Saturday, November 16, 2013

IRT 23rd Annual Turkey Shoot - Carson & Beltran win semis

It will be #1 versus #2 in the final of the 23rd Annual Turkey Shoot International Racquetball Tour (IRT) event in Garden City, Kansas on Sunday, although both Rocky Carson and Alvaro Beltran needed to survive early onslaughts by their respective opponents, Ben Croft and Jose Rojas.

Top seed Carson was up 8-2 in game one against Croft, but then Croft went one of his streaks as he ran off nine unanswered points to win it 11-8, when Carson skipped a shot to end a long rally in which Croft made a great get by diving to the left and hitting the ball to the ceiling.

Both players were serving drive serves and if necessary drive Z serves on second serve throughout the match.

In game two, Carson again had the lead early at 5-1, and again Croft came back to tie it at 6-6. But this time Carson got it to 10-6, and although Croft did hold him there and scored a couple more points of his own, Carson was able to finish it off with a jam serve to the left that jumped across the court and Croft could barely get his racquet on let alone return.

Carson led all the way in game three, although never by four, and Croft did narrow the lead to 8-6. But Carson closed it out at 11-7, as Croft skipped a backhand.

Game four was all Carson as he went out to an 8-0 that Croft had no real response to. The winning point came with Carson drive serving to the right - moss of his drive serves were to the left - Croft returned it cross court, and Carson hit a soft backhand pinch to the left corner for the match winner.

Afterwards, Croft admitted he skipped more balls that he should have, feeling that his timing was off. But with a couple more minor tournaments coming up, he's hopes to be in good form for the New Jersey Open in December.

In the first semi-final, Rojas almost blew Beltran off the court in the first game, winning 11-4. However, he couldn't keep up that pace, and Beltran switched from his typical lob serving on the right side to drive serving to both sides. Beltran did lob serve some of second serve, but Rojas wasn't as comfortable with it after the first game, when he ate those lob serves up.

They were close in game two, as they were tied at 5-5, but it was all Beltran after that as he won 28 of the next 34 points. Both of the the winning points in games three and four were Rojas skips, as it just wasn't his day.

Beltran has made back to back finals for the first time in a year, as he was also finalists in Davison, Michigan and New Jersey last season. If Beltran wins Sunday, he will be the first player other than Kane Waselenchuk to win back to back events since Carson won two in a row in the 2008-09 season (the Juarez Open and the California Open).

The final will be broadcast live via the IRT Network at noon on Sunday.

2013 23rd Turkey Shoot
Garden City, Kansas

Semi-finals - Saturday

Rocky Carson d. Ben Croft, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3
Alvaro Beltran d. Jose Rojas, 4-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-3

Final - Sunday

Rocky Carson v. Alvaro Beltran - Noon CDT

Follow the bouncing ball….

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