Roll out the bocce & feast good times

Bocce e divertimento all‘Hillcrest Bocce Club durante lo socrso Black Friday, dove Torrey ed Anthony Romano hanno unito forza con Anthony Frabotta e Larry Salvatore aggiudicandosi il primo premio pari a $1,550. Chi poteva pensare che giocare a bocce fosse non solo divertente, ma anche un buon affare..

Bocce FeastNeither rain, nor sleet, nor icy cold kept 84 bocce players proud of their Italian heritage from courageous roll-offs in the backyard of the Highland Heights home of Dominic and Shelly Piunno.

On a very chilly Black Friday, the Hillcrest Bocce Club crowned a new champion. Torrey and Anthony Romano joined Anthony Frabotta and Larry Salvatore to capture first prize of $1,550 in single-elimination match game playoffs. Runner-ups Mike Trivisonno, Oliver Markon, Michael Frabotta and Dennis Strnad shared $550 second prize money.

Twenty-one teams of four players each went head-to-head starting shortly after noon. Thirteen hours later, the Romanos, Frabotta and Salvatore were titleholders. They succeed defending Brown Leaf Invitational champions, Mark Casey, John Olivo, Dan Farinacci and Brian DeLisio. They were eliminated when the playoffs was reduced to eight teams. The referee was 37-year-old Oliver Markon.

The Hillcrest Bocce Club Tournament has attained traditional status as Italians from the Greater Cleveland area signed on as entries beginning in late September. Bocce Chairman Dominic Piunno predicts that next year’s playoffs at the Italian American Club in Wickliffe will attract more teams.

Valet service in a Cleveland Browns mobile van accommodated players and guests whose cars lined up nearby streets as more than 200 people converged on the festive backyard of Piunno’s home where landscaper Joe Di Padova built a 66’ long, 12’ wide lighted permanent court.

There was more than just fun and games as the Hillcrest Bocce Club hosted a pig roast feast with all of the trimmings. Chef Donny Agresta of Mayfield Heights did the honors and Michael Rini made sure everyone indulged in his one-of-a-kind clam chowder. Piunno’s wife, Shelly, decked the tables with cavatelli, pasta Bolognese, sausage and peppers, pizza from Eugene Ciasullo’s Giuseppe’s in Richmond Heights and beef brisket to complement her escarole and avocado salad. Trays of Italian favorites including cannoli and tiramisu were not overlooked, nor was the homemade bread prepared by Dr. Henry Fioritto and baked by his son, Michael. Naturally, there were shouts of cin-cin with the homemade vino.

The annual event marks a throwback to the old days when family and friends got together for backyard games, fun and food.