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Mike “Bads” wins Iwan Simonis Ride The 9 Tour entry in the ‘ghost’ tournament phenomenon

Mike Badsteubner (Erwin Dionisio)

Mike Badstuebner won the four matches he needed to win to emerge as the Iwan Simonis Ride the 9 Tour’s fourth champion in the first ‘virtual’ 9-ball ghost challenge that the opted to call The Hunger Games. Alex Bausch was the event’s runner-up.

A total of 21 players played in qualifiers, which began on June 7, to get down to a final 16-players. Larry Steele and Francisco Cifuentes III finished (June 13) as the top two players to advance to the 16-player, single elimination field that eventually crowned Badstuebner. Badstuebner and Bausch both qualified with 110 points.

The qualifying rounds (for entrants with Fargo ratings of 710 or below) featured four sets of five games for each player. The lowest score of the four sets was dropped and a qualification score was derived from the sum of the other three sets. Each pocketed ball in a given rack was worth a single point and the 9-ball was worth two points; points could be deducted for a variety of ‘foul’ reasons. Steele entered the final stage having chalked up 128 points (a little less than 43 points for each of his best three-of-four sets). Cifuentes qualified with a score of 121 (40 +/ points).

The final 16-entrant event, which began on June 14 and finished on Monday, June 22, featured single races to increasing numbers (5, 8, 11 & 13). Steele, in the opening round’s race to 5, fell to Euryel Castillo 25-22 (one of three matches in the opening eight with a score differential of three or less points). Castillo advanced to face Vinny Crescimanno in one of the quarterfinal matches. Badstuebner, in the meantime, fell three balls short of reaching the five-rack potential of 50 points in the opening round by defeating Kevin Burris 47-20. He advanced to face Casey Olivieri in another of the event’s quarterfinal matches.

Second-highest qualifier Francisco Cifuentes III defeated Steve Sutton 43-24 in the opening round, which set him up against Douglas Arcadi in a third quarterfinal. Eventual runner-up Alex Bausch got by Bob Dargis 47-40 in the opening round, which put him against Frank Porto in the remaining quarterfinal.

“Bads” and Castillo advanced to the semifinals; “Bads,” with an 53-0 victory over Olivieri and Castillo downing Crescimanno 53-40 in their races to 8. Bausch and Cifuentes III became the other semifinal ‘team,’ as “Bads” eliminated Castillo 83-56 and Bausch disposed of Cifuentes 96-70.

“Bads” and Bausch finished this event on Gloria Jean’s Iwan Simonis Ride the 9 Tour with a nail biting race to 13. “Bads” claimed the event title and its $600 first prize with a single-point victory over Bausch 104-103.

Tour director Gloria Jean thanked all of the players who participated in this event, as well as feature commentators Melissa Little, Mike Badstuebner, Upstate Al, Mary Avina and Ivan Lee, President & CEO of Iwan Simonis. She thanked all of her sponsors to include title sponsor Simonis Billiard Cloth. Jean is planning more virtual events and is running a “virtual break and run pot.” Further information is available on the Iwan Simonis Ride the 9 Tour page on Facebook.