The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks ended 2½ hours of Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) drama Sunday night with a 4-3 home-run derby walk-off win over the Nashua Silver Knights at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs.
Eric Foggo blasted three home runs in the second round of the derby, earning the Sharks team its second walk-off win of the weekend after edging the Brockton Rox 5-4 on Friday night with a ninth-inning rally.
The Silver Knights have a top-pedigree roster, featuring the son of former MLB star pitcher Tom Candiotti and the grandson of Dick Berardino, now a scout for the Red Sox and a former BoSox coach.
No one would have projected this finish after an eight-inning pitchers’ duel that featured a dominant performance from Sharks starter Shawn Babineau. The Silver Knights had managed only four hits with six Ks off the power lefty over eight innings. The Sharks were up 3-1 in the Nashua ninth, when Babineau gave up a single, then a two-run homer to burly Silver Knight DH Alex Brickman to knot things at 3-3. Connor Hall relieved, and shut the Knights down in an inning and two-thirds of work.
Neither team mounted a threat after 10 innings of play, triggering the home-run derby to decide things. The FCBL uses home-run competition to decide ties after 10 innings. Each team has three minutes in the first round, under an umpire’s watch, to amass as many dingers as they can off soft tosses. In case of a tie, a second round of two minutes is held. If teams are still tied after two rounds, the game is declared a tie.
Brickman, who had two doubles and a home run in game play, helped the Knights to a 2-0 lead before the Sharks tied it with homers from Tate Hagan and Mike Lisinicchia, who are primarily pitchers for the Sharks.
On to round two, the two-minute affair in which the Knights (10-15) homered twice before Foggo ended it with three bombs, the last as time was running down.
The win boosted the Sharks’ FCBL league-leading record to 19-6, and a five-game lead over the second-place Bristol (Conn.) Blues, as the halfway point of the 56-game season nears. On Sunday, the Sharks offense was led by Collin Shapiro with three hits and an RBI, and Josh Spiegel with two hits, a walk, and an RBI. Pinch hitter Jackson Raper had a late-inning RBI single, and Matt Latour drove in a run.
The Sharks and the FCBL are on a run. The Sharks won three in a row, during a week in which former Torrington Titan (2012) Tyler Bashlor was called up and pitched for the New York Mets before Monday’s game — the first FCBL alum to make it to the Major Leagues.
It’s clear to the fan’s eye that FCBL talent and level of play has soared over the past eight seasons, and evidently it’s also clear to Major League scouts, who signed 35 present and former FCBL-ers last month.
It’s also clear why the Sharks are dominating this season. Sharks players lead or are in the top five among FCBL hitting and pitching categories. The Sharks are at home all week, with games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Games begin at 7 pm, and are played at the Shark Tank, behind Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.