Hines Wins with Spirit
By J.A. Barnes
The finale of the Ladies Spirit Tour, the Florida State Championship, drew some of the best women around, including Rachael Abbink, Debbie Schjodt, and 2002 winner Tracie Hines. However, the 2004 champion was going to have to win with spirit in such a competitive environment.
The event, held December 11-12, 2004, at Capone’s Billiards in Spring Hill, FL, drew a 42-player field seeking a multitude of prize money, thanks to the $6,200 added and a paid spot into the 2005 WPBA U. S. Open. Early on, it was clear that Florida favorites Hines, Schjodt, and Miyuki Sakai would be battling on the final day. But the Canadian, Abbink, and the Texan, Tara McCracken, made sure they at least had a say in final matches.
Sunday’s early winners’ side match featured McCracken and Schjodt, with McCracken earning a 7-2 win, while Hines also sent Sakai to the west side. This set up the hot seat match between McCracken and Hines, and Hines handily won 7-3 to secure her place as queen of the hill.
Meanwhile, in the one-loss side, Schjodt ousted WPBA pro Angel Paglia 7-3 then moved on to Sakai in the quarterfinals. There was plenty of action, and fans were eager to see this match-up. on the opening break, Sakai sank five balls, including the 9. After the following break, she lined up the 1-9 combo for a quick 2-0 lead while only shooting three shots. But once Schjodt got to the table, she showed why she became InsidePOOL Magazine’s December Player of the Month by running through three racks to take a 3-2 lead. Then Schjodt nailed the 9 on the break for a quick turnaround and a two-game lead. But Sakai didn’t back down, winning four out of the next five games to take a 6-5 lead. Schjodt got the match even on the hill and then broke and ran the final rack for a 7-6 win and a chance for a rematch with McCracken in the semifinals.
With Schjodt’s position and safety play, as well as her offensive talents, she jumped out to a 6-0 lead before McCracken could even get on the board. But it was too little, too late as Schjodt took the win 7-2.
In the finals, Hines won the lag and broke and ran the first rack. In Game 2, Schjodt was forced to play a safe on the 8 ball, and Hines nailed the 8 on a long bank, followed by an easy 9 for a 2-0 lead. After Schjodt got on the board, Hines regained her two-game lead with a long-rail bank on the 9 to go up 3-1. But Schjodt got back into the match in a hurry with a 2-9 combo, a run-out, and a break-and-run to take a 5-4 lead. Hines quickly tied the match at 5 apiece and ran away from there to win the championship 7-5.
1st Tracie Hines $1,675 + WPBA Qualifier
2nd Debbie Schjodt $1,225
3rd Tara McCracken $925
4th Miyuki Sakai $725
5th Angel Paglia, Sarah Ellerby $500
7th Rachael Abbink, Bonnie Plowman $300
9th Ellen VanBuren, Bonnie Coats, Ming Ng, Helene Caukin $200
13th Tina Pawloski, Tina Larson, Emily Wilmoth, Lisa Hamilton $100
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