Updated Wednesday June 7
The undefeated Martha’s Vineyard Sharks stand alone atop the Eastern division of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL), with four consecutive season-opening wins over division rivals last week.
The wooden-bat league, now in its seventh season, showcases the best of college players from around the country. The Sharks have shown great promise in the early going, built on strong pitching and steady defense.
Currently, Sharks pitcher Hunter Sheppard is the FCBL’s top hurler, Philip Clarke leads the FCBL in batting average and RBIs, and the Sharks have three players in the league’s top 10 hitters, including Trey Stefanski and Jack Satterfield.
With wins over the Brockton Rox, the Seacoast (Portsmouth, N.H.) Mavericks, the North Shore Navigators of Lynn, and the Nashua Silver Knights by a combined 36-9 margin, the Sharks go on the road against the Wachusett (Leominster) Dirt Dawgs and Worcester Bravehearts before returning home for another tilt on June 8, against Brockton at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Games begin at 6:35 pm.
In the season opener against Brockton last Thursday night, the Sharks built an early 5-0 lead, then hung on to survive a late-inning long ball barrage by the Rox to win their FCBL season opener, 6-4, at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs.
Sharks starter Hunter Sheppard took player-of-the-game honors for five innings of shutdown hurling. He was supported by a first-inning two-run homer from third baseman Mike Knell, and got two more runs in the second, compliments of a two-run double by shortstop Luke Johnson.
Those four runs looked to be plenty, as Mr. Sheppard allowed one hit and struck out seven in the first five innings. Brockton got to him in the sixth when Alex Perry hit a three-run bomb to make it 5-3, before Vineyard resident Mac Curran relieved him to end the threat. The Rox got another homer an inning later from shortstop Kyle Ruth to make it a one-run game.
Former MVRHS star Jack Roberts, now attending Williams College, chipped in a single and a walk, scoring the game-winning fifth Sharks run in the fifth inning.
Two additional Shark relievers shut down the Rox the rest of the way, and the Sharks manufactured a seventh-inning insurance tally without benefit of a base hit.