Sakai Steals Spirit Tour Win
Ladies Spirit Tour / Holiday, FL
by R. Case
The Ladies Spirit Tour’s third event of the season was held April 27-28 at Hammer Heads Billiard Lounge in Holiday, FL, where 46 women competed in the qualifier event for the WPBA Florida Classic. Top players included WPBA pros Ellen Van Buren, Tracie Hines, and Miyuki Sakai, along with Spirit Tour regular top finishers such as Debbie Schjodt, Jeannie Seaver, Stephanie Mitchell, and Jessica Barnes.
The event drew fierce determination and competition, with some players as far away as Holland, Japan, Indiana, and North Carolina, and with many matches enduring hill-hill scores. Sakai found her way to the hot seat match against Stephanie Mitchell, and it was the WPBA pro who claimed the seat with a 7-5 win.
On the one-loss side, regulars Jeannie Seaver and Debbie Schjodt sent Dawn Fox and Tamara Rademakers home, respectively, with fifth-place finishes, setting up the next match of Seaver and Schjodt. A long-time friendship did not prevent Seaver from posting a 7-5 score against Schjodt, because Seaver wanted a chance at the first-place prize fund. However, Mitchell soon let it be known that she fully intended to win the qualifier as well as her first Ladies Spirit Tour event. Seaver had to settle for third place with a 7- 3 score against Mitchell.
The finals were set, with Mitchell and Sakai playing once again. Sakai took the lead, winning the lag and first game, but Mitchell replied quickly with a two-game lead. Mitchell’s bank shots seemed to be working in her favor, as she brought the score up to 4-1, but Sakai was not to be put away so easily, managing to bring the score up to 4-3. After trading several more racks, on the final game, Sakai attempted to shoot the 3 ball, bringing the cue ball three rails around the table to bump the 9 ball into the nearest pocket.
The next Ladies Spirit Tour event will be held June 2-3, 2007, at Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, Florida.
1st Miyuki Sakai
2nd Stephanie Mitchell
3rd Jeannie Seaver
4th Debbie Schjodt
5th Dawn Fox
7th Jessica Barnes
Ellen Van Buren
9th Laura Lindauer