Kansas City duo to represent US in bocce world games in Poland - KCTV5 News

Kansas City duo to represent US in bocce world games in Poland

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Chris Cardello and John Liberto are the 2017 United States Bocce Federation National Championship Tournament champions. (Jeff Roberts/KCTV5 News) Chris Cardello and John Liberto are the 2017 United States Bocce Federation National Championship Tournament champions. (Jeff Roberts/KCTV5 News)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A pair of Kansas City pals has picked up some serious bragging rights.

Chris Cardello and John Liberto are the 2017 United States Bocce Federation National Championship Tournament champions.

In June, the pair picked up the title in Chicago, IL after only playing together for seven months. Now, they head to Poland to represent the United States in the world games.

Liberto is a lefty, and Cardello is right handed. They’ve got all the angles covered, and they share a similar strategy.

“I like to hit the bomb you know as you relate to football. Shots that look impossible but they're not,” Cardello said. “High risk, high reward shots, that' my style. When you pull it off, there's nothing better.”

“I like Chris's aggressive style of play, think he compliments my style very well. I'm a very strategic player,” Liberto said.

Bocce dates back to biblical times.

First, competitors roll out a small ball, the pallino, and then each team tries to get their team’s balls the closest. Each team has four balls or four turns. Teams can roll their ball closer or can attack and strike the other teams balls or even move the pallino.

Cardello’s father provided insight and strategy as the champions played.

“You have to understand who you are playing, what the situation is, how many balls you have left,” Benny Joe Cardello said.

“It's very strategic,” Chris said. “It's almost you relate it to golf when you putt. You've got to have the touch.”

Liberto and Cardello are some of the nicest men people will ever meet. They describe themselves as aggressive underdogs who had a ball in Chicago.

“We really walked in saying, ‘Hey, we weren’t supposed to be here so we had nothing to lose,’” Liberto said.

“Hey, remember, we aren't supposed to be here. Yeah. We've got nothing to lose,” Cardello added.

Then, they won.

“He said, ‘We did it.’ It was right at midnight. It was great, it was a great phone call,” Benny Joe said.

Liberto is a special education teacher and Cardello has a new baby. Together, they’ll represent the US and compete against eight other countries in the world games.

“Many of them are professionals in their country,” Liberto said. “They teach it and play in a professional league. That's what they are paid to do.”

“It means the world to me, my family. My dad’s just excited,” Cardello said.

For Cardello and Liberto, this competition is about tradition and charting new territory. No one from their Kansas City hall has ever won a national championship.

“I don't play for the miss, I play for the hit, where it's going to go afterward,” Cardello said.

Cardello and Liberto plan keep their same strategy and perspective at the world games.

“Nothing to lose. Remember, we had nothing to lose to begin with. We're going to come out and show our best,” Liberto said.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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