With Jayson Shaw and Mike Dechaine in
the house, there's always going to be a little buzz
about a potential matchup between the two. It's something
about their fiery personalities, and a sense of determination
that they bring to the table when they play that makes
their matches electrifying to watch. So when it happened,
early at the 7th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci
Memorial Tournament's $2,000-added Pro event on Memorial
Day weekend, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Queens,
NY, and Dechaine went down 8-5, a little air went out
of that balloon.
When the 44 players had been whittled down to the final
12, and the event moved into its first money round,
air was getting pumped back into that balloon, because
there was Dechaine, five matches away from a potential
re-match in the finals. In all, Dechaine, already a
two-time winner at this event (Shaw won it two years
ago), would chalk up six on the loss side before running
into Frankie Hernandez in the semifinals, where the
streak would end, and the air went back out.
In its place was a balloon that inflated over two matches
between Shaw and Frankie Hernandez; hot seat and finals.
Shaw had sent The Iceman, Mika Immonen to the loss side
8-3 in one winners' side semifinal. In last year's Pro
event, Immonen had battled twice against the eventual
winner, Zion Zvi, and been beaten twice. Tony Robles,
in the meantime, who, for the second year in a row,
found himself in a winners' side semifinal, was beaten
back by Hernandez 8-2. In their first of two, Shaw gave
up only a single rack to Hernandez, claiming the hot
seat 8-1 and adding a little air to the loss-side balloon
that saw Dechaine move into the semifinals against Hernandez.
Over on the loss side, Dechaine moved into the first
money round and downed Reymart Lim 8-6. He followed
that with a double hill win over Tim Murray, which led
to a match against Immonen, coming over from his loss
to Shaw. Robles drew Jeremy Sossei, who'd gotten by
Mike Miller 8-1 and Jorge Rodriguez 8-3. It made sense,
though probably not to Immonen, that "Fireball"
Mike Dechaine eliminated "The Iceman" Mika
Immonen 8-5. Dechaine was joined in the quarterfinals
by Sossei, who'd defeated Robles (for his second straight
5th/6th finish) 8-3.
Dechaine took the quarterfinal match 8-2 over Sossei,
and turned to the last obstacle in his potential path
back to a re-match against Shaw - Frankie Hernandez,
in the semifinals. Being in New York, a lot of support
rallied behind Hernandez, although it was doubtful that
anyone watching it live at Steinway, or on the AZBTv
stream (sponsored by Blatt Billiards) would have been
disappointed had a finals matchup between Shaw and Dechaine
To Hernandez' credit, it didn't. He defeated the two-time
Ginky Memorial champion, Dechaine, 8-3 and got his own
second shot against Shaw. Shaw completed his undefeated
run with an 11-3 victory over Hernandez in the finals.
Event director Tony Robles, as he is every year at this
time, was demonstrably appreciative of the effort put
forth by representatives from the Tri-State and Mezz
Tours, as well as the ownership and staff at Steinway
Billiards. In addition to thanks offered to Blatt Billiards
(BlattBilliards.com) for their sponsorship of the live
stream, Robles also thanked sponsors Predator Cues,
Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle
(BilliardsPress.com), and the DeVito team.
Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards