SI Vault
Jeannette Bruce
December 23, 1974
Maybe you missed the World Series of Bocce a while back. Too bad, because the first annual classic was a classic. It was played in Rome, 90 miles west of Albany, N.Y., in true Latin style, a m´┐Żlange of thunking wooden balls, joyful cries and undeleted expletives of Italian origin. Hot sausages and peppers. Steamed clams and beer that flowed ceaselessly for the two days the World Series lasted. If the tournament was not exactly a series in which the world participated, non importa. Baseball does not really have a world series, either.
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December 23, 1974

All Rome (n.y.) Had A Ball At The First World Series Of Bocce

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"Non importa," said Taverna. "Tomorrow they all be friends again."

By late afternoon the Gallianos had beaten the Aquinos to take third. The Sons of Italy were pitted against a team from the Rome Bowling Center in the finals. Captain Scapellato directed strategy, asking his men frequently to bounce one off the side or backboards to get a better position. Point by point, the teams stayed tied, neither able to take the $750 first prize. A sizeable hometown crowd watched the action, cheering whenever Rome Bowling made a point. In the last moments of the game, Battaglino tried to spock and missed. Gripping the ball for his team's last shot, Scapellato took deliberate aim at a cluster of green balls and thunk! it was over. The Sons of Italy had triumphed 16-13.

"When it comes to bocce, his stomach is in knots," said Scapellato's wife, taking her hero home from a celebratory dinner at the Savoy, which specializes in steak, pasta and wine. Taverna danced a tarantella, while his party of five dinner guests somehow exploded into 30, largely, Taverna suspected, through the machinations of Costello. Sinking finally into his chair, Costello sighed. "So much work," he said, "but necessary when it comes to making this history."

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