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Highspire pinball league welcomes players of all skill levels

Death Save Pinball runs four leagues every year, each spanning nine weeks. Signups are open for the winter season, which begins on Jan. 18.

HIGHSPIRE, Pa. — You've heard of soccer leagues and flag football leagues... but what about a pinball league?

The Death Save Pinball League is open to anyone 21 years and older and welcomes players of all skill levels.

“Just because you've never played pinball, just because you don't know how it works, don't be afraid to come out for a night like this where you can get together, meet new people, play some free pinball and have a good time," Nathan Eppley, tournament director, said.

The Dauphin County group organizes four different divisions to accommodate every kind of pinball player. The divisions are based on expertise, so everyone has a chance to go home with a trophy.

“I hadn’t really played pinball too much before, so I wasn't sure if I was gonna like it or be any good at it, but immediately I knew that it was super fun," Alex Miller, a player in the league, said. "I wanted to keep coming every week."

“That's one of my favorite things is somebody that's new that experiences it for the first time and then absolutely falls in love with it,” Eppley said.

If you are new to the game, Eppley and other league players have some insider tips.

“It's all physics,” Eppley said. "It's a game of angles, bounces and spin. So if you can see which way the ball's coming from, control the ball the best you can. Get it up a ramp, get it in a scoop, get it around an orbit and score points based on what you do in the order in which you do it.”

“Pinball, it's a lot of hand-eye coordination, timing, skill," Jeff Mack, a player in the league, said. "It's kind of like a sport, you know.”

“It’s definitely a lot more technical than you would think,” Miller said.

There will be plenty of time for first-timers to practice during the nine-week season. Each league does either weeks of regular play and one week of finals.

“I use this league as more of a fun time for me," Mack said. "It's a good night out to just be with my friends and just having a good time."

The Death Save Pinball League meets Wednesday nights from 6:45 to around 9 p.m. in Champions Sports Bar in Highspire. You must be at least 21 years old to join.

“I'm not like an expert pinball player or anything, but it's really fun to come out and do on Wednesday nights, and I actually won a trophy last time—it was my first time,” Miller said.

The winter league runs from Jan. 18 to March 15. For more information on how to sign up, check out the league's website or Facebook, or send an email to director@DeathSavePinball.net. There is a $20 fee to register, but the organizers say 100% of the cost is returned to the players in the form of trophies and prizes.

“It's a great night out, you know," Mack said. "It's fun; you can be serious if you wanna be serious, or you can just play for fun.”

If you're not quite ready to start your foray into pinball by Jan. 18, the next orientation for the spring league will be on April 5.

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