Rocky Carson and Daniel De La Rosa will face off Saturday night in the final of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Raising Some Racquet for Kids tournament in Dayton, Ohio. Carson reached the final by defeated Samuel Murray in one semi-final, 10-12, 11-0, 11-9, 11-2, and De La Rosa came back from 2-1 down to get a win over Jansen Allen in five games, 11-5, 10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 11-1.
Carson had a slow start against Murray, as he was down 6-3 in game one. He came back, however, and led late at 10-7. Carson skipped a forehand shot at that point, which gave Murray, playing in his first IRT semi-final, an opportunity. Murray took full advantage, as he scored five points on consecutive rallies to take game one, 12-10.
Carson’s response to losing game one was swift, and firm, as he won game two without giving up a point. Carson carried that momentum over into game three, as he went out to a 7-2 lead. Murray called a timeout then, which began a comeback.
Murray tied the game at 8-8, but he could get a lead as they went back and forth before the veteran Carson closed it out at 11-9 after Murray skipped a backhand return of a Z serve to the left.
Early in game four, Murray dove to retrieve a ball, and went down hard. He took an injury timeout, but continued to play. However, he seemed slowed by the injury, and was never really in the game, as Carson won it comfortably, 11-2, closing out the match in four games.
De La Rosa took the first game against Allen, 11-5, although they were close early in the game. De La Rosa continued to carry the play early in game two, but Allen keep fighting and he tied the game at 7-7, and then went on to win 12-10.
Allen continued to play strong in game three, and never trailed as he took an 8-2 lead, and went on to win 11-7 and lead the match 2-1. But the table’s turned in game four, as De La Rosa got the early lead, and was never behind as he went on to win 11-4 and force a tie-breaker.
In the breaker, De La Rosa got off to a great start with a 5-0 lead. Allen got a point to make it 5-1, but that was all he got, as De La Rosa went on to win 11-1 and take the match in five games.
Carson and De La Rosa have played 20 times on the IRT, and Carson has won 13 of those matches. Their last two meetings were this season, and Carson won them both: at the US Open and the California Open.
Carson has won at least one tournament for six straight seasons, but has yet to do so this season. De La Rosa won his second career event in January in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The IRT Network will broadcast the final at 7:30 PM.
2017 IRT Raising Some Racquet for Kids, March 23-25
Semi-finals - Saturday
1) Rocky Carson d. Samuel Murray, 10-12, 11-0, 11-9, 11-2
2) Daniel De La Rosa d. 6) Jansen Allen, 11-5, 10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 11-1
Final - Saturday
1) Rocky Carson v. 2) Daniel De La Rosa - 7:30 PM
Follow the bouncing ball….