Frost Ices the Field
Truman Hogue Invitational 9-Ball Tournament / Louisville, KY
by Tom Fryer
The Truman Hogue Invitational 9-Ball Tournament, held at Jeff Griffith’s Diamond Pub in Louisville, KY, April 14-15, was a resounding success. Players from as far away as Dayton, OH, and Indianapolis, IN, and from all corners of Kentucky filled the 64-player field, with more than another dozen turned away. The most successful of them all was a sleep-deprived Robert Frost from Campsville, KY, who went undefeated to win first place.
First-day highlights included a hill-hill match between Frost and the highly regarded Gary Gentry from Indy. Frost took control of the tournament, as it turned out, by running out the case game. Another match that had the crowd buzzing was a 6-0 thrashing that everyone’s favorite professional-in-waiting, 12-year-old Landon Shuffett, laid on one of Louisville’s top players, Gerald Reichel. Playing the perfect set, Shuffett allowed Reichel only two empty trips to the table.
Former best in Louisville, Bryan Roberts, made a rare tournament appearance. After surviving Saturday, he caught a gear and won 17 of his first 19 racks Sunday before calling a foul on himself that no one else had even seen. However, the methodical precision of Bill Watson ended Roberts’ run in fifth place. Richard Minton dropped a tough 6-4 to Frost on the winners’ side and was relegated to fifth as well when Junior Moore played strongly in a 6-2 win over Richard.
Moore and Watson are good friends and had hoped not to draw one another, but since the match-up came in the quarterfinals, they got down to business. Watson had the upper hand early and broke it wide open with an amazing back cut with tough three-rail position, sending Moore home in fourth place.
The semifinal match brought Ben Jamison back to match up with Watson. After trading 9 balls on the break in the third and fourth racks, Watson reached the hill 5-4 before the Fates aligned against him. With the 9 in the jaws of the corner, Watson left Jamison a long kick shot on the 2. As he is wont to do, Jamison fired full blast and got a good hit, lucked the 7 in the side and was able carom in the 9 on the next shot to tie. The alternating break gave Watson the last snap, and he pocketed two balls but was faced with a dilemma of a layout. He chose and executed a near-perfect safe but pocketed a ball, effectively snookering himself. With ball in hand, Jamison cleaned up.
The rematch between Jamison and Frost was a double-elimination race to 9. Ironically, in the winners’-bracket final, Frost pulled away from a 3-3 tie after Watson pocketed a ball on a sweet kill shot safe and hooked himself. This time it was even tighter at 5-4, when both Jamison’s break and luck abandoned him. His two scratches on the break and three early combos helped Frost to the championship at 9-4.
1st Robert Frost
2nd Ben Jamison
3rd Bill Watson
4th Junior Moore
5th Bryan Roberts
7th Tim Richert
Frost Ices the Field