See Squeaks by Schmidt a Second Time at QlympicsU.S. Open 14.1 Straight Pool Championship unfolds with four unblemished
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Any reprisal of Danny Harriman and John Schmidt’s straight pool bout from this week will come in the one-loss bracket of the U.S. Open 14.1 Straight Pool Championship. Both have suffered defeats today, Schmidt a narrow loss to his ouster on the winners’ side of the concurrent U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship last night. Huidji See has enjoyed his arrival at the Qlympics, giving Schmidt all he can handle and reaching the latter stages at both events in Louisville.
For Harriman, 2006 World All-Around Champion Jason Miller was too much, and while unheralded as a straight pool player, won handily. Miller will play Rafael Martinez-Chavez next, who has notched solid victories over Dee Adkins and Shannon Murphy.
Gabe Owen has shown resilience despite a grueling schedule created by his after hours play and not receiving any of the twenty-eight first round byes between the two tournament charts. With three victories under his belt, “The Babe” can look forward to See, who was runner-up at the World Straight Pool Championship earlier this year. His win over Schmidt came on the heels of an 11-9 victory in 10-Ball last night, and like that escape, See would again have to hold off a charge from “Mr. 400.”
With a 79 ball run out of the gate, See once again took a commanding lead over Schmidt, but made mistakes from there. Schmidt gradually capitalized despite frustration which at one point boiled over to a snapped shaft, a new one screwed on as he worked his way to 135-132 lead in the race to 150 points. The results from the break shot there forced Schmidt to abandon his 37 ball run and initiate safety play, which See replied ably to. With a soft roll of the cue ball off the head rail into the stack, Schmidt took a foul, and See was forced to do the same, coaxing whitey back to near its original position and bringing the score back to 134-131.
Schmidt swung at a ball in the stack, missed and seemingly left the game in See’s hands, but having run 12, a slow-rolled key ball shot at the 12-ball hung up for Schmidt, who trailed 143-134. He knocked in the hanger and got shape on the 3ball to break open a rack that held exactly enough balls for him to reach the finish line. Drawing into the stack and sending the cue ball all the way up the table from a successful break shot, Schmidt began a familiar string of self-deprecatory banter as he worked through initial difficulties.
“I’ve got no chance to make a shot in this spot,” Schmidt said before starting off with a long strike of the 13ball down the rail. “You’re a big favorite with me shooting this,” Schmidt told See before cutting the 1ball into the side from a steep angle and recovering position. Schmidt seemed to have the clinching balls picked apart after solid shooting from there, but with four left, Schmidt missed a slight cut into the corner, and scattered the balls as that 6ball lay hanging, having reached 146 to See’s 143, and conceding the match without making him bridge the last rack.
“I didn’t deserve to win,” See said to a group of spectators afterward. “Neither of us did.” Straight pool play will resume tomorrow, as the U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship returns to the fore this evening. Check back with InsidePOOLmag.com later for results from the winners’ bracket semifinals, where young Murphy will try his hot hand against the cagey Martinez and Louis Ulrich will tackle See.