By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
The local duo of Joe Emanuele and Jim Leggiero went to the World Series of Bocce in Rome thinking that just being competitive and having a good time would be enough to satisfy them.
The duo was so content just to participate that it had declined to make reservations for a hotel room for Saturday night, the second day of the three-day competition.
"Personally, I didn't think we were going to make it to the finals," Emanuele said Monday.
But the two Amsterdam players -- along with teammates Larry Giardino and Walt Semenak, both from Rome -- got on a roll Friday and Saturday to make it to the final day of competition. There, the team took fifth place in the 87-team men's field.
After winning a pair of games Friday, Emanuele's and Leggiero's team picked up steam Saturday.
"Once you get on a roll ... you get some confidence and you can take a chance here, a little chance there," Emanuele said.
The team won four games that day, boosting its record to 6-0 through Saturday's play. That record had the team as one of four teams left in the winner's bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
But the team's luck changed Sunday. Emanuele's and Leggiero's team played the eventual champion in its first game Sunday, and lost, 16-8; then, the squad took a heart-breaking 16-13 loss in its next game to eliminate itself from the tournament.
In the final game, Emanuele's and Leggiero's team had led 12-7.
"We had'm against the ropes," said Emanuele. "But they just crept up on us, point by point, and the next thing you know they're ahead, 14-13."
Still, the team had a chance to make a comeback. Emanuele's and Leggiero's team's ball was closet to the pauline, but a throw from the opposing team knocked that ball out of the picture, giving the opposition the two closest balls to the guide ball. Emanuele's and Leggiero's team had one more shot to keep the opposition from scoring a win with a two-point round, but Semenak's shot came up short.
"Their guys were saying how well we played, and how we should have beat them," Emanuele said.
Fifth place in the tournament paid out $550 to the team of four.
"It paid for our weekend," Emanuele said.
For a team that had expected little heading into the tournament, the weekend's result was a memorable one.
"This year was a very special year," Emanuele said.