Friday, November 15, 2013

IRT 23rd Turkey Shoot Quarter Finals

The top four seeds are through to the semi-finals at the International Racquetball Tour's (IRT's) 23rd Annual Turkey Shoot in Garden City, Kansas, but it wasn't easy for most of them. Second seed Alvaro Beltran, winner of last weekend's Red Swain Shootout, had the easiest time of it in the quarter finals, as his opponent Daniet De La Rosa retired in the third game of their match due to injury, with Beltran up 2-0 in games.

Word is that De La Rosa had a pre-existing injury from last weekend's event, and reaggravated it today. In addition, he cut his hand diving during the match with Beltran. The combination of injuries led to De La Rosa's decision to retire rather than complete the match.

Beltran will face 3rd seed Jose Rojas in the semi-finals, as Rojas defeated Charlie Pratt, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-7. Pratt started the match well, carrying over his excellent play from his Round of 16 victory over Chris Crowther, as he led 10-6 in game one.

But Rojas put together a three point run at the end of that game to carry some momentum over into game two. In that game, they were back and forth early, but then Rojas scored five straight points to go up 8-4. Pratt called a time-out but to no avail as Rojas won it 11-6.

Game three was all Rojas, and in it he began using some lob serves to the left: Pratt's backhand that Pratt wasn't comfortable returning. Rojas continued using that serve in game four.

Pratt did rebound in game four, as he tied the game at 6-6 and it looked like a fifth game was a possibility. But Rojas snuffed out that possibility winning it 11-7. The match point came on a scramble rally that Rojas ended with a winner to the left side.

Ben Croft, 4th seed, won his match in three straight games, but two of those games went into extra points, as he prevailed over Jansen Allen 12-10, 11-4, 14-12.

Allen is a control type player, and he seemed to be in control of game one, as he scored five straight point late in the game to go from 7-5 down to 10-7 up. But Allen couldn't get the last point as Croft went on a five point run of his own to win it 12-10.

Game two was all Croft, and game three started out the same way, as Croft went up 10-3, serving for the match. However, Allen didn't give up, and fought off four match points as he came back with eight unanswered points to lead 11-10.

But Croft got the serve back, and called a time out. When play resumed, he went back to drive serving, as he had been lob serving - something Croft does not do very often - and the change worked, as scored two points to get another match point.

Again Allen held off Croft, and scored another of his own to make it 12-12. That was where it stopped for Allen, as Croft regained the serve and finished off the match, winning it with a forehand pinch shot to the front right corner.

Top seed Rocky Carson also needed four games to advance, as he beat Tony Carson, 11-5, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6.

If Carson or Croft win this weekend, it will be the first time four different players have won four consecutive IRT events for the first time since the 2011-12 when Carson, Croft, Rojas and Kane Waselenchuk won consecutive events.

Prior to that you need to go back to the end of the 2000-01 season, which ended with wins by Sudsy Monchik, Jason Mannino, John Ellis and Cliff Swain.

Matches can be viewed over the web via the IRT Network.

2013 23rd Turkey Shoot
Garden City, Kansas

Quarter finals - Friday

Rocky Carson d. Tony Carson, 11-5, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6
Ben Croft d. Jansen Allen, 12-10, 11-4, 14-12

Jose Rojas d. Charlie Pratt, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-7
Alvaro Beltran d. Daniel De La Rosa, 11-6, 11-9, 5-2, injury forfeit

Semi-finals - Saturday

Rocky Carson v. Ben Croft - 5 PM CST
Alvaro Beltran v. Jose Rojas - 4 PM CST

Follow the bouncing ball….

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