Playoff – Round 2 – Recap

Round 2 of the Turbo Bocce playoffs takes the number of participating teams from 32 down to 16.  It is an especially important round because the final 16 teams get to participate in an all day, winner-take-all tournament on Saturday August 31st for the Turbo Bocce championship.

I think that pretty much says it all, so lets get to the matches.

Teachers Union vs. New Bocce Order

Frank and Mark of the Teachers Union are first year participants in Turbo Bocce which can be tough, but it seems to me like they really started finding their stride as a team and figuring out the game of bocce towards the end of the year.  Unfortunately for them, they got paired up with Turbo Bocce’s number one team the New Bocce Order.  Its going to be a tall task for anybody to knock New Bocce Order out of the playoffs this year, much less a team of two players going through the playoffs for the first time, but Teachers Union made a gallant attempt.  Both games were very close, and from what I heard Teachers Union had one of the games all but won.  In the end experience won out, and New Bocce Order took the series two games to zero.

2 Balls On Your Ace vs. Ball Busters

This was the best game of the second round (going by the combined record of the two participating  teams 38-22) .  There was also a little drama as one of the Ball Busters (Katie Kelly) got hit by a car the day before the match and hurt her shoulder.  Monica, her partner, had to scramble to find a substitute, but luckily she was able to.   The task was a tall one as 2 Balls On Your Ace and Rookie of the Year Scott Popp were not accustom to losing much (compiling a 20-10 record this year), but Monica had a little extra to play for (wanting to play on Saturday when hopefully her partner would be able to join her) and in the end that was able to win the day, as the Ball Busters pulled an upset (in what would have been a dead even game had her partner been healthy) by beating 2 Balls On Your Ace two games to zero.  The Ball Busters come out of this game battle tested with a win against a great team under their belt, but things are not getting any easier on Saturday as they have to face the number one seed New Bocce Order.

Puzzles vs. Salty Bocce Balls

This was one of the more intriguing games of the day as last years regular season champion Puzzles played emerging star Badger and his teammate Kevin from Salty Bocce Balls. Puzzles came into this game as the battle tested favorite after compiling the most difficult strength of schedule this year.  But Badger quietly had a really great season scoring 159 points.  Puzzles exerted their dominance early winning the first game 12-2.  The second game could have been a series sweep for Puzzles, but Salty Bocce Balls were able to win a close one that required extra bocce to settle 13-11.  In the third game Salty Bocce Balls completed the upset winning another close one 11-8.  Not only was this a great victory for Badger and Kevin, but it also sparked a new rule that must now be added to our rulebook forever more.  If your partner cannot participate in any round of the playoffs it is forbidden under any circumstances to have Rob Mead replace that partner.  Glad we got that down in writing! Salty Bocce Balls will be playing Sweet Italian Bocce Balls in a game of similar team names.  Sweet Italian Bocce Balls was nice enough to play Omnipotence early (and sweep them 2-0) because one half of Omnipotence could not make it to bocce on Tuesday.

Mark & Robb vs. Snakes on a Pallino

Mark and Robb are both veteran bocce players who got together late this year, but made a strong push at the end of the season to finish in fourth place overall.  Jessi and Matt of Snakes on a Pallino are in their first year playing turbo bocce, but have proven they are very capable of beating anybody.  Both games, I am told, were very hard fought, and the scores reflect that.  But in the end Mark and Robb were able to hold off the upset on the back of 11-7 and 11-8 victories.

Thunderballz vs. The Moppines

This was an exciting match up that also happened to be a rematch of a bounty game played during the regular season that Thunderballz won.  Thunderballz are a first year team, that experienced a lot of success for their first go.  Greg Griffo of the Moppines is a bocce veteran playing with Bryan Mullane, who is also a first time member.  Interesting fact, both Bryan of the Moppines and Jacob of Thunderballz finished in the top 5 for rookie of the year voting, and Sara of Thunderballz lead all rookies (and was forth in the entire league) in bocces.  The first game was a hard fought victory for The Moppines 11-9.  But something must have clicked with them because they were able to dominate the second game 11-0.  They will now move on to play Mark and Robb in the round of 16.

Big LaBocce vs. Rolling Blackouts

This was, again, a very good game between two very good teams with a result could have easily gone either way.  Both Bernie and Scott of Big LaBocce and Scott and Josh of Rolling Blackouts are bocce veterans, but I feel like Scott and Josh really came into their own this year and emerged as a force in the league.  As you might expect, both games were close, finishing with identical 11-8 scores.  In the end, Big LaBocce was able to gain control through playing long ball, and managed to secure the victory.  The Big LaBocce will play the winner of The Landlords and Off Everyday who are making up their second round game on Friday.

Lord of the Balls vs. Bushwhackers

Tim of Lord of the Balls is a Turbo Bocce veteran who has had a lot of success in this league (winning the Syracuse bocce Blast this year, and finishing in second place in the league last year).  His partner Joe as well as Dana and Tom from the Bushwhackers are all first year players.   The first game of this match up was probably the most entertaining and flat out amazing game of the playoffs thus far . . . and what followed wasn’t too shabby either.  Lord of the Balls had a 10-1 lead and were set to cruise to a first game win. The amazing part is, they didn’t.  Bushwhackers came all the way back to win the game 13-10.  Perhaps just as amazingly, after letting up 12 straight points the Lord of the Balls did not fold.  They bounced back to narrowly avoid the sweep in extra bocce 13-11, then took the series 11-9 in game three.  Clearly this was an even match up, with a huge amount of volatility.  I am only sorry that one of these teams had to lose.  The Lord of the Balls will play the winner of Opportunity Knocks and Dropin Balls who will make up their game on Thursday (UPDATE – Opportunity Knocks won this game and will play Lord of the Balls in the round of 16.

Knickerbocces vs. The Clydesdales

Turbo Bocce veterans the Knickerbocces, squared off against one of the more promising first year teams The Clydesdales in the latest starting game of the second round.  The Clydesdales showed their talent right off the bat by winning the first game in decisive fashion 11-5.  However, the Knickerbocces regrouped and won the second game in equally impressive fashion 11-3.  The third game was a close one, but the Knicerbocces experince won out, and thy were able to take the series with an 11-7 victory.

Kentucky Bourbon vs. Some Innuendo

Last years third place finishers Kentucky Bourbon went up against bocce veteran Julie and her first year partner Keith (who finished second in the league in aces this year).  Kentucky Bourbon won a very tight first game 11-9, and Some Innuendo bounced right back winning the second game 11-8.  In the final game Kentucky Bourbon was just too strong despite Julie being “an absolute sniper” (Rob from Kentucky Bourbon’s words) and they won the final game 11-3.  They will play the Knickerbocces in the round of 16.

South Beach vs. Busting Balls

Phil and Andy of team South Beach had an excellent regular season, but when two former champions join forces and call themselves South Beach its pretty fair to say they have high expectations for themselves.  Pat and Sam of Busting Balls are both first year players.  They managed to beat Beer United earlier in the day due to the fact that they showed up too late to finish their previous round game the week before.  A win against Beer United is impressive and a good tune up for South Beach, and it was clear that Sam and Pat were ready to step up their game and battle hard.  However the experience of South Beach was just too much, and they ended up winning both games by scores of 11-6 and 11-8.

Ball Don’t Lie vs. SMACtion

An even and hard fought game between bocce veterans  Garth and John of SMACtion and bocce new comers Dan and Jake of Ball Don’t Lie (Jake made an amazing run on the last day of the season to finish one point shy of winning Rookie of the Year).  Ball Don’t Lie won a back and forth first game 11-9, and SMACtion quickly tied it up winning the second game 11-6.  The third game was again close, but Dan and Jake were too much finishing victorious with an 11-8 score (interesting stat here, these games were so close that SMACtion outscored Ball Don’t Lie on the day 28-27 despite losing the series).  Ball Don’t Lie will face South Beach in the round of 16.

One Eyed Fish vs. Breakfast of Champions

Talented first year players Tony and Guy came ready to play against bocce veterans Paul and Andy.  They were playing long and rolling accurately to get out to an early first game lead.  It was not until the pallino got out from under the tree with overhanging branches that Paul and Andy got on a run and won the first game 12-10.  The second game was also hard fought, but the experience of Paul and Andy got them a victory against a very talented One Eyed Fish team 11-6.  Paul and Andy then skipped ahead and played KPP who had already won their second round game in an upset against Neighborhood Balls the week before.  This game stretched into the deep darkness, and though Bill and Chris made a valiant run, proving along the way that they are far superior players from 50 feet and out in the pitch black.  Breakfast of Champions got two wins and managed to advance to the round of 8.

This Saturday – the 31st – starting at 11am, Turbo Bocce will crown one champion among all the winning teams.  All the games are sure to be spectacles and not to be missed, and oh by the way, free food and beer!  I hope to see everybody there as we celebrate the end to a phenomenal season and crown a champion!