Breakdowns in the field finally caught up to the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks. The Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide beat the Sharks on the Vineyard when the Tide came up with an unearned run in the top of the seventh to break a 2-2 tie and hand the Sharks their second straight defeat 3-2 Saturday at Vineyard Baseball Park while beating the Sharks ace, Mike Bradstreet, (University of Rhode Island) handing him his first defeat of the summer baseball season.
The turning point of the game actually occurred in the bottom of the third inning when 3B Eric Brenk (Wofford College) got hit on the hand from a tight fastball from Oliver Van Zant (Bowdoin College) of the Tide. The domino effect took place as Brenk was replaced by outfielder Cale Hanson (Yale University) who eventually made the throwing error in the top of seventh inning that led to the Tide’s winning run. X-rays revealed a hairline fracture of the hand possibly putting Brenk out for the remainder of the regular season. This injury is on top of Friday’s pre-game leg injury to starting shortstop Eric Jensen (Wheaton College), the Sharks leading hitter (.341) and RBI leader (21). Fortunately there was no broken or fractured bone in Jensen’s case; instead a deep bone bruise leaving him inactive for several games. When Jensen returns it will undoubtedly adversely impact his speed as he is second on the team in stolen bases with 13.
Despite the defeat, the Sharks remained in second place in the tightly bunched race for the playoffs between the teams in second-through-seventh place; all separated by 4 games on the loss side. Only the top four teams out of nine teams in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) make the playoffs. There are less than two weeks left in the season. The Sharks and the Pittsfield Suns remain the two hottest teams in the FCBL, both going 7-3 over the last 10 games. Today, starting at 12:00 PM, the Sharks finish a suspended game that is going into the 11th inning against the Brockton Rox, followed by the regularly scheduled game. The Rox are currently in 6th place, 2 ½ games behind the Sharks.
Bradstreet pitched seven innings of eight-hit, two-run ball excluding the unearned run in the 7th inning. Matt Cook (Northeastern University) came on and pitched two shutout innings to keep the game close but to no avail. The Sharks did not mount any type of threat over the final two innings except for Nick Sanford’s (UMass) single in the 9th inning with two outs. Sanford had two hits during the game bringing his average up to .318, which is the third highest batting average on the Sharks.
The Sharks scored solo runs in the first two innings on a Pat Quinn (University of Rhode Island) RBI single and an RBI single by Sanford but had 10 LOB for the game.
Looks like another overcast day on the Vineyard, which is great for baseball at Vineyard Baseball Park. Today is “free hot dog” day at the ballpark, so come join us for an early start at 12:00 PM. The Sharks play in Pittsfield on Monday and return to the Vineyard for a game on Tuesday at 5:00 PM against the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs.
Sharks are looking for host families, interns and volunteers for next season. Please look for a team official at the game or call 508.687-9705.