Date: April 20th, 2013
Location: 6615 Caratoke Highway, Grandy, NC 27939, USA.

Report by Robert Hunt

The OBX Pirates Pinball Shoot Out 2013 pinball tournament was played this past Saturday, April 20th at Flippers Variety and Arcade in Grandy, North Carolina - the third such biannual event they host each spring and fall.

Thirty-three players from North Carolina and neighboring states plunked down twenty dollars apiece to compete for the prize pool.

Eight to ten of the entrants were associated with the Free State Pinball Association, a collection of leagues in Maryland and Virginia. Another large group made the four-hour drive from the Greensboro, North Carolina area where Lost Ark Video Games hosts a monthly pinball tournament.

Almost everyone else was local talent, among them members of the Flippers Pinball League whose season winners were announced during the tournament award ceremony, and three of those so recognized were among the qualifiers on Saturday - Mike Lukianoff, Brent Sorenson, and Ben Niederlander.

During a qualifying session that began at ten in the morning and would continue until five in the afternoon, players were required to post at least one score on each of ten machines that had been set up in a single bank along the front of the arcade:

  • The Addams Family, Bally 1992
  • The Avengers, Stern 2012
  • Batman: The Dark Knight, Stern 2008
  • Black Rose, Bally 1992
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bally 1992
  • Cyclone, Williams 1988
  • The Shadow, The, Bally 1994
  • Tales of the Arabian Nights, Williams 1996
  • Tron:Legacy, Stern 2011
  • X-Men, Stern 2012

Players were free to try to improve on their scores all day, as time and the lines would permit. As each player finished a game with a score they felt merited posting, tournament staff would record the score using an iPad.

Short lines quickly formed behind each machine, and at no time during the day would any tournament pin be idle. Within an hour, temperatures in the tournament area became uncomfortably hot, but Flippers staff were quick to deploy an industrial air-mover, and the welcome breeze provided instant and constant relief, the importance of which shouldn't be understated. Players were on their feet for many hours at a stretch, and when they weren't playing, they were standing in lines behind the games, in close quarters with other players.

There were several notable scores put up during qualifying; Drew Cedolia was on Batman for over an hour recording a score of 411 million, and more than one player scored over two billion on The Shadow. Joe Said was at 2.6 billion when he let his second and third ball drain so he could finish qualifying on other machines. “I could play this all day” he said as the moderator recorded his score. Said also had the highest score of the afternoon on Tron:Legacy. Two other players, Justin Bath and Dan Wade, would also find themselves high man on two different machines during qualifying.

Play stopped at 5pm to the precise second, and the sixteen players with the top aggregate scores advanced to the finals, which featured a double-elimination, match-play format using the same ten machines.

The players were seeded into the first bracket, and seeds one through eight in turn chose the pin on which their match would be played, with the lower-seeded player in each match taking the first turn.

Those sixteen players were:

Pos Name
1 Andrew Cedolia
2 Joe Said
3 Mike Lukianoff
4 Kevin Stone
5 Justin Bath
6 Brent Sorensen
7 Keith Brown
8 Dan Wade
9 Dale Geiger
10 Tony Pierce
11 Austin Mackert
12 Joseph Wade
13 Asa Cooney
14 Gilles Melanson
15 Ben Neiderlander
16 Bayless Rutherford

The winner's bracket was a one-sided affair; nobody could put a stop to Joe Said. But the loser's bracket produced one heck of a match on The Shadow.

Justin Bath had chosen the game, so Drew Cedolia went first, and scored well over a billion points with his first ball. But Bath was not to be outdone, putting up an even better first ball than Cedolia had. And the second ball for each player was much like the first; first Cedolia put up a monster, then Bath beat it, except this time, he put it out of reach.

When Cedolia's final ball had drained, he was at 4.6 billion and the match had been underway for an hour, but Bath had recorded a score of 5.6 billion with just his first two balls and the match was his, while Andrew Cedolia of Greensboro, North Carolina had secured a fourth place finish.

It should be pointed out that these scores came on a machine that had not been set to tournament play and each player earned several extra balls, but it was still an impressive display under pressure.

Justin Bath and Drew Cedolia after their epic 10 billion point match on The Shadow
Justin Bath and Drew Cedolia after their epic
10 billion point match on The Shadow

By contrast, the match to determine third place on The Addams Family ended quickly, with Dan Wade, also of Greensboro, losing to Justin Bath, who emerged from the loser's bracket to face Joe Said. And Bath would need to beat Said not once but twice.

It was not to be however. The final match was played on Creature from the Black Lagoon, and again, it was over quickly. Justin Bath of Bowie, Maryland had finished in second place, and Joe Said of Toronto, Canada was champion.

Justin Bath plays Creature during the finals
Justin Bath plays Creature during the finals

Joe Said and Dan Wade play Tron:Legacy
Joe Said and Dan Wade play Tron:Legacy

Said, currently the sixth-ranked player in Canada according to the International Flipper Pinball Association and ranked 124th in the world overall, took the first place trophy and the $264 first place payout, while runner-up Bath (ranked 157th in the US, and 429th in the world) took home the second place trophy and $198 in cash. The third place trophy and $112 went to Dan Wade, and Drew Cedolia took home the fourth place trophy and $66.

The tournament trophies are those with blue trim, while the green trophies were for the Flippers League winners
The tournament trophies were those with blue trim,
while the green trophies were for the Flippers League winners

Flippers owner David Shields presents Joe Said with the winner's share
Flippers owner David Shields presents Joe Said with the winner's share

Drew Cedolia, Dan Wade, Justin Bath, and Joe Said
Drew Cedolia, Dan Wade, Justin Bath and Joe Said

Local players Mike Lukianoff and Brent Sorenson finished tied for fifth but just out of the money, however they along with everyone else did take home a nice T-shirt commemorating the event.

OBX = “Outer Banks” for those who might be wondering
OBX = “Outer Banks” for those who might be wondering

Flippers Variety and Arcade is located at 6615 Caratoke Highway in Grandy, North Carolina 27939. Their website is outerbanksamusements.com.

The tournament was directed and scored by David Hernley of Aurcade.

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