As the end of the summer collegiate baseball season is nearing the end of its marathon run, the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks find themselves on an incredible hot streak and now find themselves in second place in the league (21-15). The impressive run the team is currently on is evident when looking at the final roster for the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s All-Star game to be held tomorrow night in Nashua, NH. The game features a staggering number of seven Sharks players. The game will feature the following players:
- outfielder Tad Gold,
- shortstop Eric Jensen,
- catcher Justin Meier, and the Sharks “big three” starting pitchers
- Mike Bradstreet,
- Ryan Brockett,
- Matt Doyle and
- outfielder Karl Kapinos (thanks to the Sharks amazing fans who voted him onto the All-Star roster as the 25th player for the “Original Four” squad).
With so many of the Sharks players’ incredible talent being recognized by the league, it is safe to say that the team has turned its season around and is no longer looking back. Talking to the players about being selected, they all seemed to be very honored and excited to be chosen. “This is my first All-Star game so I am really looking forward to going and having a good time,” Tad Gold (batting .304 and leading the league in steals with 22) said when asked for his thoughts on being selected, “I am also excited that the game will be held in Nashua at the historic Holman Stadium. It is a guarantee that it will be an amazing and memorable experience for all of us.”
Taking a look back at these players’ season, it is no surprise at all that these players were chosen to join the All-Star roster. Talking to Matt Doyle (who is 4-0 and leading the league in ERA with a miniscule 0.30 ERA) before Monday’s game against the Mavericks (a dramatic come from behind walk off win for the Sharks), he quoted, “It is great that seven of us have been selected and recognized by the FCBL. I actually believe that so many of our other teammates deserved to be recognized as well though. We’ve all been playing great lately and there are players on our team that need to have their talents recognized along with those selected to the All Stars.” Looking at the statistics of many of the Sharks players, it is hard to not agree with Doyle. It is difficult to just choose a few of these incredible athletes from the team, as each one has brought something special to the table throughout the summer. It is a great feeling for the organization to know that they have a roster full of players who care so much and work as hard as they do day in and day out in order to win.
It is undeniable to say that these seven All-Star selectees have been a huge part to the team’s recent success as they stand now in second place in the league and have won nine of their last eleven games. The Futures Collegiate Baseball League season is a marathon. The Sharks play 58 games in 64 days. As in any baseball league it is important when you get hot as a team and the Sharks seem to have picked the right time. “I feel that I’ve been able to trust my teammates more and more throughout the season,” said pitcher Mike Bradstreet when asked about their current winning streak. Bradstreet leads the league in wins with a 6-0 record and an ERA of 1.28. “A lot of ground balls are hit off of me because of my pitching style. It is a great feeling to know that I have teammates behind me that can make the play. It has been the case all year and it has helped me stay confident in my game.” When also asked about the team’s recent winning streak, Eric Jensen (batted .341 and in fourth place in hitting overall) stated, “We all have an understanding now of how each player is able to contribute to each game. The coaches seem to understand how to get the best out of everyone and are able to work everyone into the lineup and get the most out of each of them. All of the pieces just seem to be coming together for us now.” Seeing how these guys have been playing recently, you can’t help but be excited about the team’s success right now. As their chemistry continues to build, the Sharks find success on an almost daily basis and the team’s potential chance for a championship seems to be increasing each day.
With so many memorable performances from the Sharks players this year, it is hard to pinpoint just one great moment from the season. From a couple of near no-hitters from both pitchers Bradstreet and Brockett (a perfect game for 8 innings) to sensational come-from-behind wins for the Sharks, there have been countless games that have forced fans to leap out of their seats with excitement. “My near perfect game is something that I will never forget,” said Brockett (2-2 with an ERA of 1.91) when asked what his most memorable performance was. “I actually didn’t even realize it until the 7th inning. There was this one point in the game that could have gone one way or another for me as I had a 3-2 count on one of the batters I was facing. Luckily, the next pitch I threw was a swing and a miss for the batter, keeping my perfect game alive. It was frustrating that I couldn’t finish the game due to the pitch count rule. It would have been a great feeling for me to have thrown a complete perfect game for my team, but I understand why the league does it. Nevertheless, it was a great game for me and my team.” One of the team’s come-from-behind wins came from our most recent home game against the Seacoast Mavericks, where the Sharks came back from being behind 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th to win the game in walk-off fashion with a single from Justin Meier that drove in Tad Gold for the win.
With the Sharks putting together one win after another, it has been an exciting time for both the organization and our fans. With the All-Star game this Thursday, July 26th, we hope our selected All-Stars will continue to play solid baseball. On the same day @ 3:00 PM at Holman Stadium will be “scout day.” Come join the players in Nashua for an exciting game that will feature talented players with great potential that hopefully will take them to the next level in baseball as there will be swarms of scouts at the game. We hope to see you there!
The Sharks have a big game today, Wednesday July 25th, as the Torrington Titans come to the Vineyard for a 5:00 PM game. They trail the Sharks by percentage points for 2nd place. The Sharks play Saturday against the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide and a matinee game at noon (Free Hot Dogs!!) on Sunday against the Brockton Rox. Unfortunately the 5-K run has been cancelled for Sunday; maybe next year!
By Sean Lenehan, intern with the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks.