Second Verse, Same as the First
Turning Stone XV/ Verona, NY
Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer successfully defended his Turning Stone title at the fifteenth installment of the event, held August 19-22 at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY, defeating Rodney Morris 13-8 in the final match. Interestingly, it was Morris who Archer bested in the finals of the Turning Stone XIV after coming through the one-loss side, but this time Archer went the undefeated route.
Archer began the day as one of the final four undefeated players of the initial 128 who started Thursday. He had already delivered losses to William Oney 9-5, Tony Robles 9-6, Mike Davis 9-2, Jeff Kennedy 9-3, and Shaun Wilkie 9-6. In his first match of the day he faced off against Jeremy Sossei and easily was able to dispatch him to the west side of the chart 9-3 to reach the hot seat match.
Meeting him there was Morris, who had scored victories over Jay Plonski 9-4, Kevin Clark 9-5, Danny Normandin 9-7, and Marc Vidal 9-1. Player of the Year Mika Immonen awaited the Hawaiian in the next round, and though they fought tooth and nail, Morris was the one who advanced 9-8. It did not get any easier from there, as his next opponent was Dennis Hatch, who has long been seeking a Turning Stone title. It was another close call, for Hatch held a 7-5 lead and was heading for the finish line, but Morris kept his cool and ended up the 9-7 victor.
On the west side of the chart, Thorsten Hohmann was in the lead against Mike Dechaine, but he faltered, and Dechaine claimed the hill-hill victory. But his next opponent was Hatch, who was burning with a desire to reach the finals and the elusive title. The two players traded the lead, and it looked as if Dechaine might pull through when he was up 7-5, but Hatch regrouped and carried off a 9-7 victory.
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In the quarterfinals, Hatch found himself matched up against Immonen, who had fought off Jeff Kennedy 9-2, Ralf Souquet 9-5, and Sossei 9-4 since his defeat at the hands of Morris. With the momentum from the previous win over Dechaine, Hatch propelled himself to another victory, eliminating the Finn 9-3.
Hatch advanced to the semifinals, where he was faced with Morris again. Archer had vanquished Morris 9-5 to remain unchallenged, so Morris was sent west to attempt a return to the finals. At Turning Stone XIV, held in December 2009, Hatch was defeated by Morris in the hot seat match hill-hill and then was ousted by Archer in the semifinals 9-1, while Archer went on to best Morris in the finals 13-11. Oddly, Hatch lost this semifinal match by the same score—9-1—but to Morris instead of Archer.
This final match featured the same players as the previous event—Morris and Archer. “The Scorpion” never experienced a moment of self-doubt, as he overpowered Morris in the extended race to 13 with the even wider margin of 13-8.