2009 World Cup of Trick Shots - Semifinal #1
USA Shot #1 USA - 1 Europe - 0
Team USA opened up with Tom Rossman picking this aerial dexterity shot. Five balls are sequentially jumped off the far side rail, up in the air, caught free-handed, and then deposited into a pocket. On his first attempt, Rossman looked like a robot until hitting the last ball a little too sharply and was unable to catch it. He made the adjustment on his second attempt though and easily picked up a point. Luke Szywala came in for Europe, substituting for Stefano Pelinga. He looked close to getting the shot, but inexplicably missed putting one of the balls into the side pocket with his hand.
Europe Shot #1 USA - 1 Europe - 1
Pelinga pulled out this quick-firing jump shot for Europe's first challenge. An object ball is propping up a rack on the spot while two are hanging in the corner pockets. The cue ball is inside the rack and hits the first ball out from under the rack to pocket one of the balls. Before that ball is sunk though, the cue ball is hit again, jumping out of the rack and pocketing the other ball in the corner pocket. Pelinga made the shot look easy, although not particularly known for his speed. Mike Massey came in for USA's attempt and was unable to quickly transition for the second hit, missing the shot.
USA Shot #2 USA - 1 Europe - 1
This next shot required a little teamwork, a little speed, and some juggling skills. Each player would hit the cue ball twice three rails around the obstacle with an airbridge, alternating for two turns each. The second person would shoot the eighth shot three rails into the rack pocketing the two balls. All the hits had to be performed within 25 seconds. While the shot looks simple, it was difficult for both teams as neither was able to carry it all the way to completion.
Europe Shot #2 USA - 2 Europe - 1
Szywala tried some reverse psychology by picking out the Green Monster jump, invented by Bruce Barthelette. The cue ball is launched through the air the length of the table and into a baseball glove. It was, perhaps, a slight error as the ball dropped out of the glove on Szywala's second attempt. Massey subbed for Rossman for the USA's attempt and was able to hit the webbing, restoring USA's lead.
USA Shot #3 USA - 2 Europe - 1
Rossman pulled out this nifty version of a coin wrapper shot for USA's next challenge where the 6, 7, 8, and 9 ball all go into the same side pocket, in rotation. The 7 and 9 balls start out on the coin wrappers while the 6 and 8 balls are hanging by the side pockets. The cue ball takes out the coin wrappers and pockets the 6 ball in the side. The 7 and 9 balls drop, sending the 7 into the same side while the 9 ball rolls towards the 8. As it's rolling, the 8 ball is jumped over the 9 ball into the side pocket and the 9 ball is re-hit straight into the side. Rossman and Pelinga both ended up launching the 8 ball off the table, failing to complete the shot.
Europe Shot #3 USA - 3 Europe - 2
Europe fired back with another long distance jump shot, this time launching the balls into a box with small target holes. Szywala and Pelinga teamed up nicely, each making their shot. Rossman and Massey were up to the task though, even though power jumping isn't exactly Rossman's strengths.
USA Shot #4 USA - 4 Europe - 2
The USA teamed up for another partner shot, this one combining the Circular Draw and the Off The Rail Jump shot that Rossman used to open the match. The Circular Draw is hit first. After the object ball is pocketed, the Off The Rail Jump shot is hit. The ball is caught and set down and then shot again to take out a coin wrapper propping up the final ball hanging it by the corner pocket. The cue ball comes back and pockets it. Massey and Rossman timed it to perfection to pick up a point. Europe got unlucky on their first attempt as Pelinga's draw didn't have enough speed and the coin wrapper ended up in its way. Europe was unable to make the shot as the USA extended their lead to two.
Europe Shot #4 USA - 4 Europe - 2
Szywala came back with this version of the Split Jump. Two cue balls, initially frozen together are jumped simultaneously towards the corner pockets. They pocket a ball in each corner and set off a chain reaction on each side, with the help of the cue sticks, to also pocket a ball in each opposite corner. Szywala got a bit unlucky as he was unable to set off one side of the chain reactions. Rossman looked out of sorts in his attempts though, unable to extend the lead.
USA Shot #5 USA - 5 Europe - 2
The classic railroad shot was Rossman's next pick. The 7 ball splits the 1 and the 2, then goes around the table three rails, up the cue sticks, switches tracks, comes back down the other sticks, dislodging the rest of the balls to come down as well, so the cue ball pockets the 3 ball and rolls out the way and the 4 through 7 roll into the side pocket. Rossman nailed the shot, complete with the train whistle as it was nearing completion. Szywala, on the other hand, must have felt snakebit as his first attempt failed to dislodge the row of balls on the cue sticks and his second attempt saw the row of balls roll wide of the side pocket.
Europe Shot #5 USA - 5 Europe - 3
Regrouping himself, Szywala came back with this dexterous timing shot. A rubber ball is held in a cone and is bounced between one and three times. Before it is caught in the cone again, a ball is hit and pockets either the 1, 2, or 3 ball hanging in the pockets, all within 9 seconds. Szywala's biggest challenge on this shot was trying to explain it in his non-native English! Otherwise, the shot came out very routine for him. Massey showed a slight lack of coordination, unable to make the shot.
USA Shot #6 USA - 5 Europe - 3
Wanting to extend the lead, Massey pulled out the Triple Reverse. The cue ball is banked off the three rails, reversing with a tremendous amount of spin on the last rail to pocket the combination hanging in the side pocket, all the while avoiding the glass. Unfortunately, neither Massey nor Pelinga could quite get enough spin on the cue ball to get the shot to go.
Europe Shot #6 USA - 6 Europe - 3
Needing to cut into the lead even more, Pelinga tried the Vertical Jump Masse, with the cue ball having to travel beyond the second diamond before making its U-turn. Normally one of Pelinga's strengths, he was unable to make the shot, mistakingly curving the cue ball to the left on his second attempt. Rossman was able to summon all of his strength and made the shot look easy, picking up another point and restoring the three point margin.
USA Shot #7 USA - 7 Europe - 4
Just looking to add points, Rossman went with the classic Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye shot. The cue stick hits the cue ball, which hits a blocking object ball as they both clear out of the way. The cue stick continues through to hit another object ball, which hits the final object ball in the line sending it in and out of the bag and into the corner pocket. This is a staple of Rossmans and he had no problem hitting the shot clinching a tie for the USA. Szywala was able to make it too, holding on the glimmer of hope for Europe.
Europe Shot #7 USA - 7 Europe - 5
With little time left to make a comeback, Szywala picked what has become to be known as the Easy Button shot. The cue ball is juggled three times around the table, each time hitting three cushions. In between each time, five balls are rapidly pocketed in one of the pockets, the first time in the corner pocket with an air bridge, the second time in the side pocket with a grounded bridge, and the third time left handed. The third hit on the cue ball sends it around the table and into the corner pocket, possibly with the help of the cue butt, but not before all of the object balls have been pocketed. Szywala hit the shot with ease. Massey again was suspect to his speed and dexterity as he was unable to clinch the victory.
USA Shot #8 USA - 8 Europe - 5
The victory celebration wasn't on hold for long though as Massey made this spinning jump shot. The cue ball is jumped out of the rack and around the blocking balls. It spins off the short rail, possibly into the cue stick and is guided back down to make a hanging ball in the corner pocket. Massey hit it on his first attempt to seal the win and a point for the USA heading in to the finals.
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