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Kennedy/Hunter go undefeated to win Open/Amateur divisions of 5th Annual Labor Day Classic

Rhyan Hunter and Ameet Kukadia

Capone’s 5th Labor Day Classic, held this past Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-4), is in the books and the undefeated winners are Tommy Kennedy in the $500-added Open event and Rhyan Hunter in the $1,000-added Amateur event, which was open to competitors with a Fargo Rate of 640 and under. Both events yielded full fields; 64 in the Amateur event and 16 in the Open event at Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

Hunter was the only player in the Amateur event having to give the entire field a single game on the wire, which wasn’t enough for anyone to come close to him. His precision shooting and heart gave him the victory in every match. He opened with a shutout over JT Russell and advanced through victories over Justin Logan 7-3, Justin Ward 7-3 and another shutout, versus Dan Mello, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Andy Crews. In the meantime, eventual runner-up Ameet Kukadia, slowly becoming a regular at Capone’s events, advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal versus (unrelated to Dan) Mike Mello, who was playing in his first event at Capone’s. 

Hunter defeated Crews 7-3, as Mike Mello sent Kukadia to the loss side 7-4. Hunter claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Mello and waited on Kukadia’s return.

On the loss side, Kukadia drew Dan Mello, who’d survived a double hill match against Jamison Daniels and shut out Justin Logan to reach him. Crews picked up Justin McNulty, who’d also survived a double hill match, against Benji Estor, and came within a second straight double hill match, downing Litos Davila 6-4. 

Kukadia and McNulty advanced to the quarterfinals; Kukadia, 6-2 over Dan Mello and McNulty, 6-4 over Crews. Kukadia defeated McNulty in those quarterfinals 6-3 and then won his redemption match versus Mike Mello 6-2 in the semifinals.

To claim the title, Kukadia needed to win two matches against Hunter in the finals that followed. Hunter completed his undefeated run with a 7-2 win in the only set necessary.

Tommy Kennedy (File photo)

Kennedy weathers ‘challenge’ storms to go undefeated in Open event

The Open event had its share of past champions, including Jason Richko (2019) and Tony Crosby (2021). Not present was the Labor Day Classic’s 2020 Champion, Donny Mills, who was ‘laboring away’ at Turning Stone in New York state over the weekend. 

“He was doing damage up there,” said TD Carrie Vetrono, “and finished as runner-up. Congratulations to Donny.”

Tommy Kennedy was a former champion, as well (2019), and his undefeated run through the Classic made him the first competitor to have his ‘name up in lights’ as winner of the event, twice. It was not an easy journey for TK.

Of the five matches Kennedy played to claim the Labor Day Classic’s 2022 Open title, two went to double hill and two more came within a game of it. He opened with an 8-6 win over Marcus Murillo and a double hill win over Richard Broumpton, which set him up in a winners’ side semifinal against one of the former champions, Jason Richko. In the meantime, Lee Heuwagen and Tony Crosby were working their way to their meetup in the other winners’ side semifinal; Crosby arriving with a 16-3 aggregate score against Zee Zee Green (0) and Ross Webster (3), Heuwagen arriving with a 16-4 aggregate score against Bobby Jones (3) and Guy Jones (1). 

Kennedy got into the hot seat match 8-6 over Richko. Heuwagen joined him after a commanding 8-2 win over Crosby. TK grabbed the hot seat 8-4.

Crosby wanted the trophy and came back from the loss-side, knocking out Sandeep Swain 7-5, Ross Webster 7-1 in the quarterfinals and this time, victorious over Heuwagen in their semifinal rematch 7-5.

Kennedy and Crosby locked up in what was Kennedy’s second double hill match. After a long day of shooting, Crosby fell short, giving way in the 15th rack and handing Kennedy the title.

TD Carrie Vetrono thanked everyone that participated and helped make Capone’s 5th Annual Labor Day Classic the tournament that it was. 

“Without everyone’s help we could not do this,” she said. “Special thanks to Rocco-Rocky McElroy and his Capone’s staff for all they do, as well as Joel Vetrono and Anthony Fisher for helping send matches out on the amateur event.”

The next event at Capone’s, scheduled for the weekend of October 8-9, will be an Open Handicap event that will play out on the venue’s 9-foot tables. 

See y’all on the rail!

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Mills and Meglino take turns as Winner/Runner-up at double tournament on Florida Pool Tour

Donny Mills

Two, two, two ‘ments in one.

For those too young to remember, Doublemint Gun used to run TV commercials with a jingle that described their product as having “two, two, two mints” in one. Thus, the reference above, describing this past weekend’s (March 19-20) activities on the Florida Pool Tour; the Stroker’s Spring Classic, featuring a $1,000-added 9-Ball ‘ment on Saturday and a $500-added 10-Ball ‘ment on Sunday, hosted by Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL. 

Donnie Mills went undefeated in the 64-entrant, Saturday 9-Ball event, downing Anthony Meglino in the finals. Meglino lost the hot seat match to Mills and came back to defeat him in the 16-entrant, Sunday 10-Ball event. Gerson Martinez Boza was third in the former and Scott Tollefson finished third in the latter.

Mills downed Ed Medina 8-1 in the opening round of Saturday action, went on to defeat Justin Jenkins, by the same score, and Jesse Fonda by shutout, before defeating Meglino for the first time in a winners’ side quarterfinal 7-2. Mills advanced to meet Stroker’s owner, Jose Del Rio in a winners’ side semifinal. Gerson Martinez Boza, in the meantime, had gotten by James Allen and Scott Tollefson, before shutting out Trevor Braymore in a winners’ side quarterfinal to meet up with Justin Hall in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mills and Boza advanced by the same 8-1 score to the hot seat match, over Del Rio and Hall, respectively. Mills grabbed the hot seat, defeating Boza 7-5.

On the loss side, Hall and Del Rio ran right into their second loss, sending Meglino and Tony Crosby to the quarterfinals. Meglino then dropped Crosby into fourth place and got a second shot at Mills, waiting for him in the hot seat, by defeating Boza 5-3. Mills completed his undefeated run with a second victory over Meglino to claim the Stroker’s Spring Classic 9-Ball title.

Meglino loses hot seat match to Mills, comes back from semifinals to claim 10-Ball title

Mills downed Jason Richko 7-5 in the opening round of Sunday’s 10-ball action, and then sent Tommy Kennedy to the loss side, drawing Travis Croft in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Meglino, in the meantime, defeated Ray Linares in his opening round, and after sending Mike Lear to the loss side, picked up Tony Crosby in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Crosby fought Meglino to double hill before Meglino prevailed, advancing to the hot seat match. Mills joined him after defeating Croft 7-4. Mills took the first of the day’s two against Meglino 7-5 and sat in the hot seat, waiting for him to get back from the semifinals.

On the loss side, Crosby picked up a rematch against Scott Tollefson, whom he’d defeated in the opening winners’ side round and was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals, He’d recently eliminated 14-year-old Sofia Mast 7-2 and Tommy Kennedy 7-3. Croft drew Justin Stock, who’d also been sent to the loss side by Crosby and defeated Marcos Yalan 7-3 and Jason Richko 7-5 to reach Croft.

Croft advanced to the quarterfinals 7-3 over Stock. Tollefson joined him after sending Crosby home 7-3. Tollefson then took the quarterfinals 7-5 over Croft, before Meglino finished his loss-side trip 7-2 in the semifinals. Meglino spoiled Mills’ chance of winning both events with a 9-3 win in the finals.

Tour representatives thanked Jose Del Rio and his Stroker’s staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Aramith, Outsville, Simonis Cloth, salottopro, DigitalPool, FargoRate, Crosby’s Billiards and Darts Supply, Straight Shooter Gear,, Sniper, and XL Express Co. The next stop on the Florida Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of May 21-22, will be the $1,500-added Capone’s Super 32 10-Ball Championship, hosted by Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.  

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Gilsinan and Burden come from deep on the loss side to win FL State Amateur 9-Ball events

Tony Crosby, Jerry Arvelaez, Michael Zingale, Justin Gilsinan and Mike Lear

Between the Main and Second Chance events on the Florida Pool Tour’s $5,000-added Florida State Amateur 9-Ball Championships this past weekend (Jan. 15-16), 183 players (with duplication) came to Zingale’s in Tallahassee to play some 9-ball. It had to be the most heavily-attended event in the state in the last two years. And both events featured winners who’d lost early matches and came back on the loss side to claim a title.

After being awarded an opening-round bye (along with 122 others in the 256-player bracket), Justin Gilsinan lost his third winners’ side match (double hill to Nick Applebee) and then won 10 in a row to claim the $4,000-added, 134-entrant Main Event. Jordan Burden lost his opening match (5-1 to Stacy Harrell) in the $1,000-added, 49-entrant Second Chance event and also won 10 straight to claim that title.

The events were designed to accommodate players at a certain handicap ranking and below. While Fargo Rate was employed to determine a lot of the handicaps (699 and under), co-tour directors Tony Crosby and Mike Lear used that and personal knowledge of players to determine eligibility.

With the eventual winner already at work on the loss side in the main event, it was Jerry Arvelaez and Trenton White who, in races to 7, advanced through the 9-ball field to reach the hot seat match. Arvelaez started his trip with a double hill win over Jason Richko and then advanced through Frankie Bourgeois (3), Josh Hillard (0), Desi Derado (5) and Ben Smith (4) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against White. White had sent Billy Pelkey (5), Lincoln Seiffert (0), Bobby Moore (3), Aidan Rigsby (1) and Jesse Middlebrooks (5) to the loss side to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Kelvin Holliman.

Arvelaez and Applebee battled to double hill before Arvelaez prevailed, advancing to the hot seat match. White joined him after sending Holliman over 7-2. Arvelaez and White came within a game of double hill, before Arvelaez edged out in front to claim the hot seat 7-5.

On the loss side, Applebee picked up Roderick Rentz, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal match, double hill, to Holliman and then, given up just a single rack to Joselito Martinez and none at all to Desi Derado to reach Rentz. Holliman had the misfortune of drawing Gilsinan, who was six matches into his loss-side trip, which had consisted of three matches that came within of game of double hill (5-3), two straight double hill wins and a shutout of Josh Hillard.

Rentz chalked up his second straight shutout, downing Applebee and advancing to the quarterfinals, with the possibility of a rematch against Holliman ahead of him. Gilsinan joined Rentz, spoiling the rematch, with a 5-3 win over Holliman. 

Gilsinan put an end to Rentz’ loss-side run 5-1 in the quarterfinals and chalked up loss-side win #9 in the semifinals, eliminating White 5-3. Gilsinan completed his improbable loss-side run in the finals. He downed Arvelaez 8-5 to claim the Florida State Amateur 9-Ball Championship.

Burden comes back from opening-round loss to win Second Chance tournament

The only thing missing from Jordan Burden’s equally improbable, 10-loss-side-win performance to claim the Second Chance victory was what would, no doubt, have been a satisfying ‘So there!’ rematch against Stacy Harrell. It didn’t happen.

It was Jason Jones and Chris Campos who worked their way through the 39-entrant, Second Chance field to square off in the hot seat match. Jones claimed the hot seat 5-2, unaware that his six-match run through the winners’ side was about to come to an end.

On the loss side, Burden’s sixth win came at the expense of Billy Burke, who’d lost his winners’ side semifinal match against Jason Jones. Burden defeated Burke 5-3, advancing to the quarterfinals, where he eventually shut out David Uwate. 

The last piece of Burden’s loss-side puzzle was Campos in the semifinals. A 3-1 victory over him put Burden into the finals, where he defeated Jason Jones 5-3 to claim the Second Chance title. 

Tour directors Tony Crosby and Mike Lear thanked the ownership and staff at Zingale’s, as well as sponsors Aramith Billiard Balls, Outsville, Simonis Cloth, Salotto Pro, Digital Pool, Fargo Rate, Crosby’s Billiards and Darts Supply, Straight Shooter Gear,, Sniper and XL Press Co. The Florida Pool Tour will return to Zingale’s next month for the $5,000-added Florida State Open 10-Ball Championships, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 26-27.

Mills downs Crosby twice to win Open event of 3rd Annual Labor Day Classic at Capone’s

Tony Crosby, Donny Mills and Kyle Bova

Fisher and Jankowski split top prizes in Amateur event

Joining the ranks of Jason Richko and Tommy Kennedy, who won the event in 2018 and 2019, respectively, another Florida pool-playing veteran, Donny Mills went undefeated to claim Capone’s 2020 Labor Day Classic, held on the weekend of September 5-6. Mills had to get by Tony Crosby twice, in the hot seat and finals, to complete his run at the $400-added Open 10-Ball event of the Classic, that drew 24 entrants to Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

In the $200-added Amateur 9-Ball event, Anthony Fisher and Trey Jankowski split the top two prizes after opting out of a final match. Sitting in the hot seat at the time, Fisher claimed the official event title, joining Thomas Fioranelli, the event’s defending champion and James McNulty, who won the inaugural event in 2018. The $200-added Amateur event drew a full field of 64 entrants with Fargo Rates 640 or below. 

Donny Mills was awarded an opening round bye in the Open event and then defeated Mike Steven 7-2 and Anthony Meglino 7-5 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Junior competitor Trenton White. Mills’ opponent in the hot seat and finals, Tony Crosby, opened with a 7-1 victory over Derek Greenwood, and then dispatched Kyle Bova 7-5 and Rhyan Hunter 7-2 to enter his winners’ side semifinal match against Rich Broumpton.

Mills gave up only a single rack to White and advanced to the hot seat match. Crosby joined him after Broumpton broke down his cue when he got behind 0-4. Mills claimed the hot seat with his first of two over Crosby 7-5.

On the loss side, White picked up Nathan Rose, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d most recently eliminated Ray Linares, double hill and James Adams 6-3. Broumpton drew Kyle Bova, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was destined to advance a little more.

White advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 victory over Rose and was joined by Bova, who’d defeated Broumpton 6-2. Bova and White battled to double hill before Bova advanced to the semifinals against Crosby. 

Crosby and Bova battled to double hill, as well, before Crosby prevailed for his second shot against Mills. Mills claimed the Open title with a second victory over Crosby 7-4.

Trey Jankowski and Anthony Fisher

Fisher and Jankowski agree to split, so Fisher can continue competing in the Open

It was, reportedly, Trey Jankowski who offered to split the top two prizes in the Amateur event. Sitting in the hot seat, Anthony Fisher would have had to be defeated twice for Jankowski to have won and those two matches would likely have caused Fisher to drop out of his participation in the Open event. Fisher agreed to the split and went on to finish in the tie for 9th in the Open event.

Fisher’s path to the shared winners’ circle went through Todd Wyrick, Cris Baumgart and Bobby Jones, before arriving at a winners’ side quarterfinal match against Jankowski. Fisher won that match 7-2 to face Carlos Gomes in a winners’ side semifinal. Jeremy Sloan, in the meantime, opened his march to the hot seat match by surviving a double hill fight against Lonnie Garcia, and then downing Robbie Cartrette, TJ Fioranelli, and Louie Smith to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal vs. Mike Burke.

Sloan got into the hot seat match with a 7-5 victory over Burke and was joined by Fisher, who’d sent Gomes to the loss side by the same score. Fisher sent Sloan to the semifinals 7-3 and sat in the hot seat waiting, as it turned out, for Jankowski.

On the loss side, Gomes picked up Moe Fattah, who’d recently eliminated Cartrette and Mike Kandy, both 5-2. Burke drew Jankowski, who, following his defeat at the hands of Fisher, had eliminated Trenton White 5-1 and Derrick Santos 5-2. 

Jankowski and Fattah advanced to the quarterfinals; Jankowksi 5-3 over Burke and Fattah 5-2 over Gomes. Jankowski took the subsequent quarterfinals 5-2 over Fattah and then dropped Sloan in the semifinals 5-3. The decision to split was made and Fisher, with the official victory in his pocket, returned to pursue what turned out to be his tie-for-ninth-place finish in the Open event.

In addition to the regular payouts for the top 16 players in the Amateur event. Two women ended up splitting $40 for being the highest finishing females in the event. Margie Soash and Jessica Human both finished in the eight-way tie for 17th place.

Event coordinator Carrie Vetrono thanked Rocco ‘Rocky’ McElroy and his Capone’s staff, as well as all of the players for “making the event enjoyable.” The next event at Capone’s, scheduled for the weekend of October 10-11, will be one of three venue qualifiers for a December 19 finale. The $300-added ($400 with 40+ entrants) 9-ball event is an Open Handicapped event with varied entry fees, dependent on a player’s handicap, from Open/Pro down to C players. For further information, you can reach Vetrono at Capone’s.  

Charity Weekend nets over $10K for TK

Tony Crosby, Carrie Vetrono, Rocky McElroy and Nathan Rose

As a community, pool players can be, to put it mildly, aggressive about their competition. Trash talk is common. Rivalries are legend. And when was the last time any of us watched an important match with a lot of money at stake where the two players actually appeared to be having a good time? That would probably have been a match in which Tommy Kennedy was one of the competitors. It’s hard to find someone in the world-wide pool community who doesn’t have anything but good things to say about Tommy Kennedy and as a result, when he fell, hit his head and suffered a concussion in March, which led to some healing issues that were predicted to take as long as a year, the community came out to support him.

It began with a GoFundMe campaign, which launched in June and was organized by a member in long-standing of the pool community at large, and long-time friend of Kennedy, as well, Roger Long. Last weekend (Aug. 7-9), Rocco-Rocky McElroy, owner of Capone’s Billiards in Spring Hill, FL and Carrie Vetrono, who moved into Kennedy’s neighborhood (Florida) only four years ago, held a charity weekend of pool to benefit Kennedy and his family. There was a series of mini-events on Friday, featuring eight-person, single elimination boards, called, in honor of one of Kennedy’s favorite expressions, “Ahh, come on!” boards, that drew 70 entrants. Between that evening and the two-day main event that drew 85, over $10,000 was raised to supplement the $28,000 that had been raised on the GoFundMe initiative by the time the weekend had begun.

All you really need to know about the $1,250-added main event is that Nathan Rose won seven straight to win it. Rose downed Ken Black, Marcus Murillo, Nick Fiore and Van Phan to face and defeat Kyle Bova in a winners’ side semifinal and then, got by John Gore to claim the hot seat. In the finals, Rose faced Tony Crosby, who’d been defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Bova, won five on the loss side (including his quarterfinal rematch versus Bova) to earn a spot in the finals. Rose completed his undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Crosby in those finals.

In his introduction to the GoFundMe campaign, Roger Long noted that “Tommy has used his talent as one of the world’s greatest pool players to meet and minister to hurting people all over this country (and others).”

“Now,” said Long, “Tommy needs help and since I know he’s too humble to ask, I’m going to do the asking for him.”

The community responded. Nearly 400 donors, both known and anonymous, contributed in amounts ranging from $10 to $1,000 and the campaign is ongoing. The campaign, on behalf of Tommy’s wife, Denise, has a goal of $75k. Contributions can be made on the GoFundMe Web site.

Carrie Vetrono was frankly surprised at the charity weekend and its eventual $10,800 to the cause.

“I didn’t think we were going to make as much as we did,” she said. “I was hoping $5k to $6k, so it blew me away when I figured out the final amount.”

In addition to $25 out of each main event entry fee, the event collected funds from the Friday night mini-events, straightforward donations, contributions by players of their winning prize money, and the proceeds from a 50-50 raffle, which included some eye-catching items.

“Tony Robles donated his two Mosconi Cup jackets (2003/2004),” said Vetrono, “and 100% of that money is going to Tommy.”

On August 5, Roger Long added a note to the front end of ongoing comments on the GoFundMe Page, indicating that Kennedy, though not completely out of the proverbial ‘woods’ yet had been making some progress.

“Tommy is up to 100 lbs.,” he wrote. “That may not sound like much to get excited about, but it does represent a 23-lb gain since June 28, when he was admitted to the hospital. Tommy was near death that day.

“He is home now,” Long added, “and slowly making progress, while he awaits an EEG test scheduled for October. And it’s your love, prayers, and support that have made the difference. We look forward to the day when Tommy can personally thank each and every one of you.”

Vetrono wanted to thank a lot of people herself for the support she received in organizing the benefit weekend. She thanked Rocco-Rocky McElroy, owner of Capone’s Billiards, for “opening up his pool hall all weekend and helping make the event great.” She also thanked Tony Crosby for his help, as she was congratulating him for his runner-up finish.

“Thank you to my sweet ladies for helping all weekend,” she said of Stacey Allen, Liny Nesmer, Gia Fiore and Brittany Ann, “and a thank you to Louis Smith (for) running around helping all day selling 50/50 tickets and helping with the auction.”

She also thanked TSPN’s Allan Hendrickson and Tanya Maples-Stremler for allowing their Web site to receive online donations and Mike Demarco (and Raymond McNamara) at Ship the Cash for streaming the event throughout the weekend and Ed Peterson from Buy a Home with Ed for being the event’s “#1 sponsor” and for technical help with the stream.

Vetrono also gave a special shout out to the players who showed up to play.

“This could not have been possible without you all,” she said. “I am overwhelmed with how you all helped me make the weekend great in order to help a great friend.”

Vetrono and Capone’s will be teaming up again in a few weeks, when the room will be hosting its annual Labor Day Classic on the weekend of August 5-6. The proceedings will get underway on Saturday, Aug. 5, with a $200-added (with 40 entrants) Amateur 9-Ball event for competitors with Fargo rates of 640 and under. Participation in the Amateur event will be cut off at the first 64 paid players. It’ll play out on 7’ Diamond tables; race to 7 on the winners’ side, 5 on the loss side. True double elimination, alternate break.

On Sunday,a $400-added Open/Pro 10-Ball event will commence, limited to 16 players, who’ll play on the room’s 9’ Diamonds with winners’ side races to 8 and loss-side races to 7. True double elimination, Texas Express rules. For further information on the event, reach Vetrono at Capone’s or on her cell phone at 631-901-9898.

Rocket Rodney wins The Social Pool Network’s benefit tournament

They’ve been popping up on the landscape like weeds in a garden; pool competitions utilizing some variation of pool’s ‘ghost’ games in which individual players pit their skills against an imaginary opponent that wins every game that they lose. This past weekend (May 22-24), The Social Pool Network (TSPN) joined the party and hosted six top-notch pool players, competing against each other in a modified single-elimination tournament of what’s known as Rocket Runout, one of a series of games invented by “Rocket” Rodney Morris and a friend, Ed Glode.
“We created these games about 12 years ago and hammered out these rules,” said Morris, “right before (Ed) became mayor of Saratoga, Wyoming.”
According to Tanya Mapes-Stremler, TSPN’s Chief Operating Officer, it was Morris, in fact, in his role as TSPN’s Vice President of player relations, who “took the lead’ on the initiative that led to this weekend of tournaments.
“We all worked together,” she said, “and did this as one team, but it was Rodney who came up with this idea.”
And then, “Rocket” called five of his pool buddies – Johnny Archer, Tony Crosby, Tony Robles, Raj Hundal and Oscar Dominguez – and invited them to take part in a benefit tournament that would aid First Responders and Food Banks in the five states, represented by the six players; Georgia, Florida, New York (2), California and Hawaii. All six played on Friday, May 22. The four top scorers on Friday played on Saturday, and on Sunday, two of those four played in the finals of the event. Though Oscar Dominguez ended up scoring the two highest scores of all 12 matches, it was the “Rocket” himself, who downed Dominguez on Sunday to claim the first TSPN Cares benefit tournament title.
It should be noted that while the tournament did end on Sunday, and we’ve just provided you with the ultimate ‘spoiler’ alert, readers can still view the matches themselves on the TSPNCares page on Facebook. As of Monday night, donations were continuing to be accepted on the Web site, as well as entries for a number of raffles for pool-related, donated items. The matches themselves, streamed live and commentated by the team of Neight Mindham (from CueItUp podcasts) and Mike Demarco (with ShiptheCash stream) offer some entertaining play by the six professionals, playing a unique game.
Rocket Runout is one of a series of pool games, designated by Morris as the Saratoga series of games, which are a hybrid of 8-ball and 9-ball. In each of these Saratoga games, including the 9-ball variant played at the TSPN Cares benefit, the rack is divided up between the lowest stripes and the lowest solids and the 8-ball. In the TSPN Cares benefit that meant the balls numbered 1-4, 10-13 and the 8-ball were organized in a 9-ball rack. Played as a solo game, each player plays a rack in a race to a designated number; in the TSPN case, it was 20 racks. The game(s) could be played in a two-player matchup, as well. The object of the game is much the same as 8-ball; break the balls, select either stripes or solids, sink ‘your’ four balls (in rotation, low to high) and the 8-ball. Each pocketed ball is worth a single point and the 8-ball is worth 6, making the total points possible per rack, 10. There are ‘less point’ options available and rule specifics that would make this report longer than it really needs to be, like the ‘Salvage’ rule that states that if you’ve sunk a certain number of your designated solid or stripe balls and miss one, you may take ball-in-hand and try to run the other ones, which, if successful, will score you five points.
Thus, with the specific race-to-20 racks, 10-points-available per rack rule firmly in mind, we have a perspective on the scores that were recorded, beginning with Friday’s six matches. As noted earlier, Dominguez, who played last among the six, recorded the day’s highest (and event’s second highest) score point total of 152. Morris was second with 138 and Hundal checked in with 127. Though absolutely convinced that he wasn’t going to be advancing to day two of this event, The Scorpion (Archer) recorded 120 to make the cut.
“I don’t think I’ll be playing tomorrow,” he said, right after completing his 20 racks. “120 probably ain’t going to make it.”
But it did. As low men on the proverbial totem pole on Day One, the two Tonys (Crosby, 118 and Robles, 111) didn’t make the cut.
On Day Two, Dominguez showed up with his ‘A’ game again and recorded the event’s highest score of 166. For the second time, Morris came in second, this time with 122. Archer and Hundal, who chalked up 114 and 96, respectively, didn’t make it to Day Three.

In the finals of the event on Sunday, it was Morris who showed up with his ‘A’ game, chalking up the third-highest point total of the 12 (131) and defeating Dominguez’ effort by 12 points at 119.
In concept, the Saratoga series of pool games, especially the 9-ball variant, would appear to be easier than either of their hybrid forebearers; 8-ball or 9-ball. But like a lot of things, appearances can be deceiving.
“The (9-ball Saratoga) game seems easy, like all you have to do is run five balls,” said TSPN’s Mapes -Stremler, “but it’s very deceptive.”
“You not only have five balls, but you have to shoot them in rotation,” she added, “so with calling shots and the other balls in the way, this is a challenging game.”
“It improves everything about your game,” said Morris. “There’s a lot of strategy and a lot of thinking going on.
“In games, like 8-ball and 9-ball,” he added, “normally, it’s like connecting the dots. People like the creativity that comes into play with this game.”
As with its streaming ‘ghost’ game predecessors – The Ashton Twins, Roy’s Basement, and the WPBA (among others) – TSPN will likely be doing this again.
This one, it should be noted, is still happening, with the videos available on the TSPN Cares Facebook page and donations and raffle purchases still being accepted at The raffle and donations are being extended for an indeterminate amount of time, based on site traffic. According to preliminary reports on the ‘views’ associated with the stream, around 12K people watched over the three days of the event. Sunday’s finals recorded views of 6.2K.
Donated money, by the way, will be divided up among all six players and donated to their respective states in the following way:
1st Rodney 28% for Hawaii
2nd Oscar 22% for CA
3rd 20% for Johnny, GA
4th 15% for Raj Hundal, NY
5th 10% for Tony Crosby, FL
6th 5% for Tony Robles, NY

Finals of TSPN Cares Rocket Runout to feature Rodney Morris and Oscar Dominguez

Rodney Morris (File photo courtesy of JP Parmentier)

Though we’ll wait to tell the whole story until it’s over sometime tomorrow (Sunday), we wanted to let everyone know that starting at 6 p.m., EST, tomorrow (again, Sunday), Rocket Rodney Morris and Oscar Dominguez will be squaring off to compete in a match of Rocket Runout to determine the winner of The Social Pool Network Cares Rocket Runout to benefit First Responders and Food Banks in the five states that are being represented by the six pool players that have participated; New York (2, Tony Robles and Raj Hundal), Florida (Tony Crosby), Georgia (Johnny Archer), Rodney Morris (Hawaii) and Oscar Dominguez (CA).
You can watch the stream on TSPN’s event-specific Facebook page (tspncares) and make donations to the cause at, where a heart icon will provide you with the opportunity to do so. You can, when you donate, make it a general donation or opt to benefit a state of your choice. At this site, you will also be able to participate in a number of raffles, offering seven different items and multiple donation levels, including a signed painting of Rodney Morris and Johnny Archer together, training balls, cue shafts, a 50% discount certificate for a J. Pechauer Cue, and a Break-Rak with Radar.
The Rocket Runout format entails each player breaking a 9-ball rack, containing four stripes, four solids and the 8-ball. After the break, with ball in hand, the player has to run out either stripes or solids in order, from lowest to highest and then, drop the 8-ball. The player receives 1 point per solid or stripe that they sink and 6 points for the 8-ball; thus, 10 points overall per rack. Each player will play 20 racks.
The event began on Friday with the six players and was followed by the highest-scoring four from that first day, competing today (Saturday). Rodney Morris and Oscar Dominguez were the highest-scoring competitors of the day and will play in the event finals tomorrow.

Mills and Meglino split top prizes in Open division of Sunshine State Pro Am

(l to r): Justin Hall, Anthony Meglino & Donny Mills

Rose comes from the loss side to down Adams and capture Amateur title
It’s impossible to know how many times Donny Mills and Anthony Meglino have faced each other on Florida-based and other regional tours, but having spent over a decade as part of a ‘Florida Gang’ of top-tier competitors (along with, among many others, Tommy Kennedy, Mike Delawder and Tony Crosby), we can safely call it ‘a lot.’ This past June, they met in the semifinals of a stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour (Meglino 5-3 over Mills). On the weekend of Oct. 6-7, they would have met twice during Stop #11 on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, had they not opted out of a final match. Mills, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, claimed the $1,000-added 10-Ball Open event title, which drew 40 entrants to Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.
In a concurrently-run, $300-added, 9-Ball Amateur event, Nathan Rose won five on the loss side to eventually meet and defeat hot seat occupant James Adams to claim that title. The Amateur event drew 45 entrants to the same location.
Following an opening round bye in the Open event, Donny Mills downed Anthony Fisher, Robert Batson (both 7-2), and Tommy Kennedy 7-4 to draw Justin Hall in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Meglino, with an opening round bye as well, got by Ed Peterson 7-3, Bill Stroup 7-1 and Marcus Murillo 7-2 to face Nathan Rose (winner of the Amateur event) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Mills defeated Hall 7-5, as Meglino was busy downing Rose 7-4. Mills claimed the hot seat, and, as it turned out, the event title with a 7-4 win over Meglino.
On the loss side, Rose picked up Kennedy, who, following his defeat by Mills, downed Trenton White (the event’s top junior player in both events) 6-4, and shut out Stroup. Hall drew Justin Gilsinan, who’d shut out Joe Vetrono and eliminated Joselito Martinez 5-2. Kennedy and Rose locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Kennedy to the quarterfinals against Hall, who’d defeated Gilsinan 5-2.
Hall ended Kennedy’s modest, three-match, loss-side winning streak 5-2 in those quarterfinals, and then fell to Meglino 5-3 in the semifinals. Meglino and Mills opted out of the final and the event title went to Mills.
Rose wins five on the loss side to meet and defeat Adams
Nathan Rose, who was the official winner of Stop #8 on the tour back in July (he split with Jason Sheerman), got sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal match of the Amateur event and won five on the loss side before meeting and defeating hot seat occupant James Adams in the finals. Rose had downed Derek Laprairie, Trenton White (top junior in this event, as well), and Justin Gilsinan before running into Ameet Kukadia in a winners’ side quarterfinal.
Kukadia sent Rose to the loss side, double hill, and advanced to face Alec Saputo in one of the winners’ side semifinals. James Adams, in the meantime, following victories over Lisa Perez, Rhyan Hunter, and Dale Stanley met up with Justin McNulty in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Saputo chalked up a double hill win over Kukadia and in the hot seat match, faced Adams, who’d shut out McNulty. Adams claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Saputo and waited on the return of Rose.
Rose opened his loss-side trip to the finals with a 6-3 win over Hunter and eliminated Trenton White 6-4 to draw McNulty. Kukadia picked up Stanley, who’d defeated Gilsinan and Jai Smith, both 6-2. By identical scores of 6-3, Stanley (over Kukadia) and Rose (over McNulty) advanced to the quarterfinals, where Rose prevailed, double hill, over Stanley.
Rose downed Saputo 6-4 in the semifinals, and then defeated Adams 9-5 in the finals to claim the Amateur event title.
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked the ownership and staff at Capone’s, as well as sponsors Cyclop Balls, Diamond, Kamui Tips, Play the Game Clothing Co., Jacksonville Roofing USA, Inc., and AZ Billiards. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour (due to cancellation of a stop in November) will be the tour’s Season Finale, scheduled for December 1-2 at Park Ave. Billiards in Orange Park, FL. 

TK downs Meglino twice to take J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour stop at Capone’s

Rocky McElroy, Tommy Kennedy and Anthony Meglino

At the last stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, back in June, Anthony Meglino claimed the title as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, though neither a final nor a semifinal match was played. Tour director Tommy Kennedy had to settle for 9th place in that event, when a loss-side forfeiture left him out of the running (had the player who forfeited done so a round earlier, Kennedy would have advanced and potentially altered what happened afterwards). On the weekend of July 29-30, once again on the J. Pechauer tour, Kennedy and Meglino battled twice; in the hot seat and finals, with Kennedy winning them both to complete an undefeated run and claim the title. The $800-added event drew 38 entrants to Capone's in Spring Hill, FL.
Their first meeting, in the battle for the hot seat, occurred after Kennedy had survived a double hill struggle against Jason Richko in one of the winners' side semifinals. Kennedy was on the hill in the match and saw Richko chalk up two to force a deciding game. Meglino, in the meantime, had sent Stephen Richmond to the loss side 9-6. In something of a reversal of fortunes in the hot seat match, Meglino reached the hill first, with Kennedy two games behind. Kennedy chalked up two to force a deciding game and then won that to sit in the hot seat.
On the loss side, Richko picked up another perennial Sunshine State veteran, Tony Crosby, who'd gotten by Joe Scarborough 7-3, and Chris Gentile 7-4 to reach him. Richmond drew yet another Florida veteran in Mike Delawder, who'd defeated Ed Peterson 7-4 and Bobby Garza 7-2.
Crosby and Delawder advanced to the quarterfinals; Crosby in a double hill win over Richko, and Delawder 7-2 over Garza. Crosby downed Delawder in the quarterfinal 9-5, only to be shut down 9-6 by Meglino in the semifinal match.
In the finals, Kennedy and Meglino played the same number of games that they'd played in the hot seat match, only this time, the race was to 11. Instead of winning just 53% of the games, as he had in the hot seat match, Kennedy chalked up 65% of them, resulting in an 11-6 win that allowed him to claim the event title.
As tour director, Kennedy thanked the ownership and staff at Capone's, as well as sponsors J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Simonis Cloth, Mueller Recreational Products, and Chris and Israel Hightower of Cue Man Billiard Products. The next stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Saturday, August 12, will be a $1,000-added event hosted by Uncle Waldo's in Daytona Beach, FL.

McKenny comes back from semifinals to down Buckley and claim Florida State 10-Ball title

Tony Crosby, Daniel McKinney, Benji Buckey and room owner Mike Zingale

With competitors like Mosconi Cup team member Sky Woodward, former US Open Champion Tommy Kennedy, Robb Saez and Shane McMinn (among others) on the entrant list, one might have been forgiven for expecting a series of marquee matchups in the final hours of the Florida State 10-Ball Open, held on the weekend of January 7-8. Instead, in what must surely have been a surprise to Calcutta participants, you had Daniel McKenny and Benji Buckley battling twice – hot seat and finals – with Buckley, who was the 2016 champion, taking the first and McKenny claiming the title by winning the last. The $4,000-added event drew 77 entrants to Zingale's Billiards and Sports Bar in Tallahassee, FL.
With the aforementioned marquee players at work on the loss side (none of whom would make it out of the 7/8 slots), McKenny and Buckley advanced to the winners' side semifinals; McKenny taking on Butch Croft, Buckley meeting Stoney Stone. McKenny moved into the hot seat match with a 7-1 victory over Croft, while Buckley downed Stone 7-4. For the second year in a row, Buckley claimed the hot seat, this time 7-2 and waited for McKenny to get back from the semifinals.
On the loss side, the 'marquee four' found themselves battling in the second (9/12) money round. Saez eliminated Woodward 7-5, McMinn took care of Clint Nichols 7-1, and Denny Singletary finished Tommy Kennedy's weekend 7-5. Manny Perez knocked tour director Tony Crosby out of the running 7-4. McMinn and Saez were eliminated next; McMinn by Singletary, double hill, and Saez by Perez 7-3.
Singletary drew Stone, coming off his defeat in the winners' side semifinal, and Perez picked up Croft, coming off his. Singletary and Croft got right back into the swing of things and advanced to the quarterfinals; Singletary 7-3 over Stone, Croft surviving a double hill fight against Perez.
The quarterfinals were, at minimum, a $300 contest (the payout difference between 3rd and 4th place) and went double hill. Croft denied Stone a second shot against Buckley with the double hill win that gave him a shot. The semifinals were a $500 minimum battle (the difference between 2nd and 3rd place) and it almost went double hill. At the end, though, McKenny edged ahead by two 7-5 to get his second shot (an absolute $1,000 contest) against the reigning event champion, Buckley.
McKenny pulled it off. For the second match in a row, he was able to get ahead by two at the end to win it (9-7) and snatch the Florida State 10-Ball title away from Buckley.
A $1,000-added Second Chance event, which drew 50 entrants, saw Jamie Baraks go undefeated to claim the title. Baraks and Matt Bulfin, after shutting out their opponents (Jessie Middlebrooks and George Saunders, respectively) in the two winners' side semifinals, squared off in the hot seat match, won by Baraks 4-1. Bulfin downed Rod Rentz, double hill, in the semifinals, before Baraks defeated him a second time 5-3 in the finals. 
Tour director Tony Crosby thanked Mike Zingale and his staff for their hospitality and contribution to the prize money.  Crosby also noted that anyone interested in sponsoring the Florida Pool Tour should visit the tour Web site ( for contact information.