1-Wall SMALL-bALL Points Race 2004

Pro Tour Stop #1 - “Rematch of 2003 USHA Nationals”

May 1, 2004 - 2004 YMCA 1-Wall Singles, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

      Cool temperatures and cloudy skies kept the crowd small, but enthusiasm high for Saturday's YMCA 1-Wall Singles.  The men's division featured a possible career changing victory for Cesar Sala.  Cesar reached the finals with a victory over Mike Ross in the first round.  His next opponent was multi-champion Joe Durso. Joe, in the twilight of a great career, scored a respectable 15 points.  A featured quarterfinal match pitted the 2002 USHA champion PeeWee Castro against former USHA champion Robert Sostre. Castro lead 19-11 and was seemingly still in command at 22-19 when a controversial avoidable hinder was called and shifted the momentum in Robert's favor.  Sostre wound up winning the match 25-22.  Sala was on a mission against Sostre; the end result was a one-sided 25-7 victory.

    In the bottom half, Tony Roberts was staring at a tough draw.  A week before the tournament Roberts was undecided about playing citing his lack of conditioning.  But practice matches, during the week, with Al Apuzzi and Robert Sostre convinced the current National singles champion that he wouldn't embarrass himself.  His first opponent was Milton Jones.  Tony needed to work for a 25-17 win.  Next up was Jesus Ayala, who beat Al Apuzzi 25-13.  The buzz started before the match about Jesus' devastating serve.  Well, he certainly lived up to the advance billing pushing Tony before falling 25-21.  Waiting in the wings was Satish Jagnandan who left Joe Kaplan and big blue ace George Figueroa on 9 and 8 respectively.  In the back of Roberts' mind must have been the memory of the shutout he suffered at the hands of Satish at Bailey Park. Mixing up his serves, and killing everything he reached, Tony prevailed 25-20.

    We were now set for a rematch of the 2003 National singles final.  First to reach doubles figures, Cesar lead 11-7. But Tony went on an incredible run as Cesar seemed to have a meltdown and trailed by as many as 8 points at 19-11.  It was here were Sala dug in his heels and refused to accept defeat.  Like a fighter trailing on all scorecards knowing he needs a knockout.  Cesar went for it, he attacked but with high percentage shots not recklessness.  He exhibited all the skills; serve, speed, power, off-hand that handball fans marvel but which has produced, until Saturday, a spotty winning record.  Roberts was showing possible signs of weariness, but unlike baseball you can't signal in Mariano Rivera to finish the game. Cesar persevered 25-22.

View news headlines at MSNBC

SMALL-BALL POINTS RACE 2004

POINTS SYSTEM
The three criterias for the small-ball points system are
(1) Points – Achievement
(2) Points - Quality Wins and
(3) Differential Points.

(1) Points - Achievement
NON-MAJOR POINTS
Did Not Play (DNP) - 0 point
Quarterfinalist - 25 points
Semifinalist - 50 points
Finalist - 75 points
Winner - 100 points
MAJOR POINTS
Did Not Play (DNP) - 0 point
Quarterfinalist - 50 points
Semifinalist - 75 points
Finalist - 100 points
Winner - 125 points

(2) Points - Quality Wins
a. Victory against #1 seeded player – 10 points
b. Victory against #2 seeded player – 8 points
c. Victory against #3 seeded player – 6 points
d. Victory against #4 seeded player – 4 points

(3) Differential Points = Points Scored ÷ Points Allowed
Note: Differential Points will only be considered in the Round 16, Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals.

Pro Tour Stop #2 - “Jagnandan Stops Sostre”

May 15, 2004 - ATH Pro Ball Singles, Liberty Park, Queens

     Pro Stop #2 was marred with cancellations and defaults.  Many of the top pros, Tony Roberts, Joe Kaplan, Eddie Maisonet, Kendell Lewis and Willie Polanco pulled out at the last minute due to various injuries. With on-court temperature hovering around 95 degrees many of the competitors struggled with dehydration and fatigue.  Satish Jagnandan, Robert Sostre, PeeWee Castro and Milton Jones managed to survive the early rounds to reach the semifinals with convincing victories.  Pro tour stop #1 winner Cesar Sala was not so lucky losing to Carlos Lopez 25-22 in the first round.  Lopez evidently ran out of gas in a 25-7 lost to Jones in the second round.

    With the semi-finals and finals the best 2 out of 3 twenty-one point games with an 11-point tiebreaker, endurance was a key factor in determining a champion.  Satish Jagnandan served and killed his way pass a determined PeeWee Castro 21-8, 21-16.  In the other semifinal, Robert “Iceman” Sostre outlasted last year USHA B-Singles National Champion Milton Jones 19-21, 21-15, 11-4.  In the finals, Jagnandan served 23 aces in a 21-4 and 21-4 win over Sostre.

 

2004 Season - Top 16 Small Ball Players - After 5 Pro Tour Stops

With only three pro tour stops remaining, Satish Jagnandan continues to occupy the number one spot on the 2004 Small-Ball Points Race.  Last year number one, Cesar Sala (currently number two) must win at least two pro tour stops and hope for his rivals to falter in order to regain the top spot.  This scenario seems unlikely but with the emergence of Victor Lopierre and the revitalized Joe Kaplan, Eddie Maisonet, Kendell Lewis, Willie Polanco and Dave Rojas anything is possible. 

Player

Total Points

Current Rank

Satish Jagnandan

523.35

1

Cesar Sala

431.01

2

Yuber “PeeWee” Castro

204.78

3

Robert “Iceman” Sostre

202.55

4

Tony Roberts

178.26

5

John "Rookie" Wright

159.03

6

Joe Kaplan

127.87

7

Willie Polanco

112.20

8

Milton Jones

102.57

9

Eddie Maisonet

76.33

10

Victor Lopierre

57.76

11

Jesus Ayala

52.33

12

Kendell Lewis

51.19

13

David Rojas

50.79

14

Carlos Lopez

35.69

15

Joe "Legend" Durso

26.59

16

Player

Total Points

Current Rank

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Pro Stop #1
Coney Island Invitation
Coney Island, Brooklyn
May 1, 2004
Sala defeats Roberts

Pro Stop #2
ATH Pro Ball Singles
Liberty Park, Queens
May 15, 2004
Jagnandan defeats Sostre

Pro Stop #3
Mayor’s Cup (Major)
Orchard Beach, Bronx
July 17-18, 2004
Jagnandan defeats Sala

Pro Stop #4
USHA Nationals (Major)
Coney Island, Brooklyn
August 5-8, 2004
Jagnandan defeats Wright

Pro Stop #5
Utopia Open
Utopia, Queens
August 14, 2004
Sala defeats Jagnandan

Pro Stop #6
Marty O’Malley Classic
Bailey Avenue, Bronx
September 18, 2004

Pro Stop #7
ATH Pro Ball Singles
Liberty Park, Queens
October 9, 2004 (Tentative)

Pro Stop #8
H.E.S. Invitational
Brooklyn (Indoors)
November 14, 2004 (Tentative)

 

 

Pro Tour Stop #3 - “Jagnandan Wins Second in a Row”
July 17-18, 2004 - ICHA Mayor’s Cup, Orchard Beach, Bronx, NY

 

The 2004 10th Annual Mayor’s Cup Tournament

 Men's Pro Singles – Satish Jagnandan defeats Cesar Sala

Final Score: (18-21, 21-5, 11-9)

First Place

Satish Jagnandan

Bronx

Second Place

Cesar Sala

Brooklyn

Semi-finalist

Joe Kaplan

Brooklyn

Semi-finalist

Robert Sostre

Manhattan


Pro Tour Stop #4 - “Jagnandan Finally Wins It All” August 5-8, 2004 – USHA Nationals, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

      For the sixth year in a row a new Men's Singles champion was crowned at the National One-Wall Tournament. Satish Jagnandan, a highly regarded player, known for his deadly serve, fierce competitiveness and friendliness on and off the court defeated John "Rookie" Wright, the sport's top blue ball player (17) 8 and 8.  Satish jumped off to a 17-8 lead in the first game before Rookie astounded the crowd by roaring to a 21-17 victory.  Instead of allowing the loss to defeat him, Satish showed a true champion's attitude, sucking up the disappointment and coming out strong in both the second game and the tie-breaker.  He played close to flawless ball, combining deadly serves, offhand points and timely kills from deep in the court.  Just as impressively, Satish was able to match the steady volleying of Rookie, a player well known for his stamina and power.  Satish can no longer be called the best player to never have won a National USHA Championship.

Pro Tour Stop #5 - “A Star is Born”

August 14, 2004 - 2004 Utopia Open

     In every tournament, there are always surprises and upsets.  The 2004 Utopia Open sponsored by Leecon Construction Inc. was no exception as players and spectators saw the emergence of 19 year-old Victor Lopierre.  In his fifth Open Singles small-ball tournament, the young phenom defeated accomplished veterans Robert “Iceman” Sostre, Jesus Ayala and Tony Roberts, enroute to a semifinal showdown with number one seed, Satish Jagnandan (who handily defeated Jonathan Iglesias, Raul Retian and Eddie Maisonet).  Lopierre’s inability to read and return Jagnandan serves proved to be the difference in a 25-2 defeat.  After the game, Lopierre said he “felt lost out there” but will not let this loss tarnish his wonderful performance.  The other half of the draw saw number two seed, Cesar Sala narrowly defeating opponents Jason Morgan, Frank Rivera, Yuber “PeeWee” Castro and Willie Polanco.  Sala’s resilience and resolve helped him survived a determined Castro, who served for the match at 24-24 in the quarterfinals.

Over the past two years the best rivalry in the sport has been Satish Jagnandan and Cesar Sala.  This rivalry has surpassed the legendary big-blue battles between John “Rookie” Wright and “Lefty” George Figueroa.  These competitors have meet five times over the past two seasons – (three semifinals and two finals) with Cesar winning on three occasions.  This past weekend (August 14, 2004), Sala defeated Jagnandan, the 2004 Mayor Cup and USHA National champion 25-22 in an epic battle of serve and defense.  The match seesawed back and forth with no player enjoying more than a three point advantage.  Many consider Jagnandan the premier offensive player in the game today but Sala frustrated his rival with an array of passing shots and spectacular retrieves.  With Jagnandan clinging to 22-19 lead, Sala saved his best for last, forcing Jagnandan into two costly unforced errors on his way to serving out the match.  Many spectators commented, “this was the best handball game they had ever witnessed”.  The mutual respect between these players was evident throughout the match with both players applauding each other shots and effort and even calling faults and two-bounces on themselves.

This is the first professional competition sponsored by Jonathan Lee’s Leecon Construction Incorporation.  The total purse for the 2004 Utopia Open was $1,450 (1st - $1,000, 2nd - $250, 3rd - $100, $4th - $100), which rivaled some of the more established tournaments like the 2004 Mayor’s Cup ($700) and the 2004 USHA Nationals ($1,500).  The next tournament sponsored by this company will be held in the spring of 2005 with a total purse of $3,500 (1st - $2,000, 2nd - $1,000, 3rd - $250, $4th - $250).  Leecon Construction Incorporation is looking forward for your participation in the future to make this tournament the most prestigious on the small-ball tour.

 Next Pro Tour Stop:

Marty O’Malley ClassicBailey Avenue, Bronx, NY

September 18, 2004 - Pro Open Singles                

Note: Satish Jagnandan will be attempting to win his sixth consecutive open singles title at Bailey Avenue.

 

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