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Dominic Pyka, 9-Ball Champ. ~ Dakotah Schmidtknecht

12 year-old Dominic Pyka is a new youth shooter to the world of pool. Together — I as his adult partner — won the WAPPA Jr/Sr 9-Ball Open on August 8th, 2015.

The morning started early and Dominic could barely keep his eyes open, but he knew exactly where his cue was. The tournament was being held at 4 Stools Short in Wisconsin Rapids, WI — a two hour ride and our second attempt at winning this particular tournament.

The place was so huge it had nine Valley bar boxes. The format was round robin, and we had big names like Brandon Jacoby against us. For every match the youths were supposed to lag for break, and let me tell you this kid was unreal. I gave him my break cue because the adults weren’t allowed to break. We got the first break almost every time.

The first break of the day was an instant 9-Ball break. I was shocked. Dominic, being a natural on the 9-Ball break, continued this throughout the day. The only time the nine didn’t drop was if another ball stopped it, otherwise he sent it to the right corner each time. This was unheard of. I hear of players that have to train and practice nonstop to do what he can do on the break, and yet it’s like this kid was built to play 9-Ball.

Towards the end of the day, we had only lost two games and were doing well. After a long break between matches though, we lost our groove and had to play the Jacobys. They tore us to shreds and we only won one game.

Now, with the pressure on us, we had to buckle down and get serious. Our next two matches were a struggle and our final score was 18 win to six losses. Cutting it close when the final scores came, we tied with the Jacobys.

We were in a sudden death game now, winner takes all, and we had to go on a table we hadn’t played at all that day. Our opponents had, so they had the advantage.

They broke, nothing dropped, and the One was pinned so we did a push. Brandon played a safety with an intentional foul, hoping to just cluster everything together. Well, my handy dandy jump cue and I made the shot and got a break out.

Dominic and I then ran four balls off the table. Now it was their turn. With the  Five to Nine balls remaining, the Nine was blocking the Six and the Five had the Seven in the way… not an easy out.

Well, they showed us they weren’t ready to lose either, pulling breakouts and dropping balls. It came down to the eight on one side of the table and the nine on the opposite. They missed the eight, I made it and left Dominic with a thin cut to the corner .

The pressure was on. Dominic took his time, chalked twice, and executed the winning game ball to beat the Jacobys in sudden death for the championship. When I asked if he wanted me to say anything for him, he simply stated that, “9-Ball is awesome.”

Dakotah Schmidtknecht was born in Wisconsin on in 1994. His pool life began with his father. Six months after Dakotah was born, he bought a bar/resort/restaurant, and started shooting league. All Dakotah ever wanted to do was be just like him, so naturally as soon as he could hold a pool stick he did, and he’s been playing since he was four years old. A serious pool career didn’t start until his grandfather bought him his first cue. It was a Minnesota Fatts red light-up cue. He spent days practicing on his Grandfather’s eight foot Olhausen. In his late teens, he started to sub on his dad’s pool team, and went from losing to beating the top players in the league. These days he’s working with the Wisconsin Artistic Pool Players Association as an administrator, and being sponsored by them for artistic pool. “I think my biggest moment in billiards to date is when I met  Florian Kohler, and as my artistic pool grows I am able to ask his advice. It’s amazing to me that a master like him will take time to help an amateur like me.” Photo: provided by author Editor: Kristen Lizzie


This blog brought to you by Jacoby Custom Cues.

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