Saturday, April 2, 2016

Carson wins 2016 IRT Raising Some Racquet for Kids

Rocky Carson defeated Alvaro Beltran, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, to win the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Raising Some Racquet for Kids tournament in Huber Heights, Ohio. The victory is Carson’s second the season, and solidifies his spot as the #2 ranked IRT player. With IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk undergoing hernia surgery earlier this week, there may be a chance that Carson could overtake him for the #1 spot at season’s end, as it’s uncertain when Waselenchuk will return to action. But there are only three event left in the season.

Saturday night’s final was hard fought. They were close all the way in game one, although after being tied at 4-4, Carson got a slight lead at 6-4, and never gave it up, winning 11-7.

Beltran fell behind in game two, 5-1, but came back to tie it at 6-6, before falling behind again 9-6. However, this time Carson couldn’t finish, as Beltran came back and scored five unanswered points to win 11-9.

Game three was similar, as Beltran fell behind, but this time the deficit was larger at 9-0, and although Beltran scored some points, he couldn’t make up that large a difference, as Carson won 11-6. But in game four, Beltran was up the whole way, leading 3-0, 7-4 and winning 11-8.

That set up a tie-breaker, which again saw Carson taking the early lead at 5-0. Beltran again dug in, and started coming back. He cut the difference to two at 5-3. Carson extended it again to 7-3. Beltran got within one at 7-6, and then complained that Carson was taking too long to put the ball into play.

Carson plays at a notoriously slow pace, but Beltran’s pace of play isn’t much faster, and to complain about Carson’s slow play for the first time midway through the fifth game of the match seemed like odd timing. This after Carson hit an ace drive serve to the right side. Carson hit a jam serve to the left that caused Beltran to skip his return shot, and one wondered if Beltran had lost it.

But Carson was called for an avoidable on the next rally, which he disputed. Yet Beltran got the serve back, and a point also when Carson skipped a backhand pinch shot.

They went back and forth a few more times, and Beltran picked up two more points to tie the game at 9-9, and looked like he might pull out the win. But then a strange play happened, where Beltran dove for a shot, hitting the ball to the right, but preventing Carson from playing the next shot, as Carson fell over Beltran. Carson wanted an avoidable, and Beltran felt he should win the rally, because he made his shot and Carson didn’t. The referee called a hinder, which seemed like the reasonable call.

But Beltran skipped a backhand on the next rally, giving Carson back the serve. Carson hit two great backhand pinch shots for winners from deep in the left corner, the second of which even seemed like a splat, and with that the match was over.

The win is Carson’s 23rd in his career, and puts him into 6th spot all time, breaking a tie he had at 22 wins with Jason Mannino. Head to head with Beltran, Carson is now 23 wins and 20 losses over their lengthy careers.

The final three events of the 2015-16 IRT season are the Florida Pro-Am April 28-May 1 in Sarasota, Florida, the ProKennex Tournament of Champions, May 12-15 in Portland, Oregon, and the Coast to Coast California Open in Reseda, California May 19-22.

2016 Raising Some Racquet for Kids, March 31-April 3
Huber Heights, Ohio


2) Rocky Carson d. 4) Alvaro Beltran, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

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