Come and Take It if You Want It / Youngstown, OH
by InsidePOOL Staff
The 19-year-old Ryan Ward recovered from a defeat by Earl Strickland in the hot seat match to return to the finals and triumph over the Hall of Famer. Ward was one of 60 players who came Mike Gulyassy Custom Cues and Baby’s Pro Shop’s “Come and Take It if You Think You Can” tournament the weekend of October 9-10, which was hosted by Ice Breakers Pool Hall in Youngstown, OH.
Cleveland’s Ward has been playing pool since he was 11 and won his first pool tournament at the age of 12. His trek to the finals included victories over Dav Desantis, James Paris, Dan D’Angelo, tournament promoter Gulyassy, and room owner Mike Mousie. That deposited him into the hot seat match, where he first encountered Strickland, who had notched wins over Matt Rutter, Richie Ross, Matt Hojo, Jim Davis, and Mike Blackwell. Strickland gave Ward two games on the wire, and it went double-hill before Strickland was able to send Ward to the one-loss side.
Dan Bellew had been working his way through the west side of the chart, eliminating players such as Skip Shumate, Jay Brown, and Mike Blackwell to reach the semifinals. But he was disappointed in the outcome of his match against Ward, who only allowed him one game before ousting him 3-1.
Now returning to face Strickland again, Ward was calm. “It wasn’t an easy win, of course,” he said laconically. Like the hot seat match, the finals went hill-hill. But this time it was Ward who walked away the winner, defeating Strickland by the score of 5-4.
As an extra added bonus, the “Mike Gulyassy Challenge” offered a Mike Gulyassy custom cue to the player who knocked Gulyassy out of the tournament. After Ward sent Gulyassy to the one-loss side, Gulyassy was eliminated by Jay Brown. Videos from the event are available at the Inside POOL Youtube channel.
1st Ryan Ward
2nd Earl Strickland
3rd Dan Bellew
4th Mike Mousie
5th Jim Davis
7th Jay Brown
9th Dan D’Angelo