Lukas Fracasso-Verner’s victory at the 34th Annual Ocean State 9-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour at Snooker’s in Providence, RI this past weekend (Nov. 12-13), put him over the top, making 2022 his best earnings year since his recorded earnings began seven years ago. Though he didn’t have to face the event’s defending champion and winner of the previous stop (#8) on the Joss Tour, Bucky Souvanthong, he did have to contend with Spain’s Jonas Souto, who was defeated by Souvanthong in a winners’ side quarterfinal and came back to challenge Fracasso-Verner in the finals. Souto was looking for his first reported (to us) win, anywhere, even though entering the tournament, he’d already earned (primarily in Europe) over three times the amount that Fracasso-Verner has earned in 2022. The $5,000-added event ($500 to a Second Chance Tournament) drew a full field of 128 entrants to Snooker’s.
Fracasso-Verner’s seven-match trip to the winners’ circle got him by Ashley Benoit, Derek Cunningham, Ray McNamara (double hill), Barry Hetherington and Mhet Vergara, before coming up against Bob Forchilli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Jared Demalia, in the meantime, defeated Mike Zhu, Mike Crema, Chad Bazinet, Moritz Neuhausen and Matt Jarrell to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal versus defending champ, Souvanthong, who had just sent the eventual runner-up, Souto, to the loss side 7-4.
Fracasso-Verner gave up just one rack to Forchilli in advancing to the hot seat match. Demalia gave up four to Souvanthong and joined him. In the first of two straight double hill matches that he faced to claim the title, Fracasso-Verner first claimed the hot seat over Demalia.
On the loss side, Souvanthong ran into Germany’s Neuhausen, who, earlier in the month, had finished 9th in both the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships and the following week’s International Open, before packing his bags and heading north to New England. Neuhausen had followed his loss to Demalia with victories over four opponents by an aggregate score of 20-4; Beau Powers (5-2), Frank Hernandez (1), Mhet Vergara (1) and Suad Kantarevic (1).
Jonas Souto had followed his loss to Souvanthong with victories over Jaydev Zaveri (1) and Tom Zippler (2) to pick up Forchilli. He downed Forchilli 5-1 to draw Neuhausen, who’d battled Souvanthong to double hill before spoiling the potential Souto/Souvanthong rematch. .
There was a bit of an exclamation point to the two matches that eventually put Souto into the finals against Fracasso-Verner. He arrived at the final match having not given up a single rack to either of his previous two opponents, shutting out Neuhausen in the quarterfinals and Jared Demalia in the semifinals.
He battled to double hill in the finals but Fracasso-Verner dropped the last 9-ball and claimed the event title, his second of the Joss NE Tour’s 2022 season.
Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked Regina and Steve Goulding, along with their Snooker’s staff for their hospitality, ongoing support of the tour and the live stream that was provided for this event. He also noted the continuing support of title sponsor Joss Cues, Turning Stone Resort Casino, Simonis Cloth, Poolonthenet.com, AZBilliards, Aramith, Billiards Press, and World Class Cue Care.
The 34th Annual Ocean State 9-Ball Championships were the last 2022 event of the ‘22/’23 season. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for the weekend of January 5-8, 2023 will be Turning Stone Classic XXXVI, as always, hosted by the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, NY. The field for this event is full, but Mike Zuglan is taking names on the waiting list, for players interested in competing in this Matchroom Pool Nineball Ranking event. Zuglan can be reached at 518-356-7163.