The first thing that stood out to me when I looked over the score cards was how many really close games there were. With the exception of a few two game sweeps, every game went right down to the wire. Inches (and in one case 1/16th of an inch) separated victory from defeat.
If you want a quick preview of how the day went, I’ll say this, you did not want to be one of the top three seeds, but of course the games themselves are far more compelling than anything else I might say, so lets get to the recaps.
We will start with the top seed’s game and go from there.
1 seed Black Jesus vs. 32 seed Big LeBocce
Vegas gave Black Jesus a 90% chance of success, and with a winning percentage like Black Jesus have, who can blame them? I, however, mentioned in the preview article that I thought this game was going to be a little more tricky than the odds indicate. In this, I turned out to be right.
Black Jesus won the first game 11-7 behind a strong 9 point performance by Phil Martino, but in the second game Big LeBocce found their stride. They won that game big, 11-3, forcing a decisive game three.
The game change did not stop Big LeBocce’s momentum and they took a huge 8-1 lead, looking certain at this point to pull off the upset of the tournament, and one of the biggest upsets in Turbo Bocce history. Black Jesus, though, have developed a habit of winning, and they did not go down without a fight. A huge fight, in fact. They managed to win 10 straight points, and the series from a shocked Big LeBocce.
2 seed Easy Duz It vs. 34 seed Mission Imbocceball
Vegas gave Easy Duz it an 80% chance of victory in this game, but Mission Imbocceball was coming in hot. They played a make up game over the weekend against VR 46, that game down to a 1/16th of an inch challenge. Then as a “reward” for winning, they had to face the number two team in the whole league.
Mission Imbocceball showed in the first game that they were up to the challenge, winning 13-8. In the second game, Easy Duz it came back and showed why they are the number two team in the league, by winning 11-6.
It all came down (as so many gamed this week did) to a decisive third game, which Mission Imbocceball won 11-4, in what is maybe the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
3 seed Breakfast of Champions vs. 30 seed Double A’s
Vegas gave Breakfast of Champions an 83% chance of victory, but of course the lesson on this day is, don’t trust Vegas.
Breakfast of Champions started strong with an 11-5 win thanks to Andy Thompspn’s multiple ace performance. In this case momentum did not transfer over to the next game and the Double A’s came back strong, dominating the second game on route to an 11-4 win, in one of the better bocce performances I have ever seen. I’ve noticed that if one team wins the first game big and the other team wins the second game big, the third game is usually close, and that was the case here. Double A’s had an 8-6 lead as the last of the sun went away and the game was plunged into darkness. At this point Breakfast of Champions scored the last 5 points to earn an 11-8 win. In the end, this game was too well played to be finished in the dark (a common regret of mine) but it is what it is.
16 seed Amerika’z Least Wanted vs. 17 seed Mark & Robb
Vegas gave each team a 50% chance of victory in this heavyweight bocce match where all four players were champions of a major bocce tournament in the last year.
Amerika’z Least Wanted won the first game, but last year’s champions were never going to go down without a fight – they won the second game, forcing a decisive third game which Amerika’z Least Wanted managed to pull off.
So, last year’s champions go down, and we are officially going to crown a new champion this Saturday. In my opinion this game (and the three I mentioned before it) really illustrate the depth of quality bocce players we have in our league. Mark and Robb are two excellent bocce players who won it all last year, and they did not get out of the second round this year, because they had to play Andy (winner of the Italian Fest) and Tim (winner of the Syracuse Bocce Blast). We are really building something impressive here! There are accomplished bocce players all over the place.
5 seed Flailing Weasels vs. 28 seed 2 ½ Kittens
Vegas gave the 5th seed Flailing Weasels a 73% chance of victory after a really impressive sophomore season in the league, but what have we learned today?
2 ½ Kittens won the first game 11-7, and tried to put it away quickly in the second game, but the Flailing Weasels are not a team you can beat quickly. They won the second game 11-9 and forced a third game. In the third game 2 ½ Kittens really stepped up and won 11-5, pulling yet another huge upset, on this day when almost every top team was either upset or nearly upset.
4 seed Whipple & John vs. 29 seed Sweet Italian Balls
Vegas gave Whipple and John a 70% chance of victory, and this time they got it right.
Interestingly, the rematch of last year’s biggest upset was one of the few games that did not result in an upset (or near upset) this year. Whipple and John won the first two games, and the series, getting some measure of revenge for their playoff loss last year.
12 seed Kentucky Bourbon vs. 21 seed Under My Ella
Vegas gave Kentucky Bourbon a 60% chance of winning this match up of two good teams, and it always seemed like a match up that might come right down to the wire.
Under My Ella started strong, with an 11-4 win, but that’s exactly what happened to Kentucky Bourbon in the previous week. Like the previous week, Kentucky Bourbon bounced back with an 11-5 win, forcing a decisive third game, but in this one Kentucky Bourbon’s magic ran out and Under My Ella won 11-7.
Kentucky Bourbon was last year’s runner up, and Sweet Italian Balls was last year’s 3rd place finnisher. They (along with last year’s champs) all lost today. Meaning that by just the second round of the tournament we already know that we will have all new money winners this year. That’s what I call parity!
22 seed Two Balls On Your Ace vs. 54 seed Steal Your Face
Vegas gave Two Balls On Your Ace an 87% chance a victory in this game, but Steal Your Face obviously likes bucking the odds because they won in the first week despite Vegas giving them a whopping 97% chance of losing.
Two Balls On Your Ace started strong, with an 11-7 win, but Steal Your Face still had fight in them and won the second game 11-4. The decisive third game came right down to the wire, but the underdogs managed to squeak out the upset by the narrowest of margins, 11-9.
Steal Your Face is now the team with the biggest upset (according to Vegas) in two straight rounds, and at the 54th seed, they are the lowest seed to ever make the final day of a bocce playoff. Congrats!
10 seed Los Moppines vs. 42 seed Twinning
Greg Griffo of Los Moppines just returned from a vacation to Italy a day before this game, and still needed to make up his first round game, so Twinning did not know who they were going to play until just before game time. Los Moppines played Son of Sicilian Sam earlier in the day and won two games to zero, forcing the match up against Twinning.
Despite the jet lag, Lost Moppines looked strong, and extended their winning streak to four games on the day by beating a tough Twinning team (who I thought had a much better chance of winning than Vegas gave them) two games to zero.
13 seed Droppin Balls vs. 20 seed Mike & Mike
Vegas went out on a limb in this game, giving each team a 50% chance of victory despite Mike & Mike being 7 seeds lower than Droppin Balls.
For the first two games, it looked like Vegas made a good call. Droppin Balls won the first game 11-6, and Mike & Mike came right back and won the second game 11-4. Usually when this happens the third game is close, but not this time. Droppin Balls laid the hammer down and won 11-1, convincingly moving on to the next round with a victory against a really good Mike & Mike team under their belt.
8 seed Utter Debocce vs. 40 seed Let the Big Dogs Eat
Utter Debocce had to make up week one’s playoff game against Bocce Babes, who they beat two games to zero (in two close games), before they were able to play Let the Big Dogs Eat.
Vegas gave Utter Debocce a 64% chance at victory which is lower than you might expect for an eight seed going against a 40 seed. Vegas seems to like Let the Big Dogs Eat because they were given great odds to upset last week too (which they did).
The first game was tight, but Utter Debocce won11-8. Then Let the Big Dogs Eat came from behind when it looked like a loss was inevitable and won 11-9 to force a game three. In the third game, Let the Big Dogs Eat’s momentum continued and they won 11-6, proving once again that Vegas is right to have confidence in them.
24 seed Blue Balls vs. 56 seed Sauce & Sand
Vegas gave Blue Balls a 70% chance at victory. They did not seem to be swayed by Sauce & Sand’s phenomenal upset in the first round.
This time Vegas got it right, and there would be no second upset. Blue Balls was on fire in this one, and managed two quick wins to win the series and advance. Maybe the most impressive performance of the day.
7 seed Conquistadors vs. 39 seed Bushwackers
Vegas gave the Conquistadors a 74% chance of victory, but after seeing the Bushwackers play last week I thought this would be a difficult game for them, and it was.
The Conquistadors got a win in the first game, but it took extra bocce before they won 12-10. In the second game the Bushwackers bounced back and won 11-9 in another close one. The decisive third game involved even more extra bocce! As the Conquistador’s got another 12-10 win in the dark. Every game in this three game series was decided by two points. You literally can’t get any closer than that!
15 seed Kiss My Ace vs. 18 seed Ralph Bocce-O
Vegas gave Kiss My Ace just a 53% chance of victory in this match up between two closely ranked teams, and the games were just as exciting as the odds predicted they would be.
Kiss My Ace started strong with a 13-5 win, but Ralph Bocce-O came back strong in the second game, winning 11-6. The third and final game was as close as it gets, with Ralph Bocce-O squeaking out a 12-10 win in extra bocce.
14 seed Salty Bocce Balls vs. 19 seed One Eyed Fish
Vegas had this game between two similar seeds as a dead heat, giving each team a 50% chance of victory, and they were right. True to form, this game came right down to the wire.
Salty Bocce Balls won the first game 11-6, and in the second game One Eyed Fish completely reversed course, winning 11-6 themselves. The third game came right down to the end, with One Eyed Fish pulling it out 11-9 at the very end.
Stay tuned for the final playoff bracket and the final Vegas odds as we head into the Turbo Bocce championship on Saturday!