimpse of a shot, I thought to myself if I make it I spread the rack wide open, if I miss it I will spread the rack wide open for my opponent. Well in for a penny in for a pound. I got down and stroked the 4 ball home into the corner pocket and was off and running. I don’t recall much of the middle of the match, only that I had a big lead of like 75-20 something, then tom went on a tear and caught me and passed me with a great run. The score was now closed in tight at 90(me) to 89(tom). A small safety battle ensued and tom took a chance at a ball in the stack and it missed leaving me a wide open table. I made one ball after another, steadily getting out of line lol. I now needed 2 balls for the win and a chance to go to New York. I had a long straight shot on the 15 ball, as soon as I pulled the trigger my heart fell into my stomach as I watched it go slightly wide of the pocket and rattle. Tom cleaned up the rest and was all set to make the break ball and put the nails in my coffin when something happened I did not expect, he missed the break ball! I gathered myself and pocketed the last two balls."
 
 In the meantime, over on the other side, Bob Cozzolino had taken down Jim Colling and Rick Michalec had besTed Dean Markoshan. Bob Cozzolino had qualified from the loser's side before, last year having to beat Jeffrey Mohl, Ed Latimer and Tom Karabatsos to qualify. This year it was not to be as perennial giant killer Rich Klein took him down. At the same time, Rick Michalec who has been there before was beating Dean Markoshan. Ron Dobosenski beat Rick Michalec and then beat Rich Klein, leading to a rematch with Tom Karabatsos for the second spot. Ron has only been back playing pool for about a year and perhaps it showed, but Tom is always a threat and sent Ron back to Wisconsin. 
 
Tom Karabatsos was taught by Dallas West and you can see that in his smooth stroke. He is a perennial high finisher in all Chicago area pool events, especially straight pool. He also had a nice showing at the Maryland Straight Pool Tournament last year, besting Dave Daya and Shaun Wilkie, among others. Michael Verkruyse is 32 years old from Mahomet, Illinois and is currently the House Pro at Jupiter’s Pizzeria & Billiards in Champaign, Illinois. His sponsors are Durbin Custom Cues (www.durbincues.com) out of Sullivan, Illinois, Nick Varner Cues & Cases (www.nickvarner.com), 
Fast Action Cues Clothing and Jupiter's Pizzeria and Billiards. 
Jupiter’s Pizzeria & Billiards