Story & Pics by Dennis Walsh
Ed Latimer, who has been a straight pool fixture in Chicago forever started out with a match against one of the Ohio fellows, Hal Johns. Hal is a straight pool enthusiast who has made trips to Chicago before most notably, whenever Danny Diliberto was in town to give lessons. Hal is an old school player who owns a Balabushka cue. He said he was just getting in the tournament to help support our effort, yet he acquitted himself well, falling just a bit short with Mr. Latimer, 67-100.
Bob Crawford of Madison Wisconsin had been in the Red Shoes Straight Pool League last session, making the 3 hour plus drive twice a month to compete. He had recently made 140 balls in back to back innings, but again, he said he was coming down to help support straight pool in our area. In his first match he bested a young sharpshooter named Chris Medvid, who has been in a few of Red Shoes straight pool leagues, but with a new baby, has had to cut back on his pool playing recently.
Tom Karabatsos who has been playing straight pool forever and is a pupil of Dallas West’s matched up with Ted Antle, who is a great straight pool supporter and is in the 14.1 club this year as well as being a 2016 George Fels Memorial Derby City Straight Pool Challenge sponsor.
Jim Colling of Texas matched up with Vince Crovetti, a local golf pro who has been playing in Red Shoes Straight Pool Leagues, Illinois Billiard Club Leagues, and who has played in other tournaments closer to the Wisconsin Border where he lives for many years. 9Ball Jim, as he calls himself on AZBilliards has been a nine ball player and is a good shooter, but has been transitioning his game to Straight Pool for probably the last 5 years. He boasts a high run of 70, so far. He was able to beat Vince in their opening round.
Rich Klein who has been running most of the straight pool leagues in Chicago, and who is a member of the 14.1 club, and who is a sponsor yearly for the George Fels Memorial Derby City Straight Pool Challenge was matched up against one of the Ohio lads, Peter Hull. Peter Hull is a lawyer from Hinckley, Ohio, who is active in Ohio straight pool circles. He told me he has a pool table and a billiards table in his basement. He ran a 37 en route to dispatching Rich and moved ahead in the brackets.
Yours truly, Dennis Walsh got the dubious honor of matching up with Bob Cozzolino in the first round. Coz, as we call him has already been to the big show three previous times and Walsh has never ever beaten him. Perhaps because it was early or perhaps because he was conserving his strength for later, Coz allowed me to get to 95 before running 7 and out to win his first match.
Ron Dobosenski is from Madison, Wisconsin where he lives with his wife of 39 years. He is a former multiple state and Midwest champion who played numerous professional events in the early 1980s. He is a student of 14.1 Hall of Fame inductee, Frank “Sailor” Stellman and boasts a high run of 211. He is now retired and has started playing again. He met up with Mario Galletti in the first round and was able to emerge triumphant.
The fellow who got the bye in the first round, Joe Klein, was rewarded by getting to meet up with Tom Karabatsos in the second round. Tom has probably played Joe many times over the years and was able to take him down and move forward.
Bob Crawford got to 70 something against Ed Latimer. Jim Colling got to 81 against Cozzolino and Ron Dobosenski was able to beat Peter Hull.
In the next round on the winner’s side, Ed Latimer got to sit in his chair while Tom Karabatsos had two 40 ball runs against him. Bob Cozzolino got ahead of Ron Dobosenski 86-79, but he must have blinked because Ron ended up winner 100-87.
This led to the winner’s side matchup between Ron Dobosenski and Tom Karabatsos. Ron had played Tom twice in last year’s qualifier and Tom had won both games, sending Ron back to Wisconsin. This year, Ron saved his best for last, running 52 and a 28 back to back, winning easily.
Tom then had to wait while me and the rest of the losers had to battle it out on the left side for the opportunity to play Tom for the second spot. There was a lot of commotion over on the loser’s side, but eventually, Bob Cozzolino beat Peter Hull to take on Tom Karabatsos for the final spot. Bob saved his best for last running a 40 and 2 20s on his way to victory.
Last year’s inductee to the 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of fame, Frank “Sailor” Stellman was there watching most of the matches and hand delivering his $250 donation to the 14.1 club to help with the prize fund. As always, John Lavin was the perfect host , making everyone feel welcome and creating a 14.1 oasis in the Midwest that cannot be beaten. Thanks to all of the players and all of the spectators for creating a wonderful Straight Pool Event once again.
The finale qualifier will be held at Amsterdam Billiards in New York City. Amsterdam has been a huge supporter of the World Tournament of 14.1 from the start of its resurrection in 2006 and has held a qualifier every year for 10 years straight, giving them the distinction of being the only billiard room to do so. This has all been due to the enormous generosity of Greg Hunt, owner and founder of Amsterdam Billiard Club since 1989.
The iconic Amsterdam Billiards has been an industry leader in billiard rooms worldwide for 26 years. 21 players have qualified for the World 14.1 here including last year’s Jonathan Smith and Hunter Lombardo.
June 6th Red Shoes Billiards Chicago (708) 388-3700
June 13th Big Dog Billiards Iowa (515) 266-6100
June 14th Sandcastle Billiards (732) 632-9277 NJ
June 20th National Amateur Pool League at Amsterdam Billiards NYC
June 27th Easy Street Billiards CA (831) 333-0825
June 27th Amsterdam Billiards , NYC (212) 995-0333