The Hatchetman warms up for the Mosconi Cup with seventh win on Joss Northeast Tour

Dennis Hatch

Ten days after it was announced that he would be joining Team USA in the Mosconi Cup tournament scheduled for December 10-13 in Las Vegas, Dennis Hatch warmed up for the competition by winning the 21st Ocean State 9-Ball Championship on the weekend of November 21-22.  While his appearance as a member of Team USA will be the first of his career, his victory at the $5,000-added, Ocean State Championship, which drew 108 entrants to Snooker's Café and Billiards in Providence, RI, was his seventh victory this year on the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour and his second straight Ocean State Championship victory. Hatch defeated George ‘Ginky' Sansouci in the finals to take last year's title.  

Hatch had to come from the one-loss side to put this one away.  After victories over Charlie Matarrazo, Tony Frisina, Jorge Rodriguez, Chris Leal and Danny Heidrich, Hatch was among the winners' side final four, where he faced Dave Grau, another frequent competitor on the tour, who was seeking his first Joss Northeast victory. The two had last locked horns in a Joss Northeast final in March when Grau, who'd come from the one-loss side, handed Hatch his first set defeat in five tour stops in the opening set of the finals. Hatch came back to win the second set and chalk up his sixth straight tour victory, stretching back to October of ‘08. They'd met a week earlier in Albany, among the winners' side final four, but it was Grau moving to the one-loss side and eventually finishing fourth.  

In this year's Ocean State battle, Grau sent Hatch west with a 9-6 victory, as Nelson Oliveira was busy doing likewise to Shane Winters 9-4. Grau sent Winters over with a commanding 9-1 victory to gain the hot seat and wait for Hatch to come back.

Hatch's first challenge on the one-loss side was Tom McGonagle, who'd eliminated Bucky Souvanthong 9-4 and Kevin Guimond in a hill-hill struggle. Winters picked up Ray McNamara, who, after being sent west by Grau 9-6 from among the winners' side final eight, defeated Justin Muller and Danny Heidrich 9-3. Winters and Hatch advanced to the quarterfinals; Winters dropping McNamara 9-6, Hatch disposing of McGonagle 9-7.  Over the course of the next 30 games in three matches, Hatch gave up only three racks. He gave up two of them versus Winters in the quarterfinals, and none whatsoever in the semifinals against Oliveira.

In the opening set of the true double elimination finals, Hatch gave up a single rack to Grau and forced a second set. Grau battled in the second set, but Hatch finished it ahead by four.