Turning Stone Taken by Mike Dechaine

Mike Dechaine


The Turning Stone Classic always delivers a few big upsets over the first two days play. So it was no surprise (or maybe it was) to see Johnny Archer dispatched to the losers side of the bracket in his first match on Thursday. The match against Blaine Barcus began in Archers' favor with a 6-1 lead. About 45 minutes later the center isle jammed with spectators as Barcus rose from the dead to make his challenge. 

The match had then a score line of 8-8 with Barcus (a relatively unknown player from the Houston area in Texas) at the table with only the last three balls left on the table. His nerves were twitching as he came up a little short on the 9 ball, leaving a much tighter cut into the bottom corner pocket. After a little deliberation he sunk the 9 ball to the delight of the huge crowd.

Late on Friday in the 8:00 pm matches we saw two more major upsets as last year's winner Shane Van Boening got trounced by Ron Casanzio 9-5. The other upset was Mika Immonen being handed his transfer papers to the losers side by Hunter Lombardo 9-6. No one works harder at his game than Lombardo, so this is a result that is due after much practice  and dedication.

It is unique that this 128-player field always delivers significant upsets, with regional “A” players hitting their best game just at the right time, and knocking many of the favorites into the losers side of the draw or out of the tournament altogether. However, as usually is the case these killers have usually packed their bags and are on their way home come late on Saturday! But at least they will have their memories of the kill that they will be telling for the next ten years.

In Saturdays 8:00 pm round of four winners and four losers matches, we saw  in the winners side matches Raj Hundal dispatch Tommy D’alfonso 9-6 into the one lose side. Mario Morra, who was surprising opponents with his stellar play, took down Donny Mills 9-5. Mike Dechaine was still in his winning mode as he beat Rodney Morris in a close match on the hill, with Rodney hanging up the 8 ball in the final game to allow Mike to get the surprise win. In the last winners side match we saw Shawn Putnam beat up on Corey Deuel in a one sided match at 9-4 to Putnam.

It would be “All she wrote” for the losers in the four losers side matches as we saw Johnny (never count me out) Archer demolish Oscar Dominguez 9-1 ending the young guns run. One of the newest and brightest prospects in professional pool today, Brandon Shuff, took down Stevie Moore 9-3 in a lop sided affair. The very much improved Hunter Lombardo dispatched the last “outsider” inthe event, Mr. Ron Casanzio from upstate New York, who had gained the eyes of the fans when he upset Archer on Thursday. Finally we saw Jeremy Sossei (second in 2009 to Johnny Archer) dispose of Matt Krah in a close match at 9-7.

The last four matches at 10:0 pm on Saturday were all losers side matches. We saw Brandon Shuff end the run of Tommy D’alfonso 9-5. Rodney Morris put paid to Johnny Archers chances of another win from the losers side when he dealt him a 9-5 score line. Donny Mills bounced back well after his loss to Mario Morra in his previous round, as he got by Hunter Lombardo 9-7. In the last of the four matches we saw Jeremy Sossei take down Corey Deuel with an impressive score of 9-4.

Sundays 11:0 am matches would be two winners and two losers matches. The first of the two winners matches was Raj Hundal against Mike Dechaine, in a match that started off close to a tied score of 4-4. But Mike soon ran away with the match allowing Raj to only put one more bead on the wire at 9-5. At this point in the proceedings all the pundits in the crowd were touting Dechaine to take down the event. The next winners match was between Shawn Putnam and Mario Morra. Mario was still commanding the table as he hung in there to 7-7 before Shawn took the last two games, closing it out at 9-7.

In the first of the losers matches we saw an in-form Donny Mills helping his bank balance as he beat Jeremy Sossei 9-4 to end Jeremy’s run in the event. In the other losers match we saw Brandon Shuff continue his winning ways as he got by Rodney Morris in a close match with 9-8

In the 1:00 pm matches we had two losers matches to see who would be in the losers final at 3:00 pm. Brandon Shuff was playing lights out and absolutely annihilated Mario Morra, as 9-2.  Next up we had Donny Mills who made a strong statement as he got past Raj Hundal 9-6. It was good to see the “Hitman” making the trip over the pond for this event, but he would have to settle for 5/6th place this year, having come second to Shane Van Boening  last year.

The excitement was growing now as we were getting closer to the nitty gritty with the two 3:00 pm matches deciding who would be in the hot seat, and which one of the losers would get to play the loser from the hot seat match. The hot seat match comprised of Mike Dechaine against Shawn Putnam, and did not follow the betting line as Shawn only allowed Mike to put two beads on the wire at 9-2. Wow, had Mike finally imploded we were thinking, or can he regroup.

The losers match was between Brandon Shuff and Donny Mills, the winner getting the chance to play Mike Dechaine for a chance to get into the final. Shuff immediately stamped his authority on the match and steamed ahead to 9-3 to earn the chance to win one more match to get to play Mr. Putnam.

The 5:00 pm match between Mike Dechaine and Brandon Shuff was (at one point) close at 4-4, but then Dechaine turned on some scintillating play that allowed Shuff to win just two more games, resulting in a final score of 9-6.

In the 7:00 pm race to 13 final we were to witness what would be a display of great shot making from 25 year old Mike Dechaine that will be remembered by the spectators and the live stream viewers for some time to come.  This young man (who is known for his aggressive play) just tightened the tourniquet around Putnam’s neck and he won rack after rack until the scoring ended at 13-4 in his favor.

In winning this event Dechaine has also jumped from 3rd place to 2nd place in the points race to get on the Mosconi Cup USA team. With only the US Open available for further points Dechaine looks as though he will be booking a ticket to London in December.

Once again this fantastic, smoothly run event has come and gone, and it has established itself as one of the top events in the country.

Thanks must go out to Mike Zuglan and his trusty crew, and the Turning Stone Casino and Hotel staff that made this event run so smoothly. Thanks must also go out to  AZ Billiards and Accu-Stats Video Productions for making their FREE LIVE STREAM facility available to the public.

Congratulations also to Mike Dechaine for a great performance that garnered him this years Turning Stone Classic XIX 9-ball Title.