One week after his first Tier 1 win, Beltran faced the #1 seed, Rocky Carson, in the 2013 Garden City Turkey Shootout tiebreaker. With game four momentum in his favor, the #2 seed was positioned to win. Instead, Carson ground out a 10-4 lead. Beltran clawed back. Multiple sideouts later, Beltran closed the gap, 6-10. The players traded rallies until Carson prevailed, 7 (10), 4, (1), 6. The IRT has had four tournaments this season – and a different champion was crowned at each one!
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Final: #1 Rocky Carson d #2 Alvaro Beltran 7, (10), 4, (1), 6
In what’s turning out to be the most competitive season in recent years, #1 Rocky Carson won the 4th Tier 1 of the 2013-2014 IRT season, becoming the 4th winner in four events. It was bound to be a close match. The #2 seed, Alvaro Beltran, stood between him and the title. They’d faced each other 32 times in the last 15 years, and they’d evenly divided the matches at 16 wins each.
Sloppy play marked Game One early on. They kept the score close. At 4-6 Beltran served. Referee, Jake Bradenbeck called an avoidable on Carson, who disagreed saying that Beltran had taken his swing. Carson and Beltran continued to trade rallies and serves. After a 2-dive rally, Alvaro delivered a behind-the-back-through-the-legs winner to get back in the box, 7-8. A backhand skip on a set-up send Beltran to the back of the court just before Carson scored, and then again (twice). Game 1went to Carson, 11-7.
Beltran switched to a lob serve in Game 2, for a quick, 3-0 lead. It must have been working, as Carson skipped twice, once in the backcourt (he didn’t agree) and then on his forehand. Carson called a timeout. When they returned, Beltran skipped a ceiling ball. Carson served and scored for his first point at 1-8, beginning to claw back. The momentum clearly shifted in Carson’s favor. He chipped away at Beltran’s lead. Beltran got stuck at 8, unable to reach the elusive 9 despite (at least) 3 serve attempts, before treating the fans to quick-step happy dance in the serve box when he finally scored again. By then he was down, 9-10. A precision down-the-line forehand shot capped Game 2 in Beltran’s favor, 12-10.
This time, Rocky built up a quick 3-0 lead before Beltran scored, at 1-4. Carson continued racking up the score 9-1 until Beltran held him at 9. This time, the momentum shifted Beltran’s way as he began creeping back into the game, 4-9. He’d seen the light that Carson must have noticed in game 2. A win was not out of reach. Carson seemed to sense the shift, too. He didn’t carry himself with the confidence of a player up 9-4 in an 11-point game. Still, Carson closed it out, taking Game 3, 11-4.
Game 4 was all Beltran, scoring first from a hinder call and then racing to a 5-0 lead, then 6-1. Carson’s timeout at 1-7 didn’t help much. Beltran took Game 4, 11-1.
Momentum in his favor, Beltran was in position to win his second T1 event in a row, after winning his first T1 ever just one week ago. The first few rallies were battles, however Rocky grinded to a huge 10-4 lead before Beltran started to claw his way back. Multiple side outs, Beltran was able to close the gap to 6-10. Beltran wouldn’t go down easy. Again the players traded side outs, until Rocky was able to prevail 11-6. The IRT has had four tournaments this season – and a different champion was crowned at each one!
#2 Alvaro Beltran d #3 Jose Rojas (4), 5, 3, 3
In typical Beltran fashion, he dropped the first game 11-4, skipping more than he killed. The second game was a mirror image of the first game, except Rojas skipped more than he killed, allowing Beltran to take it, 11-5. The pivotal third game saw some of the same, as Rojas began to get frustrated with his misses. Beltran went on to win, 11-3. The theme continued into the 4th. Beltran caught fire, killed every ball that Rojas left up, and won 11-3.
#1 Rocky Carson d #4 Ben Croft (8), 8, 7, 3
From the start, #1 Rocky Carson racked up a large lead, 8-2, against #4 Ben Croft, until Croft came back with a run of his own, winning game one, 11-8. Game two started out in what looked to be a repeat of the begining of game one, with Carson again taking an early lead. Again, Croft came back, scoring to tie the game at 5-5 and then 6-6. Carson still pulled it off, 11-8. Carson took the lead and never looked back in game 3, although Croft fought back, managing to come close at one point, he never pulled within a couple of points. Carson won game 3, 11-7. Again Rocky pulled ahead to a commanding lead in game 4. This time, Croft didn’t have an answer. Carson tallied 8 points before Croft added a few of his own. Carson took game 4, 11-3 for the match.
#1 Rocky Carson d #8 Tony Carson 5, (5), 2, 6
The Carson/Carson battle continues. Rocky had a barn burner with Jake Bredenbeck, winning 11-7 in the 5th game, so fans were wondering if that long match would affect him. The morning match didn’t seem to matter, as Rocky won the first game 11-5. The second game was another story, as Tony’s serve started to come alive, giving him the early lead. Rocky was not able to come back: Tony won 11-5. With the match tied, the crowd figured the third game would be a battle, but Rocky had other plans. He won the next two games 11-2, 11-6, earning him a spot in the semifinals against the winner of the #4 Ben Croft v #5 Jansen Allen match.
#2 Alvaro Beltran d #7 Daniel De La Rosa 6, 9, injfft
In a repeat of last week’s finals, tour veteran Beltran got off to a great start winning the first game 11-6. After going point for point for most of the second game, Beltran turned it on at the end to win 11-9. De La Rosa didn’t seem like himself, and in the middle of the third game he came up lame, forfeiting the match due to a knee injury. Stay tuned for an official statement.
#3 Jose Rojas v #11 Charlie Pratt (9), 6, 2, 7
Pratt was sharp his first round, and it carried into game one of this match, as he won the first game 11-9. Rojas started the second game serving big; the ball seemed to be moving faster than usual due to the humid courts. Rojas wib the next two games 11-6 and11-2. Rojas had the momentum going into the fourth game, but Pratt wasn’t going to make it easy. Both players served and played well, point for point throughout the game. Rojas pulled away for the match 11-7.
#4 Ben Croft #5 d Jansen Allen (10), 4, 3, 1
Jansen put up a fight, forcing Ben to 12 to end the first game, but couldn’t keep up the momentum, losing the next 4-11. At 3-10 in the 3rd, Jansen made a runto 7 before Ben was back in the box. Croft skipped at game point, returning Jansen to the box. After extended rallies with both players diving and shooting from all around the court, Allen climbed back. 11-11 Croft back in the box. Timeout. Croft scored, 12-11. Then skipped a after a long rally. Again, Jansen had the chance to get the game back, tying i at 12-12 beofre skipping. Ben teased with a short serve, before both players hit hard back and forth before Ben closed it out, 14-12.
Round of 16:
The Round of 16 started this morning, Friday Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. CST with pro action commanding two courts as players compete to reach the Quarterfinal Round beginning at 4 p.m. CST tonight.
#2 Alvaro Beltran d #15 Thomas Fuhmann 6, 8, 10
# 7 Daniel De La Rosa d #10 Mauricio Zelada 4, 6, 6,
#8 Tony Carson v #9 Brad Schopieray 3, 5, 0
#1 Rocky Carson d #16 Jake Bredenbeck (8), 5, (4), 9, 7
#11 Charlie Pratt d #6 Chris Crowther 6, 4, 1
#3 Jose Rojas d #14 Bradly Rogers 2, 3, 2
#4 Ben Croft d #13 Francisco Troncoso 5, 0, 5
#5 Jansen Allen d #21 Nicholas Riffel 4, 2, 1
The evening the Red Swain Shootout results revealed that Rocky Carson had overtaken Kane Waselenchuk for the #1 ranking by 10 points, Waselenchuk announced an injury will force his withdrawal from the Garden City event.
“I am sorry to announce that I will not be able to attend the Garden City tournament due to an injury that I sustained at the U.S. Open. I thought I would be ready to play in Garden City, but unfortunately I am unable to. Hopefully in the time between Garden City and the New Jersey Open, I can get myself healthy and ready to compete at a high level again.” – Kane Waslenchuk
The absence of Waselenchuk gives a new catalyst to other top players on the Tour, including current #1 Rocky Carson, who has the opportunity to build his lead beyond 10 points. To do so, he’ll have to overcome newly-crowned Red Swain Shootout Champion, #3 Alvaro Beltran, who earned his first Tier 1 victory by defeating # 7 Daniel De La Rosa, whose breakout performance in Michigan led him to his first Final by playing through both Carson and # 5 Ben Croft. Croft and #4 Jose Rojas, who handed Kane Waselenchuk his first defeat in 3 years during the Kansas City opener, remain a threat for the title of any tournament they enter.
Waslenchnuk fell to #2 after missing the Red Swain Shootout, his third Tier 1 within twelve months. Since calculations cover a rolling twelve month period and Waselenchuk also missed the 2012 New Jersey Open plus the 2013 New York Temperature Controls ProAm, Carson is now ahead – by 10 points. Beltran’s first Tier 1 win helped solidify his hold on third place, while Jose Rojas, Ben Croft, and Chris Crowther placed ahead of first-time Tier 1 finalist, #7 Daniel De La Rosa, who tops Tony Carson, rounding out the top 8.
The 23rd Annual Garden City Turkey Shootout Turns Tier 1
Back-to-back tournaments will bring the IRT top pros from Michigan to Garden City, Kansas on November 14-17 for the 23rd Annual Garden City Turkey Shootout, which has evolved from a long-time satellite to Tier 1 tournament for the first time.When Stacy Crase stepped in as Health and Fitness Director seven years ago, she knew little about racquetball. “I watched Ben Croft and Mitch Williams play at our event, and thought they were amazing, fascinating to watch. Since then, I’ve seen how this is a great activity to do as a family, whether you’ve never played before or are topnotch.”
Stacy works closely with the new Tournament Director, Sarah Tighe, wanting to stay involved even after accepting a position outside of the YMCA. “I’m excited and nervous, but now that I’m not running the tournament, I can visit and have fun watching the matches.” That’s especially true for an event known for hospitality. Organizers transform the childcare center into a player’s lounge complete with couches for lounging and plenty to eat. “If you would ask the guys, what they love is the food,” said Stacy. “We want the players to be able to come in, relax, and enjoy themselves, not just quickly grab something to eat.”
Terry Darden, who plays racquetball with friends weeknights but focuses on cooking during the tournament, is a “great chef” known for grilled meats, prime rib, smoked ham with scalloped potatoes, and rib eye steaks served with side dishes, salad and baked potatoes. The last match of the evening should be finished by 6:00 or 6:30 p.m., so everyone has time to change and get ready to eat. This year, they’ve invited a comedian for entertainment during supper, served at the St. Dominic Parish Center, nearby the club.
The Garden City YMCA is a Christian and family-based facility with four courts onsite, plus they use two more at the local community college during the event. The more intimate atmosphere means that the nearly 70 competitors can more easily watch and mingle with the pros, or even play alongside them by bidding to pair up with their favorites who then keep the money raised.
Most of all, Crase enjoys how the 23rd Annual Turkey Shootout will bring top pros to the Garden City YMCA, introduce kids to the sport, build community, and raise the excitement for players who can stay close to home and watch upper-echelon racquetball. “Most of the pros will just sit and talk to the people in the community. It’s awesome.”