The 3rd annual Red Swain Shootout brought world class racquetball back to Davison, Michigan, home of 6-Time World Champion, Cliff Swain, who took an upset win to the semifinals, where he bowed out to Alvaro Beltran, who overcame up-and-comer, #5 seed Daniel DeLaRosa, for his first tier 1 title: the 2013 Red Swain Shootout Championship.
Click Read More for Red Swain Match Recaps and HERE to view the pro draw.
Red Swain Shootout Final:
#2 Alvaro Beltran d Daniel De La Rosa 8, (10), 8, 4
Murmurs in the crowd had the twenty-year-old De La Rosa, who is arguably in the best shape of any player on the tour, winning the match if the thirty-five-year-old Beltran didn’t take the first game. It’s rumored that De La Rosa played in a squash tournament recently and beat the top junior squash player in Mexico. The whispiers must have reached Beltran. The #2 seed reached an early lead, hitting an amazing shot at 8-4 to notch another point, to 9-4. The game was seemingly over after he scoed his 10th point. De La Rosa mounted a comeback, rolling a few balls while Beltran helped out by skipping on returns. When De La Rosa reached 8-10, Beltran took a timeout. “Good timeout,” said a front-row fan. Beltran stepped back onto the court, killed the serve for the rally, and tapped a lob serve. De La Rosa promptly pounded it into the floor, giving Beltran the first game 8-11.
The start of the second game mimicked the first, with Beltran building a 9-6 lead as they played deep into the game. De La Rosa scored a couple of points to 8, before Beltran nailed an awesome kill shot for 10-8 . Beltran served game point. De La Rosa wasn’t ready to go down. He won the pivotal rally and then scored two points of his own, tying the game at 10-10. A quick pause lasted long enough to give the court a quick wipe-down before De La Rosa started the action with two points for the game, tying the match at one game apiece.
Feeling the pressure, Beltran got out to a 5-0 lead in the third game. He had to know that this was the most important game in the match! De La Rosa answered by scoring the next 4 points, bringing the score to 5-4. After a quick run, Beltran took the 3rd game 11-8. The trend continued with Beltran making a run during the 4thgame, winning his first Tier One event, 11-4.
ProKennex Tournament of Champions links preceding champions to today’s rising stars, like ProKennex’s Daniel De La Rosa, who reached his first Finals appearance. Beltran ends Swain’s run, prepares for a Saturday evening Final, starting at 7 p.m. EDT.
Alvaro Beltran d Cliff Swain 7, 0, 11
The stage was set for an epic battle, with hometown Swain fans everywhere and Beltran looking to have a chance at his first Tier 1 tournament win. Swain started out strong, scoring point after point to take a 6-0 lead. Beltran didn’t waiver, fighting his way back to take the first game 11-7.
Losing the lead seemed to have a very negative affect on Swain, who lost the second game 11-0, and didn’t score a single point until being down 6-0 in the third game. The crowd was quiet, as this match was apparently over, until Swain clawed his way back one point at a time, and took an 11-10 lead. But Beltran had other plans, scoring the next three points in a row to win the match 13-11.
Daniel De La Rosa d Rocky Carson -1, 5, 2.
The burning question was: Will Carson capitalize on Kane’s absence or can De La Rosa explode into the scene of his first finals? Game 1 signaled the latter, as De La Rosa scored point after point, going up to 9-0 before Rocky, in typical Rocky fashion, obtained a technical and lost the match 11-(-1). It was all downhill from there for the #2 ranked player in the world. De La Rosa never let up on the pressure, defeating Carson 11-5, 11-2 to finish the match and make his first Finals appearance.
Cliff Swain’s upset run has been the talk of the weekend, where he’ll make his first Tier 1 semifinal appearance since Kansas City in 2006, facing Alvaro Beltran after the Rocky Carson versus Daniel De La Rosa match. Semifinal action starts at 11 a.m. EDT, Saturday.
Rocky Carson d Tony Carson (9), 1, 7, 7
The “battle of the Carsons” ensued in front of a packed crowd. The first game was full of emotion. At 8-10, Rocky began to argue with the referee, who pressed him to play ball. Rocky seemed to be more focused on the call than the game, which may have cost him. Tony won the first game, 11-9.
Rocky knew he needed to curb his emotion, and came back into the court for game two calmer, more collected, and on fire, reaching a 9-1 lead before Tony called timeout, little late. They came back into the court long enough for Rocky to score a quick two points, winning 11-1 and tying the match at one game apiece. Rocky kept his focus the next two games, winning 11-7 and 11-7, although the competition didn’t seem as close as the scores indicate.
Alvaro Beltran d. Chris Crowther 9, 8, 8
This match was a battle from the beginning, as it seemed both players had their eyes on the top prize this weekend. Though the match only went three games, each could have gone either way. However, Beltran’s shot-making ability overtook Crowther’s raw power as Beltran took the match 11-9, 11-8, 11-8.
Cliff Swain d Marco Rojas (4), 2, 7, 9
Although it was the third quarterfinal and with the lowest combined seed total of the evening, this was clearly the match the crowd was waiting for. Both players traded points in the beginning of the game. Rojas ran all over the court, putting a ton of pressure on Cliff, which started to take a toll. Rojas pulled away for a win in the first, 11-4. The crowd was quiet and concerned. Swain wasn’t. He came out firing and never looked back, wining game two, 11-2. Tied at one game each, the players traded points until the middle of the game. You could feel the tension in the air during the pivotal third game; both players knew they needed to win. Swain would not be denied, taking the third game, 11-7. Swain carried the momentum into game 5 reaching a 9-1 lead. Rojas took his timeout to not avail. Swain came back to close the match 11-9.
Daniel De La Rosa d Ben Croft 4, (8), 4, 3
The final match of the night was between two players with similar styles: quick, powerful, and both wanting a physical match. De La Rosa came out strong, winning the first game 11-4. Croft was undeterred by that result, firing back to win the second 11-8. At that point, it was anyone’s match. De La Rosa caught fire. Some of the players in the crowd were saying that they never saw De La Rosa play so well, as he went on to win the match 11-4, 11-3.
Round of 16 Results
An early round upset had Canadian Eric Desrochers over #10 Andy Hawthorne to face Chris Crowther in the Round of 16s, which started today at 10 a.m. As they arrived, the top players were talking about the effects of the Saturday night finals, looking to get through their matches more quickly so they could be fresher in the later rounds.
Chris Crowther d. Eric Desrchers 1, 9, 3
Crowther got off to a great start. He won the first game 11-1, seemingly in control of the match and ready to make it a quick one. Desrochers had other plans. Fighting for every point, the long shot threatened to take the second game. Crowther mustered up the energy to close it out anyway, 11-9, before rolling through the third game 11-3.
Alvaro Beltran d Mauricio Zelada 4, (9), 2, 6
Beltran started out strong, expending little energy as he took the first game 11-4. He looked to be cruising through the match, until Zelada woke up and decided not to go down that easily. Zelada took game two, 11-9. The crowd buzzed about Beltran’s demeanor, as calm and cool in the second game as he was in the first when he won. He didn’t seem worried at all, and his confidence showed as he won in the next two games easily, 11-2 and 11-6.
Rocky Carson d Charlie Pratt 1, 2, 4
This round of sixteen’s matches featured two Carsons, Rocky and Tony, albeit on different courts. Rocky Carson must have been involved in a conversation with Beltran about conserving energy by getting through the early rounds quickly. Carson beat Pratt, who never seemed to be in the match. Final scores: 11-1, 11-2, 11-4.
Tony Carson d Jansen Allen 5, 7, 10
The second Carson had a much closer match with Jansen Allen than Rocky had with Pratt, although the outcome was very much the same. After winning the first two games 11-5 and 11-7, Tony Carson was in total control, until he got down big in the third game. After getting behind by several points, Tony Carson made a late game surge, and went on to win the third 12-10.
Cliff Swain d Jose Rojas 6, 7, (7), 3
The book on this match was if the new lean, mean 47-year-old Swain were going to win, it’d have to be in 3 games as experts felt that the younger Rojas would never tire to the pro who’d won his first match at that club 30 years ago. If the match went long, Rojas would have a clear advantage. Some wondered if Rojas would still be reeling over his win against #1-ranked Kane Waselenchuk in the Kansas City Ghost of Georgetown opener, or if the pressure of his early round loss at the US OPEN would hurt his confidence against the experienced Swain.
Whatever the case, Swain came out hunting, and won the first two games seamlessly 11-6, 11-7. He seemed to be ready to do the same in the third with a 4-0 lead. There were whispers around the court that the match was over.
Rojas took a timeout to regroup. After he stepped back in the court and settled in to the receiver’s position, Swain skipped the serve creating a momentum shift. Jose took advantage, overtook the lead, and never looked back, winning the third game 11-7.
The crowd wondered whether Swain ran out of gas or if Jose woke up. Swain had the answer, reaching a 7-2 lead. Again, Rojas took a timeout. Swain scored the next three points, and then must have decided to keep the game going with the crowd on the edge of their seats by double-faulting the match point serve. Rojas scored another point. Swain took the next rally. Cliff stepped in the box and delivered his patented crosscourt ace for the match, 11-3.
Marco Rojas d Jose Diaz 2, (12), 2, 8
The two faced off in the “Battle of the 209.” Stockton, California’s racquetball powerhouse players didn’t disappoint, although they did get off to a slow start. Marco Rojas won game one, 11-2. The second game was much, much different as the boys traded points throughout. Back and forth they scored, with Diaz coming out ahead, 14-12. The third game was much like the first. Rojas put his foot on the gas, hit his shots, and won 11-2. The fourth game was sloppy. At 8-6, Rojas missed two easy forehands in the middle of the court, allowing Diaz to get back in the game at 8-8 making it anyone’s game. Rojas didn’t seem to want to play a fifth and went on a roll to win 11-8.
Daniel De La Rosa vs. Alex Ackermann 7, 9, (3), 7
Excitement was high for these two up-and-coming players, who started playing the pro tour within one year of each other. The two faced off in the Ghost of Georgetown season opener, when De La Rosa won in the Round of 16. They kept the score close the first two games, but ProKennex’s De La Rosa came out ahead, 11-7 and 11-9. Ackermann fought back, delivering an 11-3 lesson in game three. It wasn’t enough, as De La Rosa took the forth for the match, 11-7.
Ben Croft d Brad Schopieray 2, 3, 9
Hometown favorite and match underdog, Brad Schopieray, focuses on his college studies in Colorado, where he also plays on the racquetball team. Ben Croft wasn’t going to let up on the Co-Tournament Director’s son, taking the first two games 11-2 and 11-3. Schopieray fought back in the third game, but not enough, losing to the #4-seed 11-9.
The Red Swain Shootout is Back
by Becky Wiese
The 3rd annual Red Swain Shootout brings high quality, high intensity racquetball back to Davison, Michigan, home of 6-Time World Champion, Cliff Swain, who reports feeling great as he enters the draw. #1 Kane Waslenchuk is out due to family obligations, leaving the field wide open for other top pros in the draw.
The 3rd annual Red Swain Shootout brings high quality, high intensity racquetball back to Davison, Michigan, home of 6-Time World Champion, Cliff Swain, who reports feeling great as he enters the draw. #1 Kane Waslenchuk is out due to family obligations, leaving the field wide open for other top pros in the draw.Don Schopieray, tournament co-director, is excited that the IRT has committed to a three-year contract for the Tier 1 tournament. “We’re looking for long-term development,” says Schopieray.“It takes a few years to establish an event and Davison Athletic Club is a ideal place to do that–we have a great facility, great staff and great volunteers.”
The racquetball passion is long-lived in Davison, which is close to Flint, Michigan, north of Detroit. “Racquetball comes first at Davison Athletic Club,” explains Shopieray. “On any given night, you’ll have a tough time finding an open court–and there are 14 courts here.” No doubt the membership of the club looks forward to having one of the newer stops on the pro tour right in their own facility. Up to 300 spectators are expected, with the Saturday night final, played on the Josh Sellers Memorial Court with glass back and side wall, likely drawing the largest crowd of the weekend.
“We’re trying to bring back the glory days of racquetball in Michigan, like back when Marty Hogan and Ruben Gonzales played,” says Tom Blakeslee, co-director of the tournament. “I’m personally hoping that we’ll have some long, exciting matches, similar to the US Open match between #5 Ben Croft and #4 Jose Rojas. That match lasted almost three hours and was five hard-fought games with unbelievable gets, great athleticism, and intense rallies. That’s racquetball at its best, in my opinion.”
Schopieray agrees that the pro matches from the quarterfinals through the last point of the championship match will “be a battle.” Players such as #2 Rocky Carson, #3 Alvaro Beltran, Rojas, and Croft plus other top-ranked pros will battle to add their name to the list of champions without having to topple #1 Kane Wasenlenchuk, who is unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. Wasenlenchuk broke Swain’s 70 Tier 1 wins record at the US Open just weeks ago on his way to winning his 9th US Open Championship.
Schopieray sees Croft as a front runner–“Davison Athletic Club loves Croft and his style of play. He’s a scrapper, like a lot of the people who live here, and he loves these courts because they are lightning fast.” Rocky Carson will definitely be trying to get it done without Kane in the mix, as all the pros see a huge opportunity to be the last man standing. Schopieray foresees a lot of long, intense battles; “I’m preparing long days,” he says.
The tournament is named in honor of Cliff Swain’s father, Red, a man who instilled perseverance and willpower in his son. The tournament charity, Angel Fund, is also in honor of Red Swain, as it focuses on improving the quality of life for those who suffer from ALS. Cliff, who went on to become a #1 player and 6 time World Champion, still plays a solid game and is sharing his strategy with the next generation, predominantly through his website, cliffswain.com, which is a presenting sponsor for the tournament. Racquetball enthusiasts can get virtual coaching tips, video analysis, and other strategies through the website.
Swain also coaches #18 Brad Schopieray, who currently plays for Colorado State University on a racquetball scholarship and has been on the pro tour since graduating high school. Schopieray will be the hometown favorite, as this is the club where he grew up learning the game.
Spectators and players alike will enjoy great racquetball all weekend long, from the first match through the last. Schopieray encourages racquetball enthusiasts to get the VIP Pass, which includes access to the VIP lounge, food, drinks, premium seating, and admission to the After Party on Saturday night after the final. “After Party itself is worth it,” he says. “Everybody has fun Saturday night.”