Eberle Claims Billiard Battle of Los Angeles
The Best in the West / Bellflower, CA
by Eddie Cohen
Eight top West Coast professional players showed up at Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA, the weekend of July 12-13 to vie for the official title “The Best in the West!” This event was winner-takes-all—with each man posting a $500 entry fee, first place amounted to $4,000.
The format started with a round robin (race to 11, 9-ball); in which all eight players competed against one another in a total of seven matches. The top four players, determined by best win records, advanced into a final four, single-elimination series to determine one ultimate winner.
After the first-round matches were over, it seemed that the man to beat was Rafael Martinez. In his first match Martinez played against Ismael “Morro” Paez and made minimal mistakes, taking a quick 8-0 lead and winning the match 11-2. Another memorable bout was the father versus son match-up of Ernesto and Oscar Dominguez. Oscar had started out with a lead over his father but had started to make mistakes and Ernesto tied the score up. Toward the end of their match neither seemed to be on top of his game. The match ended up going hill-hill with Ernesto scratching and Oscar sinking a 9-ball combination with ball in hand.
When the round robin was over, the standings were Max Eberle in first place being undefeated, Dave Hemmah in second with two losses, Louis Ulrich in third, and Rafael Martinez in fourth.
The single-elimination round was in effect with Hemmah versus Ulrich and Eberle against Martinez. Ulrich was on top of his game and did not leave many chances for Hemmah. He was the first to finish his semifinal match and patiently waited for the winner of the Eberle/Martinez match. The last semifinal match was a close one. Neither player really seemed to get his break working, which led to many safety battles, but in the end Eberle came out on top with an 11-9 win.
The final match was everything it was meant to be. Eberle took a quick 2-0 lead, but poor position on the 8 ball in the third rack left him hanging it in the corner pocket and allowing Ulrich to tie it up. The match seemed to go back and forth, always with Ulrich taking the lead and Eberle playing catch-up. Ulrich reached the hill but came up dry on the break. Eberle took this opportunity to run out by sinking a tough 9 ball to make it double-hill. Eberle made a ball on the break, leaving him an open layout. He cleared the rack and finished the event with an undefeated run, taking home the first-place prize.
Thanks to the sponsors: theactionreport.com, tigerproducts.com, hardtimesbellflower.com, extremefocus.net, and milliondollar9ball.com.
And a huge thanks to the staff of Hard Times Billiards: Eddie, Elias, Jennifer, and the gang; as well the volunteer tournament staff: “Crown City Corey” Harper (organizer/producer), Frank “The Barber” Almanza (tournament director), Eddie “Zirroe” Cohen (chief assistant), Kent “KD Cues” Davis (assistant director), and Chris “Run the Century” (co-assistant director).
Note: Our apologies to Allen Hopkins Productions, as this event was intended to be a ten-man $500 entry ($5,000 total) qualifier into the upcoming $1,000,000 9-Ball Shootout being held in Valley Forge, PA, August 6-10; however, because of a couple of last minute player withdrawals, the qualifier aspect of the event had to be negated.
photo courtesy ©mediumpool.com