Space City Pinball League Season 5 Playoffs: A fitting finish?

Note: Due to recent events, Shawn no longer recommends participation in Space City Pinball League events until further notice. Please see the Bayou City Pinball League website for alternatives.

How do I even begin this one?

The night began with high hopes. I got in a couple of decent games on Game of Thrones during warmups. My confidence was pretty low from weeks prior and needed a boost.

Since this is the playoffs, the grouping is completely different. Groups of four based on seeding, with three games in each round, top two out of each group advance to the next round until there are four left. Those four are the finalists and play one more round to determine the finishing order.

And so we began. I would be grouped with Billy Joyner, Nina Ruiz, and Ken Holmes. We would be playing on Star Trek, Spiderman, and Aerosmith.

Last week, I referred to my game on Star Trek as more like Star Wreck, and I was really looking to redeem myself. I usually do fairly well on this title but for some reason, this week I managed to post a really stinky score yet again: 3.9M+ when Nina’s 12.2M+ would be good enough for third place. Billy took first with 47.3M+. Another Star Wreck, it would appear to be.

Spiderman is another game I feel reasonably confident on. And I do a bit better: third place with 6.4M+, behind 10.8M+ from Nina and 11.0M+ from Ken. However, this is still a disaster, as it meant I would need to finish first place on Aerosmith to have any hope of advancing, and even then it was doubtful unless the other players finished in the “right” order.

My first two balls on Aerosmith were rather lacking. By the time my third ball comes up, Billy had posted a score in the 60M+ range (his final score was 64.9M+ but only because he plunged his final ball in the interest of time, having already won the game). Quite a bit goes right on the third ball: I get an incredibly lucky break when a ball passes the flippers but bounces off the area behind the left flipper back into play. I get multiball started (taking the sure thing of a three-ball multiball instead of going for more). I make a few shots. And then the bottom falls out; I lost two balls putting me back in single ball play, and then not too long after I lose the third ball. Final score: 15.7M+, nowhere near enough to take first place. As it turns out, first place would not even have helped me to advance (Ken had clinched third by the time my third ball came up).

I played in the consolation tournament, which went by very quickly given the format, a two-strikes elimination format (strike to any players not finishing in first). The first game was Ghostbusters against Craig Squires, Brian Foytik, and Frankie Griffin. I was the third player, putting up 21.6M+ which was only good for second to Craig’s 27.2M+ for strike one. Second game was The Walking Dead against Matt Quantz and Brian Foytik. I put up 16.1M+ which wasn’t enough to top Brian’s 24.1M+. I did get a reasonably good start during the second game and felt like I was in a position to possibly win going into ball 3, but it just didn’t happen. But, that was still strike two, so at that point, I was done.

So, there you have it. That’s the rather disappointing end of my season 5. The good news is there are at least a couple of weeks before the start of the next season for me to reflect on things.