Our end of the season tournament is a long and grueling competition. After nine straight hours of bocce followed by several more hours of partying I went home and slept like a baby . . . and by that I mean I woke up crying with a boob in my mouth.
There is a lot of bocce action to cover, so lets get right to it.
– Round of 16
29 seed Twinning vs. 20 seed Bocce Like Its Hot
Vegas was high on Bocce Like Its Hot all tournament, correctly predicting them to have one of the bigger upsets in the previous round, and following that up by giving Bocce Like Its Hot a 65% chance of victory over Twinning in this game. On the other hand, Twinning had no problem bucking the Vegas odds to this point, and they continued that trend by beating Bocce Like Its Hot 11-5 in the first game, behind six points, and five big bocces by Jessica Blake. In the second game Twinning nearly sealed the upset, but Bocce Like Its Hot managed to keep their season alive by squeaking out a narrow 11-9 victory. Jeff Williams of Bocce Like Its Hot caught fire in the third game and lead his team to a narrow victory in one of the most closely fought match-up’s of the day by scoring 8 big points. This felt like the kind of game where you knew the winner was destined for big things no matter which team that happened to be.
12 seed Kiss My Ace vs. 5 seed 2 ½ Kittens
Vegas gave 2 ½ Kittens a 63% chance at victory in this game. You might think it should have been a little closer to even odds given the closeness of the seeds, and if you do think that way, you’re right – unlike Vegas. In the first game, Kiss My Ace managed a tight 11-9 win behind seven points by Angelo Isgro. The second game almost identically resembled the first, as Kiss My Ace earned the upset win with another close 11-8 victory, behind another seven points by Angelo Isgro.
1 seed Redskin Jones & The Cracker vs. 17 seed Blue Balls
Vegas gave Redskin Jones & The Cracker an 80% chance of victory in this game, but there are a few things Vegas didn’t know. First, Robb Jones was not playing with the partner who he won the regular season title with. Second, Sean Flynn of Blue Balls is back after missing a lot of the season protecting our country and forcing his partner to play with a sub. Third, Sean Flynn was wearing a Superman Shirt. I couldn’t find any mathematical formulas that break down how many extra points your team is likely to get if you wear a Superman shirt, but I figure its got to be good for something. Anyway, Blue Balls won the first game 11-6. The regular season champs came back in the second game to avoid the upset with a narrow 11-9 win, but that momentum did not last as Blue Balls won the third game, and the series 11-7. Those are the facts of the game. As a part-time observer, I can tell you that the level of bocce being played here was as good as it gets. It felt like every shot was either an ace or a ball that bocced out an ace. Fantastic playing by both teams, probably the best game of the day. Its a shame either had to lose.
24 seed Dripping Stallions vs. 8 seed Omnipotence
Vegas gave Omnipotence a 64% chance of victory in this game, but Dripping Stallions were the team with momentum, having knocked off our defending champions in the previous round. The shot of this game came when Omnipotence were in for three points (and game) when Dripping Stallions bocced out their three balls and bocced in four of their own. A seven point swing, and a swing of an entire game in one shot. Dripping Stallions would go on to win the series, and be one of only two teams in this tournament to beat two top ten opponents. Not a bad run for a couple of rookies!
34 seed Red Rockets vs. 15 seed Breakfast of Champions
Vegas gave Breakfast of Champions a 63% chance of victory, but in the first four rounds of the first game the Red Rockets had a 9-1 lead, proving that Vegas doesn’t know much. They eventually went on to win the first game 11-4. In the second game Breakfast of Champions found their footing, and won 11-7, setting up a very well played final game with the series on the line. In this last one Breakfast of Champions were able to ride their momentum to a narrow 11-9 victory and move on, already tired, after that tough first game.
10 seed Droppin Balls vs. 26 seed Bocce Against the Machine
Vegas gave Droppin Balls a 63% chance of victory (doesn’t it seem like all their predictions seem to be falling right in this range, no matter how close or far the two teams happen to be seeded?). However, much like with the Dripping Stallions, Bocce Against the Machine came into this game with momentum, having beaten the league’s seventh ranked team. Bocce Against the Machine kept that momentum by winning the first game 12-7. That game was close but the second game was even closer. As close as a game can be, by rule. Bocce Agianst the Machine did get the win, however, 11-9. Moving onto the next round, and becoming the second team in this tournament to upset not one, but two top ten teams.
3 seed Black Jesus vs. 19 seed Two Che
Vegas gave Black Jesus a 73% chance of victory, but as the first game come to a close Two Che found themselves with a 9-8 lead. At that point Black Jesus went on a run, scoring the next three points, and earning the 11-8 win. In the second game took both teams all over the place, including way down the usually unused areas of the filed. No matter where the games were played, John Bauman dominated, scoring nine big points. Two Che put up another good fight, but eventually lost 11-7.
11 seed Boccelism vs. 6 seed Balls On Your Ace
Vegas gave Balls On Your Ace a 57% chance of victory, but Vegas has not been doing very well in their predictions. Boccelism dominated the first game of this match up with an 11-5 win over the favorites. But in the second game Balls On Your Ace came back, and won 12-2. They had momentum on their side at this point, and never looked back, winning the third game, and the series, 11-0.
Round of 16 analysis – Vegas predicted zero upsets, but didn’t do very well in their predictions, going 4-4. That means, of course that half the games played ended in upsets. You’ve got to love bocce playoffs, anybody can win. To me the standout wins were Bocce Against the Machine beating Droppin Balls (who I had picked as one of the favorites to win it all), Dripping Stallions who beat 8 seed Omnipotence, and of course Blue Balls who put in the performance of the tournament beating the regular season champions.
– Round of 8
20 seed Bocce Like Its Hot vs. 12 seed Kiss My Ace
Vegas gave Bocce Like Its Hot a 52% chance of victory despite being the lower seed. What we have learned in this tournament (besides the fact that Vegas loves Bocce Like Its Hot) is that Vegas rarely predicts upsets, but when they do they are usually right. Would they be proven correct again? Well, Bocce Like its Hot got off to a hot start, winning the first game 11-4. The second game, as it turns out, was much like the first with Bocce Like Its Hot in control. They eventually won 11-3. This shows again that Vegas is excellent at predicting upsets, and justified in their confidence of Bocce Like Its Hot as they can add a victory over the 12 seed to their victories over the 13 seed and the 29 seed.
17 seed Blue Balls vs. 24 seed Dripping Stallions
Vegas gave Blue Balls a 57% chance of victory in this match up of two of the tournament’s hottest teams. Unfortunately for Dripping Stallions the magic that earned them victories over the 8 and 9 seeds deserted them for the first game of this match up and Blue Balls won 11-2. In the second game the Dripping Stallions found their form again, but as Blue Balls proved in the previous round when they beat the regular season champs, sometimes you can play well and still lose to them. The game was as close as it could be, but Blue Balls came away with an 11-9 win to take the series.
15 seed Breakfast of Champions vs. 26 seed Bocce Against the Machine
Vegas saw this game as almost a push, giving Breakfast of Champions a 52% chance at victory (its cool how the odds are getting tighter the farther we advance into the tournament!), but that did not stop Bocce Against the Machine from taking a 5-1 lead in game one. The turning point came when Breakfast of Champions won the pallino and decided to play long, where Bocce Against the Machine couldn’t keep throwing ace after ace. The change allowed Breakfast of Champions to get back into the game, but this one was ultimately decided in overtime with Breakfast of Champions winning the game 12-10. I can confidently say that the second game was the best game Breakfast of Champions played all year. Bocce Against the Machine put together a strong performance (in both games) but Breakfast of Champions got the 12-2 win.
3 seed Black Jesus vs. 6 seed Balls On Your Ace
Vegas gave Black Jesus a 56% chance of victory in this clash of the titans. If you haven’t noticed yet, there were a LOT of upsets in this tournament. Six of the final eight teams got there by beating higher seeds (most of them beat more than one higher seed). In the other brackets we have the 20, 12, 17, 24, 15, and 26 seeds. The Black Jesus bracket was the only one that went to chalk with the two highest seeds (also the two highest seeds left in the tournament) meeting up with the winner going to the final four. In my mind the first game was the critical one in the series. Black Jesus won it in overtime 12-10. In the second game (just as they did the round before) Balls On Your Ace came back strong, winning 11-5, the failure to get those two overtime points the only thing keeping them from the final four. In the third game Whipple made a bold call, deciding to play short despite the fact that their specialty is the long game. This gamble paid off and Black Jesus retained control pretty much the whole time, winning the third game and the series 11-3.
Round of 8 analysis – Vegas Went 4-0 in this round, including correctly predicting an upset. Both the Dripping Stallions and Bocce Against the Machine lost in this round, but in the whole tournament they are the only teams to beat two top ten teams (none of the teams in the final four did that). So while neither team went home with the trophy they can both be proud that they made some major waves, and were, in my opinion, two of the most outstanding teams of the tournament.
Also, about this time, the players of the teams that lost decided to get together and play a one-on-one tournament. Everybody put in $5 with $50 going to the winner. Since the bracket did not break down evenly, Sara Tully had the great idea to have the loser with the most points scored move on to the next round to fill in the gap. In this case both Deb Bay and Allison Bodine scored 10 points while losing. They had a Turbo Round to decide who would move on and Allison won. She, coincidentally, moved on to play Siobhan Christou, who was the person who beat Deb in the first place. Siobhan beat Allison to move to the final four, where she beat Anson Zeppetello to go to the championship game. In the championship game Siobhan beat Oscar Ocampo to become the one-on-one champ of the day. Congrats Siobhan! That’s a fantastic accomplishment, and this is a fantastic tradition I hope continues. I’m going to have to get one extra medal made for next year!
– Round of 4
20 seed Bocce Like Its Hot vs. 17 seed Blue Balls
Vegas loves Bocce Like Its Hot! Again they predicted that Bocce Like Its Hot would pull an upset (and why not? It worked all the way up to the final 4) giving them a 58% chance of victory. At this point, however Blue Balls were arguably the hottest team of the day, they were comfortable throwing long or short (Bocce Like Its Hot’s specialty) and they went ahead and won the first game of this series 11-6. Nothing is easy this far into the tournament, and Bocce Like Its Hot put up a good fight before falling in a close second game 11-8. Blue Balls were moving on to the finals!
15 seed Breakfast of Champions vs. 3 seed Black Jesus
Vegas’s tendency to make the odds closer the farther in the tournament we go ended with this game, as they gave Black Jesus a 73% chance of victory. This makes sense as Black Jesus were the lone favorite to escape upset and they were playing a 15 seed who had a .500% record during the year. Still, nothing comes easy this far in the playoffs. In this case the game was tied 8-8 with Breakfast of Champions in for a point and Black Jesus with one ball left to throw. Unfortunately for Breakfast of Champions, John Bauman was the player with the ball left to throw and he was unarguably the hottest bocce player of the day. He not only managed to bocce out Breakfast of Champions point, but he kicked the pallino into three of his own balls, giving Black Jesus 3 points and the 11-8 win. A lot can change in one shot! In the second game John Bauman and Black Jesus were rolling and had a comfortable 10-3 lead when Breakfast of Champions finally got hot. They managed to score 8 straight points (mostly in hard fought one point rounds) and take an 11-10 lead, when (you guessed it) John Bauman found a way to strike again with an ace. Breakfast of Champions eventually managed to knock the ace out and put their own ball in, but it took all their balls, leaving Black Jesus too many shots with which to do damage. I knew when I threw my last ball (it was about a foot and a half from the pallino) that it was not going to be close enough. Whipple and John jumped on the opportunity with two perfect shots (one of which nudge the pallino close to John’s original ace). They took three, got the 13-11 win, and moved onto the finals! Fuck off Black Jesus . . . sorry just a moment of frustration, you can fuck back on again.
Turbo Bocce Championship!
17 seed Blue Balls vs. 3 seed Black Jesus
Vegas gave Black Jesus a pretty big 68% chance of victory, but if you look at the team’s seeds this makes sense. Still, going into this game Blue Balls, not Black Jesus, were the hot team of the day. That changed quickly in the first game as Black Jesus won 11-3 and looked to make easy work of the Turbo Bocce Championship. They could not. In the second game things changed drasitcally with Blue Balls beating Black Jesus even worse than they were beaten in the first round, winning by an 11-1 score. I’ve seen this happen a lot over the years. One team wins the first game in a blow-out, the other team wins the second game in a blow-out. It seems like whenever this happens the third game is always close and that is what happened here. The third game was, in fact, decided by the smallest margin allowed by rule, but in the end Black Jesus emerged victorious 11-9. If you add up the scores in all three games, Blue Balls scored 23 points and Black Jesus scored 23 points. Completely even. Yet Black Jesus are the champs. That’s how it works. Congratulations to Blue Balls for having an amazing run through the tournament and marking yourself as one of the top teams in the league. Congratulations to Jim Whipple of Black Jesus for becoming Turbo Bocce’s first ever three time champion. Congratulations to John Bauman for being without question the hottest bocce player of the day and winning the playoff’s Most Valuable Player award! This was a season with a lot of ups and downs, but it was nice to see it end in dramatic fashion, in a game played between four great players, and two great teams, each of which would have made worthy champions.