Top Hat’s Mad Hatters win Trailblazers title, award winners announced

The win marks the Mad Hatters’ fourth Trailblazers League title.


SUPERIOR — The Superior Trailblazers Pool League’s 2022-2023 League Champion is the Top Hat Mad Hatters.

They finished in front of the second place Top Hat 1 by seven rounds. This marks the Mad Hatters’ fourth Trailblazers League title; they previously won in 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2022.

The Mad Hatters finished with a record of 78-27, winning 74.3% of their rounds while outscoring opponents by 1,029 points. The team is captained by Seth Pennington and includes Al Berthiaume, Chad Folken, Nick Kitzman, Brad Moen, Rick Phillips and Jeff Schelin.

Rounding out the top five finishers are: Top Hat 1 (71-34), Charlie Brown's (68-37), Hudy’s Hitmen (64-41) and The Flame (63-42).

Most Valuable Player

Al Berthiaume of Top Hat Mad Hatters is the league's most valuable player.


Berthiaume led the Trailblazers league in average with an impressive 10.5 mark. He also led the league in win percentage, winning 82.5% of his games. Berthiaume won the 2022 ACS National Open 8-Ball Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada in May 2022. He will be a team captain in the Trailblazers All-League Match in April as well.

Runners up: 2. Joe Prigge; 3. Rick Phillipsl 4. Ken Davisl 5. Ed Johnson.

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Most Improved Player

Sandy Vatalaro of Top Hat 502 is the league's most improved player.

Vatalaro is a local pool veteran who has been participating in Duluth/Superior pool leagues since 1978. She unanimously won the award which is voted on by the league president, operator, captains and players. Vatalaro had her best career Trailblazers season in 2022-23 after having her worst on record in 2021-22. This was due to having surgical operations on both eyes mid-season. This year, she improved her average by two full points, she won nearly 22% more of her games and scored nearly six points more per league night.

Runners up: 2. Jill LaJoie; 3. Michelle Swanson.

Rookie of the Year

Ken Davis of Top Hat 1 is the league's rookie of the year.

Davis is no rookie to 8-ball in general, but played in his first Superior Trailblazers League Season in 2022-23. Davis was also an MVP Candidate, making him the first rookie to ever make both ballots. Davis finished with an impressive 10.1 average, won 76.4% of his games and averaged nearly 36 points scored per week. Davis’s Top Hat 1 finished as league runner-up this season.


Runners up: 2. Carol Hill; 3. Kim Gerard.

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