He returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak. Ricardo Mejia, looking to record his first Tri-State Tour victory in just over a year, returned to the site of his last win, Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. He’d chalked up the win last year, with an asterisk, when he and Rafael Alberto opted out of a final match and as the hot seat occupant, he was awarded the official event title. This year, on Sunday, September 15, he and Ilija Trajceski would play twice; once, in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, in the finals, where Mejia would prevail and claim the title. The $1,000-added event drew 24 entrants to Clifton Billiards.
Mejia advanced from his first victory over Trajceski (7-4) to face Luis Jimenez in a winners’ side semifinal. Bob Toomey, in the meantime, who’d just survived a double hill match against Jeff Martinez, squared off against Mike Strassberg.
Mejia downed Jimenez 7-5, as Toomey, seemingly a little annoyed at his last outing, took it out on Mike Strassberg and shut him out. Mejia sent Toomey off to the semifinals 8-4 and waited in the hot seat for the return of Trajceski.
Over on the loss side, Trajceski had opened up with a 7-5 victory over Chris Schmidt. He followed that with another 7-5 victory over Steve Kaminow, which set him up to face Jimenez, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Strassberg drew Teddy Lapadula, who’d defeated Marco Daniele, double hill, and Jeff Martinez 6-2.
Trajceski and LaPadula advanced to the quarterfinals; Trajceski 7-4 over Jimenez and LaPadula 6-2 over Strassberg. Trajceski took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over LaPadula and then, eliminated Toomey 7-4 in the semifinals.
In the extended-race-to-9 finals, Mejia took an early, promising lead, before Trajceski responded and eventually got out in front 5-4. Trajceski went on to reach seven racks first, which extended the match to a race-to-9. Mejia caught up and when he reached seven racks, he broke and ran the next two to win it.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Slick, Billiards Digest, Liquid Shaft Cues, Joe Romer Trophies, and Phil Capelle Publications. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, September 22, will be a $1,000-added, Double Points event, hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.