John Smith took the longest route possible to the finals and put on a dominating performance in those finals to capture the third Desert Classic Tour stop of the season at Skip and Jan’s on March 31st and April 1st.
With the third stop’s game being bar-table 8-ball, a strong field was expected and that field did not disappoint. Forty six players including such notables as tour points leader Gus Briseno, Scott Frost, Chuck Evans, Nick De Leon and Brett Huth where in attendance. Toss in a handful of the west side’s top bar table players, and a contingent of players from Tucson that included Don Westbrooks, Rudy Alameda, Chris Paradowski and Mike Hamman.
The field for this one was so strong that it was hard to choose a clear cut favorite. With that in mind, fans might not have placed much importance on Nick De Leon’s first round win over John Smith. What the fans didn’t know is that the loss to De Leon would be the only loss Smith would take for the weekend.
Gus Briseno’s hope for another tour victory were dashed on Saturday with losses to De Leon and Tres Kane.
The two players who went through the field untouched to face off for the hot-seat were Mike Sandoval (looking for his first DCT Tour win) and Brett Huth (looking to shake his recent string of third place finishes).
Sandoval had already scored wins over Preacher Ronn, Lenny Marshall, Dennis Orender and Chris Paradowski – and it looked like he might be getting fitted for his first DCT crown after a lopsided 7-2 win over Huth for the hot-seat.
On the one loss side, John Smith was navigating a very dangerous minefield of tough opponents. Smith had wins over Mike Hamman, Dennis Orender, Jose Gonzales, Tres Kane, Chuck Evans and then Brett Huth for 2nd/3rd place. (Huth’s third straight third place finish at a DCT stop).
The finals were a text book example of a player taking his opponent out of his game as the player that John Smith allowed to show himself in the finals was not the Mike Sandoval who had earned that spot in the finals. Smith played a very calculated game and was simply too strong for anyone in the room to be able to stop him.
The first set of the finals saw Smith win four games before Sandoval could move a bead, and Smith was on the hill at 6-1 before Sandoval would move his second bead. The final score of the first set was 7-2, and half of Smith’s seven wins were in the form of table runs.
If the first set was bad for Sandoval, the second set would be even worse. The first game saw Sandoval run six balls and leave himself hooked. Sandoval would bring out the jump stick, but would not be able to hit the hidden object ball. And that is the way the set would go for him. The only good thing about the set for Sandoval was that Smith made it quick and merciful with a 6-0 win.
With side pots included, Smith pocketed $1025 for first place, while Sandoval settled for $565 for second. Chuck Evans, who finished in fourth place, moved to the top of the points list with a slim lead over Brett Huth.
The Desert Classic Tour’s next stop will be June 23rd and 24th at Pockets in Tucson.
Final Payouts (including side pots):
1st John Smith $1025
2nd Mike Sandoval $565
3rd Brett Huth $355
4th Chuck Evans $200
5th Tres Kane $120
5th Chris Paradowski $120
7th Scott Frost $115
7th Jose Gonzalez $75