Hatch Takes Second Joss Billiards Stop
Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour / Utica, NY
by Skip Maloney
For the second time in just over a month, Dennis Hatch withstood a strong, one-loss-side challenge by Dave Grau to win his second Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour stop the weekend of November 8-9. A total of 36 entrants were on hand at Hippo’s House of Billiards for the $1,500-added event that, according to tour director Mike Zuglan will, in the future, be known as the Al Conte Memorial. Conte, respected throughout the industry as a table installer for over 30 years, died October 20 at the age of 79. His son, Victor Conte, one of his eight children, is the owner of Hippo’s House of Billiards.
Hatch, Jose Mendez, Bucky Souvanthong, and Greg Antonakos made up the final four on the winners’ side of this event. Hatch defeated Mendez 9-5 to move into the hot seat match versus Antonakos, who’d defeated Souvanthong 9-4. Antonakos took an early lead in the hot seat match that followed, but Hatch caught him, battling to hill-hill before Hatch prevailed.
Grau and Gary Empey were embarked on a west side campaign that eventually pitted them against each other in the quarterfinals. Grau and Empey dropped Souvanthong and Mendez, respectively, into a tie for fifth place before struggling back and forth to a 9-7 victory for Grau. He then duplicated that score in the semifinal match against Antonakos and advanced to take on the undefeated Hatch.
An early battle that saw the two tied through the first few racks saw Hatch eventually pull away. He eliminated the need for a second set in the double-elimination format by defeating Grau 9-3 and taking home the top prize.
1st Dennis Hatch $1,250
2nd Dave Grau $880
3rd Greg Antonakos $650
4th Gary Empey
5th Jose Mendez $350
7th Carlos Vieira $200
9th Dick Cappotto