ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The CBA bowling team is about to play the biggest game of the season without their most important member.
The CBA bowling team was back at practice this week getting ready for the biggest competition of their lives – the state tournament.
It’s the first time the Brothers have ever advanced to States, and they did it by edging out Class A powerhouse Columbia in a 73-pin victory in sectionals. The boys posed with their championship plaque shortly after their triumphant win, but missing from the photo was head coach Tom Donato.
“It’s just tragic for it to happen on that day,” sophomore Zack Terry said.
The morning of the sectional championship, Donato suffered a heart attack and died. The team learned the tragic news right before their first game.
“It was just absolute shock, honestly,” Terry said. “Words can’t really describe the emotions not only myself but my teammates have felt the last couple of days.”
Through feelings of sadness and helplessness, the boys pushed on.
“We were down 43 pins going into the last game,” junior Zeph Kozakiewicz said. “In those last couple frames – ninth and tenth frame – he really, he really gave us that extra push. He was definitely watching us.”
After the win, the team, though still overcome with grief, somehow found solace in one thing.
“Even though he wasn’t there, it means the world to us that we did it for him,” junior Dominic Savona said.
“That’s what he wanted,” Terry said. “He wanted us to win.”
Now the Brothers must get ready for States. Marty Capullo, Jr., proprietor of Town Academy – CBA’s home bowling alley – will coach in Donato’s place.
“We just want to go out there and win,” Terry said. “We’re going to focus, make our spares, and just keep our heads on our shoulders and realize what we are going, why we are out there. We’re out there for Coach Donato.”
The state tournament is March 7 in Syracuse.