Our annual 1 on 1 tournament is the first leg of the bocce triple crown, and how we determine who the best bocce player in Syracuse is. So, what does it mean to be named the best bocce player in Syracuse?
I wanted to find out so I took a poll. Not just any poll though, I stuck to the experts . . . according to L.L. Cool J, Cool Moe Dee, Coolio, and Cool and the Gang there’s nobody cooler than the best bocce player in Syracuse, and that’s a fact.
I’m gonna knock you out . . . of the 1 on 1 tournament!
Of course nobody can simply proclaim themselves the best bocce player in Syracuse. We determine such things scientifically, through a double elimination 1 on 1 tournament.
This year’s winner had to emerge from a particularly grueling 10 hour tournament in 100 degree heat. And, since four teams came two hours early to get some make up games in, a few of the participants actually spent 12 hours in the blistering heat playing bocce.
If you want to know who the participants were, check out the blind draw we did HERE.
I wont detail every game of this marathon tournament, for fear that it will take as long to read as it did to play, but I’ll give you a few highlights.
All you need to see is one highlight of the game between former Best Bocce Player In Syracuse Monica Angelosanto and Bernard LeVine to see the high level of bocce that was being played. Check out all those balls surrounding the pallino! Monica Angelosanto eventually won the game.
Rick Heffernan (whose team is in first place in the league) puts in a great bocce from distance against Mark Streiff (whose team is in third place in the league), but Mark would eventually win the game and advance.
Colin Donahoe puts in an excellent opening shot against Mike Weiss, but eventually Mike will come out with the win . . . spoiler alert, both players end up having strong tournaments.
John Bauman puts in a sweet shot against George Christou in an epic first round match up. John won that battle, but George eventually won the war and moved into the winners bracket.
In a rematch of the 2014 championship, Phil Martino matched up with Monica Angelosanto, and the game was even better than the 2014 version, with Phil Martino winning in overtime 12-10.
The surprise of the tournament had to be Jim Flint, who has only played three games with Turbo Bocce, but had a great run, defeating last years champion Greg Griffo on his way to the final four of the winners bracket. You know he was playing great bocce when Jim Whipple was forced to stray from his preferred long balls to win. As you can see below Jim was able to dominate in the short game and eventually win.
Jim Flint and Jim Whipple made up one half of the final four (of the winners bracket) and Phil Martino and Scott Mead made up the other half. In my opinion, the turning point of the entire tournament came in the game between Phil Martino and Scott Mead. Scott was up 9-3 when the sun and 100 degree heat got to Phil and he threw up (would you call that sun stroke?). You’d think that would be bad news for Phil, but it seemed to wake him up. He came back and eventually won 12-10.
While Phil was recovering in the shade with some water and an ice pack, Jim Flint played Mike Aylesworth in the losers bracket with Mike winning a close game with a bocce, and Scott Mead played Monica Angelosanto, with Monica getting the win.
This created a final four of Monica Angelosanto, Mike Aylesworth, Jim Whipple and Phil Martino.
Mike Aylesworth and Monica Angelosanto played with the winner set to face off against the loser of Jim Whipple and Phil Martino. Mike Aylesworth was on target in this game, bocceing out every good shot Monica made. In one game Mike had a bocce with 3 of his four shots, which I feel has to be some kind of record. He got the point in that round, and emerged with a win in the game.
Meanwhile Phil had to recover quickly and face off against a red hot Jim Whipple. You’d think that Jim would have the advantage in this game (at least I did) but Phil hardly missed a shot, eventually beating Jim 12-0 in one of the most impressive performances you’ll ever see on a bocce field.
Jim Whipple now had to face Mike Aylesworth with the winner earning the chance to meet Phil Martino in the championship. As you can see below Mike continued knocking every good shot out, and beat Whipple to earn a trip to the championship game.
Mike had one loss (to Phil earlier in the day) and Phil had zero losses, so Mike had to beat Phil twice in order to win the title of Best Bocce Player in Syracuse, while Phil had to beat Mike just once. Remember when I mentioned that a few people came to the field two hours before the tournament started to play a make up game? Well Phil and Mike were both there. So when the championship started around 9 pm they had already been playing about eleven straight hours of bocce and were probably a little closer to death than they ever wanted a bocce game to take them. Still they battled on.
Mike gave Phil his first loss of the day with an 11-5 win, forcing one last winner take all game in the dark to determine the best bocce player in Syracuse.
Phil started the second game off right with a four point round, and never looked back, eventually winning the game and the title under the lights after 12 straight hours of bocce.
The first leg of the bocce triple crown and the title of best bocce player in Syracuse now belongs to Phil. After finishing second and third in the last two 1 on 1 tournaments Phil finally gets ultimate glory for himself. He is also the first to complete the career triple crown already having a Turbo Bocce championship and an Italian Fest championship to his name. Congrats Phil, I’m not up on which super heroes the kids are into now a days . . . is it still Captain Caveman? If so, you’re a real life Captain Caveman!