WE CAME WE SAW WE BOCCE-TEAM BUD LIGHT FINISHES 2-3 IN WORLD SERIES
Team Bud Light: Left to Right: Bernie Froio, David Smith, Frank Costello, Joe Mortis
MHTS Summer Fun Tour visits Rome
Editors note: Team Bud Light came back strong after their opening round loss to win three straight games before bowing out of the tournament on Saturday. Team Bud had a great run and ended up in the money finishing 5th in the Open Division!
I know you’ve heard this before…but…”When in Rome do as the Romans do.” Indeed! How about another cliché? “Build it and he will come.” Again indeed!
Come he and they will from Arizona, Canada, Connecticut and all points north, south, east and west to take part in, a truly galvanizing sporting and cultural event known as, the World Series of Bocce.
The Toccolana Club, its members and an army of community minded volunteers, has had the honor of hosting this annual rite of summer since 1995 and continues to do so in style.
Prior to 1995 the World Series was hosted by the Rome Bowling Center and before that Kennedy Arena in Rome.
Where else can you enjoy great food, great friends and an entire weekend of memory making events that take place on and off the courts?
Budweiser and Bud Light, distributed by Tri-Valley Beverage of Westmoreland, continue to be the title sponsor and enjoy supporting this great event.
Seventy-seven teams compete in the Open Divison and Forty-four teams will compete in the Women’s Division.
Teams don’t just compete for fun and a chance to sample great food, they also compete for some serious prize money.
The Women’s Division winner will take home $1,800 dollars, second place earns $900 dollars and for third some lucky quartet will take home $600 dollars.
The 2012 Tournament was kicked off with opening ceremonies that featured a color guard and remarks from Rome Mayor Joe Fusco, who was sporting a shirt adorned with these words, “ Veni, Vidi, Bocce ”….. “We came, we saw, we Bocce.”
State Senator Joseph Griffo also spoke and helped kick off the festivities, which will wrap up with two new champions being crowned on Sunday night.
As we do every year, we venture to the tourney site to follow the exploits of Team Bud Light, Team Budweiser and this year a Women’s Division entry, Team Bud Light Lime.
Team Bud Light is led by David Smith, who also is employed by tournament sponsor Tri-Valley Beverage. This year’s Team Bud Light roster was rounded out by Frank Costello, Joe Mortis and Bernie Froio.
Smith’s son David is a member of the Team Bud squad who started play later on Friday night. Other Team Bud members include, Bernie Colangelo, Justin Salce and David Salce.
The 6:00PM call to court 2 was sounded on the Public Address system as Team Bud Light got set to open tourney play against, a perennial Bocce power, Vespucci #1 from Danbury Connecticut.
Vespucci #1 represents the Amerigo Vespucci Lodge in Danbury. Team members include: Tulio Belardinelli, Armando Roma, Claudio DiIorio and Mario Molinaro.
When I heard the name Vespucci, as I approached court 2, memories of tourneys past flashed through my mind, as I suddenly saw a huge crowd surround a court at the Rome Bowling Center, as Vespucci played in the finals of one of the first ever World Series Tournaments.
Talk about style and flair. The Vespucci players treated a bocce match (round) like an Italian Opera. One filled with plenty of drama and loud voices.
As both teams warmed up, I spotted a familiar face from that game, a diminutive, white haired, former Vespucci leadoff man named Tony, who played the game like no other.
Tony would follow his ball up the court and dance his way toward the pallino like a matador in a bull fight ring in Spain.
Tony also had the habit of scuffing his feet on the gravel surface as he followed the ball up court.
I later found out that this move was a crafty one as Tony would remove the line his competitor might follow by erasing the marks from the court as he followed his ball to the pallino.
The opening frame (Giro) saw Team Bud Light’s captain David Smith lead off with a ball that rolled in close to the, shinny metal, pallino as we got underway.
After a spock by Vespucci, that cleared out a Frank Costello point, Joe Mortis laid one in close only to get beat out on the last ball, as Vespucci grabbed a 1-0 lead.
Things continued to go Vespucci’s way, as they grabbed another, green, point and led 2-0.
Things looked grim for Team Bud Light, as Vespucci stayed hot and jumped out to a 5-0 led with three big points, as the ball continued to bounce and roll their way.
A 2 point rally by Team Bud Light in frame (Giro) number 4 was capped off by a nice roll in by Bernie Froio.
After giving up another point in the next frame, (Giro) Vespucci led 6-2.
The Romans got on a roll as they cut the lead to 6-5, as Froio, again, came up big with a great spock that helped cut the lead to 6-4. The momentum was with Team Bud Light.
Unfortunately for Team Bud Light, Vespucci put the pedal to the metal and ran off 8 straight points to take the momentum back and grab control for good as they led 13-5 after 11 trips up and down the court.
Team Bud Light would score just once more point ,as Vespucci closed the match out with a 16-6 win.
Both teams will play on in the double elimination event. We will keep you posted on Team Bud Light’s progress.
Thanks for the hospitality shown to MHTS during our Friday night visit and good luck to all the teams involved.
Be sure to take a trip to the Toccolano Club to find out for your self why Bocce is a great game and why the World Series of Bocce is the place to be.
Vespucci # 1 16 Team Bud Light 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Total
Vespucci # 1 1 1 1 3 0 1 0 0 2 1 1 3 1 1 16
Team Bud Light 0 0 0 2 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 6