Blaze 9-Ball Tour / West Hempstead, NY
by Skip Maloney
Joey Testa finished fourth among the Blaze 9-Ball Tour’s top 10 players on the year, but he recorded the most wins (six) on that tour’s 32 stops, including the most recent, $5,000-added season finale on January 24-25. Hosted by Raxx Bar & Grill in West Hempstead, NY, the finale drew 57 entrants.
Testa and Eddie Abraham locked horns among the winners’ side final four, as did Mike Miller and Matt Krah. Testa moved Abraham to the one-loss side 9-4, as Miller hung on to defeat Krah in a hill-hill battle. Testa gained the hot seat with a 9-4 win over Miller.
Wilkie, in the meantime, had his hands full battling back from the one-loss side. He survived two hill-hill struggles against Adam Kielar and Eddie Vazquez to take on Krah, who came within a game of making it three such struggles in a row. For Rob Omen, things were getting progressively easier, as he got by Oscar Bonilla 7-5 and Carmen Lombardo 7-3 for a shot at Abraham. Omen’s run ended there, as Abraham dropped him into the tie for fifth place with a 7-2 win and turned to face Wilkie in the quarterfinals.
Wilkie got some breathing room with a relatively easy 7-2 win over Abraham in those quarterfinals but had to battle again to get by Miller in the semifinal match 7-5. Despite the inevitable layoff between the hot seat and finals, Testa came out strong and concluded his undefeated weekend with a 9-2 win over Wilkie. While Testa went home with the $3,000 first-place prize, both he and Wilkie earned a spot in the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships as a bonus.
1st Joey Testa $3,000
2nd Shaun Wilkie $1,400
3rd Mike Miller $830
4th Eddie Abraham $500
5th Rob Omen $350
7th Carmen Lombardo $250
9th Jorge Rodriguez $150