Space City Pinball League Season 9 Playoffs: The world is upside down

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.

During the two weeks between week 4 and playoff night, I anxiously kept an eye on the Facebook post where everyone confirmed their attendance. Indeed, everyone (except Chris Palis, who had previously announced he would not be able to attend) did confirm, though it took until the night before for the final A division confirmations.

I can’t honestly say I wanted to see that someone said they could not attend, as if I was in that situation (where I would not be able to attend the playoffs) I would be rather unhappy about it. It would have bumped me into A division, but it would have put an asterisk on the win if I was able to pull it off.

So the B division playoffs it would be. Having the 17th seed overall, which is the top seed qualifying for B division, I would have a bye through the quarterfinals. I would wait patiently to see who my opposition would be. One of the quarterfinal matches would go to a tiebreaker, and it wound up being John Speights winning the tiebreaker on Terminator 3 over Jeff Mleynek. In the other match John Carroll advanced easily with wins on The Munsters and Deadpool, despite a not-so-good performance on The Beatles.

And so the semifinals began. I would be facing off against Chris Gonzales, John Speights, and John Carroll. I chose first in the playing order.

The first game of the night would be on Indiana Jones (Bally). This was not a game I ever ran up very high scores on back in the day, nor is it a game I felt played to my strengths. Nevertheless, I plunged ball 1 and proceeded to make the most of it. I managed to lock two balls and make a few other shots, and in the process put up 18.4M+ after ball 1, good enough for a sizeable lead when it got back around to me for ball 2. I quickly made the third lock to start multiball. Then, somewhere I saw on the DMD something along the lines of “shoot right ramp for jackpot”. And so I did. I managed to have a really good ball and catapulted my score to 81.1M+. The next highest score was some 24.3M+. I would sign off with 90.0M+, but the relative dud on ball 3 didn’t really matter. One game down, one first place finish.

Next up was The Addams Family. This game was a bit closer, as I had a very small lead after ball 1 (18,743,200 to 18,183,050). I would wind up trailing going into ball 3 with 37.2M+, against the leader’s 47.9M+. I would get to 80.9M+ which would hold up for second, but it was surpassed by John Speights during his third ball.

So it’s 6-4-2-2 going into the last game of the round (I had 6, John Speights had 4, the oher two players had 2 each). Basically, the absolute worst case is that I’m looking at a tiebreaker game if I finish last and one of the players with 2 takes first.

The round would conclude with a game on AC/DC. This game started off well with a 8.5M+ first ball, then 11.3M+ after the second ball. Catching up to John Speights (playing second) proved to be futile, but I would take another second place with a total of 15.3M+ and advance to the finals.

Meanwhile, over in A division, lots of surprising (and not-so-surprising) results. Lisa Shore wound up busting out in the quarterfinals (not surprising) but she would finish ahead of Phil Grimaldi who would also bust out in the quarterfinals (surprising). Phil had only 2 points in a three-game 4-2-1-0 playoff, and this is the first time I am aware of in SCPL history that he’s busted out in the quarterfinals of an A division playoff.

As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, Bryce Revnew and David Pollock would play a tiebreaker to resolve a 7-6-6-2 tie to determine who would advance (Matt Quantz had the 7 and clinched an advance, Jason Cortez was the 2 and was eliminated). David posted a solid 95.3M+, and Bryce wound up coming up short with 51.3M+. So for a while we were one player away from seeing none of the four previous season’s A division finalists making the finals. I would have to look it up but I’m pretty sure that has never happened either (if only because Phil has been so consistent about at least making it to the finals if not winning outright).

Anyway, back to B division finals. The finals group would consist of me (obviously), John Speights, Jack Revnew, and Jason Cardenas. We would begin on The Beatles. This whole game wound up being a dud, and I would finish with 765K+ when the others all broke the million mark. I had a relatively decent third ball but I had fallen so far behind by that point that it was rather futile to catch up.

My luck would be much better on Deadpool. On my first ball I would amass 159.3M+, which as it turns out would have been enough to win easily by itself. I did run it up to 205.0M+ before signing off, which is not quite initial-entry territory but still a solid performance (not to be confused with one of the bathroom scenes of the Deadpool video game, mind you). Most importantly, this put me back in contention to possibly win B division for the second time. All I needed was a really good game on Iron Maiden and I had a shot…

…and of course, that’s nowhere near what happened. I had a dud of a first ball and never really recovered. My 24.3M+ would not only not be enough to win, it would not even be good enough for third place (in the game). Still, the 4 points from my first place on Deadpool were enough to put me in third overall in the finals. (Meanwhile, Fred Revnew did win A division… again.)

Honestly, the only thing I have to be truly happy about is the $17 cash prize (which I’m about to spend on face paints in a couple of days, but that’s another story). Once again, I feel like I’ve done an impression of the Houston Oilers from back in the day.

I know I’m a better player than my performance this season. But when will I be able to prove it?

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