“Fireball” Strikes New York

“Fireball” Strikes New York

Last Updated on Friday, September 10, 2010 12:52 pm
Written by Gerry Mayen
Friday, September 10, 2010 10:28 am

The Seminole Pro Tour, in conjunction with the Predator Tour, rolled into West Hempstead, New York for the 7th tour stop at Raxx Pool Room. There was a full field of 64 exceptional players.  It was one of the strongest fields to date on the tour with several players from the greater New York region and the entire Northeast.  The Pro Tour would not be complete without the die-hard players on hand to keep it interesting. The accumulation of points from each event moves the players one step closer to the 2010 Seminole Pro Tour Player of the Year title, which is still up of grabs.

Stevie Moore is just five points behind Corey Deuel for the leader spot of the 2010 Player of the Year standings.  Moore had a rough start to the weekend by suffering a first round loss to eventual third place finisher Josh Brothers 7-2.  He would make his way through the one-loss side of the bracket with wins against Paul Ravel 7-1, Mike Vednak 7-5, Barry Banks 7-6 and Shaun Wilkie 7-6.  These string of victories put Moore in the money at the end of day one.  Day two would not be too kind for Moore.  His first match was against Tony Robles.  Robles would end the weekend for Moore by defeating him 8-3.  Moore finished in 13/16th place and gained 50 points in the Player of the Year standings, but he would need much more than that to try to maintain first place.  With his 50 points, Moore would only temporarily be in the lead by 45 points, but with other players still remaining in the tournament and earning points as they progressed through the brackets, Moore’s lead was in jeopardy.

One excellent match in the first round was last year’s Empire State defending champion, Dennis Hatch, facing the same player whom he beat for the title, Manny Chau.  The balls did not seem to roll in the favor of Chau at all.  He struggled with some straight shots and seemed to not have his usual fine touch.  Hatch would go on to have a shutout win 7-0.  Chau would then face his next opponent Joe Panzerella.  Chau was still not able to find his groove and lost again, but this time to a score of 7-6.  Just like that – last year’s runner-up was out of the tournament with two straight devastating losses.

The big story of this tour stop featured world champion Mike Sigel.  Sigel made a spectacular debut on the 2010 Seminole Pro Tour by doing something few players have been able to pull off on any other pro tour ever.  Sigel began the day by beating Ray Romanski 7-0.  Sigel would then square up against Mike Wong and would defeat him 7-0.  Sigel’s next opponent would be Shawn Wilkie.  Wilkie finished in the money at the Seminole Pro Tour Gem City Open in Marietta, Georgia earlier this year in a field that has been arguably the toughest on tour this year.  Sigel would cruise past Wilkie 7-0 to finish a perfect run on day one.

Mike Davis had an impressive run at Diamond Billiards, running 18 racks in a row, but it was Sigel who was able to complete a perfect first day.  Sigel would start day two against Minnesota’s Dustin Morris, who finished the Diamond Billiard’s tour stop in 7/8th place and has been shooting extremely well as of late on tour.  Morris would fall victim to the ‘Sigel streak’ with a loss of 8-0. Sigel, so far, had won 29 straight racks. Next, Sigel faced Mike “The Fireball” Dechaine.  Siegel won the first rack, running the streak to 30 straight.  Dechaine, taking the ‘Sigel streak’ as a personal challenge, would end the streak by winning the next rack.  Dechaine would continue to shoot extremely well and not only end the streak at 30, but also end Mike Segil’s run on the winner’s side of the bracket.  Dechaine would win by a score of 8-6.  Sigel would go on to face “Iron” Mike Davis on the one loss side.  Davis was on a roll and would beat Sigel 8-5 ending a spectacular tournament for “Captain Hook” Mike Sigel.

Corey Deuel, current leader in the Player of the Year standings, came into this tournament playing the best he has all season.  Winning the last tour stop at Diamond Billiards in Cape Coral, FL ranked Deuel atop the standings for the time being.  With Stevie Moore right at his heals, only five points behind, Deuel would have to have a great finish in this tournament to create some space in the standing.  Creating space is exactly what Deuel would do over the weekend.  Deuel would finish day one on the winner’s side of the bracket after dominating wins over pro tour regular Bill Dunsmore 7-1, Rafael Dabro 7-4 and Mike Miller 7-3.  Deuel would catch a very fortunate break at the beginning of day two.

Deuel was scheduled to play Earl Herring, who was shooting very strong on day one, but Herring did not show up to play on day two due to prior work obligations.  This placed Deuel one match away from the hot seat match.  To get there Deuel would have to face a tough Jeremy Sossei.  Deuel would narrowly get by Sossei 8-6 and advance to play Mike Dechaine in the hot seat match.

Mike Dechaine was no doubt playing the best he has all season on the Pro Tour.  After his huge victory over Mike Segil, Dechaine seemed to be on a roll and could not be stopped.  With the all the spectators buzzing over Dechaine ending the streak by Mike Sigel, Dechaine took this opportunity to make a bigger statement.  He began the match against Deuel on fire, taking an early 4-1 lead.  Dechaine miscued while hitting the 5 ball, sending the cue right into the commentators booth.  Dechaine seemed as surprised for the miscue as were the several spectators that lined the rail at Raxx Pool Room.  Known for his fiery attitude, this could have been a turning point in the match that would allow Deuel to post a comeback.  Deuel did win the next two racks to bring the score to 4-3, but Dechaine kept his composure and finished off Deuel 8-4 to become the king of the hill.

Deuel would visit the one loss side to play Josh Brothers for a chance to play Dechaine for the championship.  Brothers – who had also been sent to the one loss side by Dechaine (8-6) – was out for revenge if he got the chance to see Dechaine in the finals.  Deuel would be the one who would get his opportunity at revenge as he would defeat Brothers 8-5.

The championship match between Mike Dechaine and Corey Deuel would go very similar to their first match – up.  Dechaine jumped out to an early lead, placing Deuel in a tight spot to attempt a comeback.  Dechaine would miss a few easy shots that would get him a bit rattled, but through it all Dechaine kept focused and come away as the new Seminole Pro Tour/ Empire State Championship/ Predator Tour Stop 2010 Champion.  Congratulations to Mike Dechaine for his superb display at the tournament and for winning the $4,000 first prize.  This puts seven tour stops in the books for the year with seven different winners.  The one bright spot for Deuel was that with his second place finish, he earned 125 Player of the Year points and would be the leader after the weekend, enjoying a very comfortable 80-point lead over Stevie Moore.

We would like to thank Holden Chin, owner of Raxx Pool Room, and the entire staff for being wonderful hosts for this event.  We would also like to thank Tony Robles and the Predator Tour for their partnership in bringing this event together.  Please join us for our next Seminole Pro Tour stop, the final of the season before the Steve Mizerak Championship, at Strokers Billiards in Palm Harbor Florida on October 9-10.
Final Payouts:

1st  Mike Dechaine  $4000
2nd  Corey Deuel  $3000
3rd  Josh Brothers  $2000
4th  Mike Davis  $1500
5/6th   Mike Sigel  $1000
5/6th  Jeremy Sossei  $1000
7/8th  Tony Robles  $600
7/8th  Georger Sasoucie $600
9/12th  Dustin Morris  $410
9/12th  Scott Freeman  $410
9/12th  Earl Herring   $410
9/12th  Dennis Hatch  $410
13/16th  Stevie Moore  $305
13/16th  Matt Krah  $305
13/16th Joey Korsiak  $305
13/16th Mustafa Diliitas $305

Not Your Run of the “Mills” Tour Stop

By: Gerry Mayen

The 2010 Seminole Pro Tour returned to a familiar location this past weekend, Capone’s Billiards, in Spring Hill, FL.  The field of 49 players was as strong a field as the previous tour stops this season.  Several local players participated for the first time on this year’s tour and of course there were the usual Pro Tour veterans that made their appearances in the bracket.

Several hill-hill matches highlighted the tournament and kept all the spectators on the edge of their seats throughout the weekend.  Newcomers took over the east side of the bracket for most of the tournament, but the skilled veterans, with their backs against the wall and no room for error on the left side of the bracket, showed their prowess and ended up in the money.

The highlight of the first round of matches had to have been Rodney “The Rocket” Morris, winner of the last tour stop in Hollywood, CA and former house pro at Capone’s, against Donnie “Big Ern” Mills.  Morris jumped to an early lead, but Mills quickly surpassed the deficit to defeat “The Rocket” 7-5.  Morris then faced another tough opponent, Pro Tour regular James Roberts, in his next match.  Roberts, who had previously lost 6-2 to Corey Deuel, would not fair any better versus Morris, as Morris would advance with a score of 7-3.  Morris would continue with victories over Jerry Troy (7-4), Ricky Sanchez (7-1), and Charlie Williams (8-7) and finally met his match and lost (8-2) against young Justin Hall, who was riding a hot streak of his own.  Morris finished in 9-12th place and took home the $425 prize.

Tommy Kennedy, Charlie Williams, Corey Deuel, Tony Crosby, and Neil Fujiwara all saw their names moved to the left side of the bracket during the first day of the tournament.  Kennedy and Fujiwara were unable to recover from early defeats and had early exits from the tournament.   Williams, Deuel, and Crosby faired a little better by making it to the money but all three finished in 13-16th place along with Raymond Linares.

Deuel began the tournament very strong with some amazing shots that had all spectators in awe of his skilled shooting.  Deuel defeated Johnny Causey (7-1) and James Roberts (7-2), but then faced Robb Saez, who sent Deuel west by beating him 7-3.  On the one-loss side, Deuel faced a formidable foe in Pierre Palmari and squeaked by 7-5.  Deuel would then square off against Anthony Meglino.  South Florida native Meglino would end Deuel’s weekend play with an 8-5 defeat.  Deuel finished in 13-16th place and collected the $325 prize money.  Meglino would continue to face Stevie Moore in his next match and lose in a thrilling hill-hill match to finish in 9-12th place.

The king of the hill match had two players who were making their 2010 debut in the Seminole Pro Tour Donnie Mills facing Robb Saez.  Saez had made it to this point with victories against Bob McCulley (7-0), Tommy Kennedy (7-6), Corey Deuel (7-3), “Iron” Mike Davis (8-5) and Shaun Putnam (8-2).  Mills road to the hot seat match consisted of matches against Rodney Morris (7-5), David Ross (7-0), Julio Aquino (7-5), Stevie Moore (7-2) and Johnny Archer (7-6).  Saez would jump to an early lead in the match against Mills, but Mills ran several racks in a row and took the victory 8-3.

Saez would move to the one-loss side to face Johnny Archer in the semifinals match.  The match would see each player make short runs, but it was Archer who would get the better of Saez and move on to the championship match, and send Robb Saez to a third place finish and a $1,500 prize.

The championship match was an instant classic.  Mills had displayed some powerful breaks all weekend, while Archer had played his typical methodical style game to help him advance to this point.  With the match tied at 2 games apiece, Archer missed a straight shot on the 9 ball that would have left an easy shot on the 10 and send him up 3-2, instead it was Mills who took the early 3-2 lead.  The two players would exchange racks and each had spectacular shots to their credit.  Mills finally made a move with the score tied at 6.  Archer shot a safety shot on the 6 ball, leaving a near impossible shot for Mills.  Mills would bank in the 6 across the table and had the crowed in an uproar.  He would go on the run the rack and go up 7-6.  Archer would tie it back up at 7 and at one point turned to the crowd and asked who was cheering for him and requested their cheers.

The crowd’s cheers would not be enough for Johnny Archers, as Donnie Mills would finally get the win with a count of 9-8.  Mills secured the first place trophy and the $3,000 first place purse.  Archer would settle for second place and the $2,500 prize.

We thank Rocky McElroy, owner of Capone’s Billiards and the entire Capone’s staff for hosting this wonderful event.  The Seminole Pro Tour will next be at the Marietta Billiards Club in Atlanta, GA on July 9-11 and have a guaranteed prize pot of $20,000.  The entire tournament will be streamed live at www.seminoleprotour.com.