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Sharks baseball

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Teammates congratulate Sharks left-fielder Brian Campbell after the first of two home runs against the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide on Sunday night.

The MV Sharks played The Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide Sunday evening in a Father’s Day extravaganza at The Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs. It was a perfect night for baseball and dads and grandpas, who enjoyed free admission to honor their special day. The Sharks slaughtered The Tide, 12-2, and improved their record to 5-4, remaining in second place in their Eastern Division behind the Brockton Rox. The Sharks also beat the Torrington Titans, 8-6, at Torrington’s Fuessenich Park Tuesday evening, putting their record at 6-4 and placing them second in the 10-team Futures Collegiate Baseball League East Division.

The Sharks went into the game against The Tide with the momentum of a 7-6 Saturday night win against the Seacoast Mavericks in Newington, N.H. “We were up 7-3 going into the last inning and then things got interesting,” coach John Toffey told The Times.

“It’s a beautiful evening here on The Vineyard and we’re excited to play in front of the home crowd,” pitching coach John Toffey told The Times prior to Sunday’s game. “We had a great game last night and I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum over into tonight. I feel confident with our hitters and with our bullpen.”

Sunday’s starting pitcher was Max Bruckner, who went six innings and was described by teammate Mike Fitzgerald as having a “big-time righty arm.”

Mike said, “He throws balls by people — it’s really exciting to watch him pitch.”

The Raging Tide got two runs in the first inning and never scored again. Shark’s players Ryan Kelly and Will Toffey, brother of coach John Toffey, had one home run each in the third and fourth innings. Brian Campbell had a home run in the sixth and seventh innings.

The Sharks were tough on defense. In the top of the fourth inning with the bases loaded and only one out, the Sharks deftly held off The Tide.

Thilo Henkes of Newburyport, who attended the game with his son, Colin, was Sunday’s Fan of the Game. “This was our first time to a Sharks game,” Thilo said. “It was a lot of fun!”

Scott Goodwin of Hawaii also enjoyed himself. “I like it because it’s a good setup for your kids not to make anyone mad as they fool around,” he said.

Eric Chapman of Edgartown added, “Yes, we come quite often, I take my son William here.”

One happy grandfather named Joseph Mikos from North Haven, Conn., was at the game with his family. “I’m here with my three granddaughters and my son and daughter-in-law,” he said. “We are visiting and thought we’d come for Father’s Day. It’s quite a facility here and I think the announcer is doing quite a good job. I appreciate knowing where the kids (players) are from, as my grandson goes to Stonehill College and there are a couple of boys on this team from Stonehill.”

Young fans Nick BenDavid and Nick Rego, third graders in the Oak Bluffs school, said the best thing about Sharks games was “getting foul balls.”

Nearby, Jim McKeon of Edgartown said, “I come to as many [Sharks games] as I can make. I’m here with my kids who both wanted to come tonight. I just love baseball.”

Coach Toffey recapped the game. “It was a great team win and Bruckner on the mound got us off to a great start. Any time you can have a starting pitcher go six solid innings, it gives you a chance to win the ballgame. He really threw the ball well, our defense played great, and having four home runs is a lot of fun. To be honest, one of the biggest at-bats of the game was Jack Roberts: there were two outs and he came up with a huge hit that gave us a nice three-run cushion. This got us back to the top of the lineup and gave Campbell a chance to hit another home run.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks are a summer collegiate all-star baseball team and member of the Future Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) of New England. All players in this league are elite college athletes competing in a minor league format. The level of play is outstanding and some players are drafted by Major League Baseball teams.

Just this month former Shark Tad Gold, a Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School graduate, was drafted by The Baltimore Orioles and current Sharks Austin DeCarr and Will Toffey were drafted by The New York Yankees.

Mike Fitzgerald, who pitched the seventh and eighth innings against The Mavericks, said that he is having a good first year on the Sharks. “It’s a great group of guys — we meshed well together from day one,” he said. “It’s fun to play with people on the same team that you usually play against.”

The Friday night home game against the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs was rained out. It is rescheduled for 4 pm on July 3.

The next home game is Thursday, June 19, at 7 pm against The North Shore Navigators. This is a free admission night for members of Fire Departments, Police Departments, and EMS.

Ticket prices range from $4 to $10 and can be purchased at mvsharks.com or by calling 508-687-9705. “Power” and “Snack” ticket packages are additional options. The Sharks also offer summer camp for your Little Leaguers running from June 23 to August 7 and Way-Cool Birthday Parties at The Shark Tank!

Follow The Sharks on Twitter at @MV_Sharks and on Facebook at facebook.com/MarthasVineyardSharks.

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Sharks pitcher Kyle Brenner of Brandeis gets ready to deal to the plate Tuesday vs. Old Orchard Beach.

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, the local franchise in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, started the defense of their 2013 championship with three wins and two losses in the first week of play. They also had three players drafted, two current and one former, by Major League Baseball over the weekend.

Austin DeCarr follows through with a big kick.

Photo by Ralph Stewart

Austin DeCarr follows through with a big kick.

Right-handed pitcher Austin DeCarr (Clemson) started and won the season opener June 4 before being drafted with the 91st overall pick by the New York Yankees on June 6. The following day, shortstop Will Toffey (Vanderbilt), brother of Sharks coach John Toffey, went to the Yanks in the 23rd round, while the Baltimore Orioles picked Vineyarder and former Sharks player Tad Gold in the 35th round.

The Major League Draft news was the major highlight in a busy week of FCBL play.

Tuesday at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs, the Sharks moved over .500 with a 5-4 win over the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide. The Sharks won the game in the bottom of the ninth after a Rahiem Cooper error in left field allowed Brian Campbell to score from third base. Campbell led off the ninth with a double. Kevin Foley then singled, advancing Campbell to third and setting up the winning run.

Jack Roberts dives safely back to first Saturday vs. Brockton.

Photo by Ralph Stewart

Jack Roberts dives safely back to first Saturday vs. Brockton.

The Tide scored the first two runs of the ballgame. Sharks second baseman Jack Roberts, a 2013 MVRHS graduate who now plays at Williams College, put the hosts on the board with a deep sac fly to right, scoring Jack Cloud.

The Sharks took a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Brian Campbell earned an RBI walk and Will Toffey scored for the go-ahead run. In the sixth, Jon Mayer doubled and Toffey brought him home with a double of his own to make it 4-2.

Sharks closer Matt Calamoneri earned the win. Kyle Brenner threw a four stellar shutout innings of long relief for starter Garrison Banas, allowing two hits, with three Ks and three walks. Matt Binder pitched the eighth, conceding one run, striking out two and walking one.

Catcher Jon Mayer was 4 for 5 on the night and Matt Lavanchy went 3 for 3. Will Toffey and Brian Campbell each were 2 for 4 and Jack Cloud was 2 for 3.

Sharks shortstop Will Toffey was drafted Saturday by the New York Yankees in the 23rd round of the Major League Baseball draft.

Photo by Ralph Stewart

Sharks shortstop Will Toffey was drafted Saturday by the New York Yankees in the 23rd round of the Major League Baseball draft.

Sunday, the Sharks traveled to Lynn, pounding out 17 hits in a 15-6 win over the North Shore Navigators. Jack Roberts was 3 for 5 with four RBIs. Tim Bickford also knocked in four runs and went 2 for 3. Kyle Pheland was the winning pitcher.

Friday and Saturday, the Sharks suffered consecutive losses to the Nashua Silver Knights (12-9) and Brockton Rox (9-1).

The Sharks raised their 2013 championship flag on June 4, then went out and chomped the North Shore Navigators, 11-1, in the season opener before 800 fans on a misty Wednesday night at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs.

Austin DeCarr got the start and earned the win. The 6’ 3” 215-pound hard-throwing right hander from Foxboro pitched four strong innings, allowing one hit, striking out seven, and walking three.

DeCarr’s teammates took out their wooden bats and gave him plenty of runs to work with.

Sharky, the Sharks mascot, races with Tommy Reynolds and loses a shoe prior to the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night at The Tank.

Photo by Ralph Stewart

Sharky, the Sharks mascot, races with Tommy Reynolds and loses a shoe prior to the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night at The Tank.

The Sharks broke the game open with six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the third to take a 7-1 lead. Second baseman Jack Roberts, a 2013 MVRHS graduate attending Williams College led off with a single. Ryan Kelly and Rich Baerga then singled to load the bases. Tim Bickford singled to score Roberts and Kelly. The next three Sharks all doubled. John Mayer knocked in Baerga and Bickford; Steve Buckley Jr. scored Mayer; and Brendan Cox doubled in Buckley Jr.

The locals put the game away in the fifth after Buckley Jr. crushed a three-run homer to deep center and Ryan Kelly batted in Brendan Cox.

The Sharks are back at The Tank Friday night at 7 pm to take on the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs.

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Tad Gold on the bases for Endicott College.

Tad Gold, a 2010 MVRHS graduate, was drafted Saturday by the Baltimore Orioles in the 35th round of the Major League Baseball Draft, confirmed Sharks GM Gerry Murphy.

Vineyarder Tad Gold, readied for a pitch against Nashua during Sharks playoff run in the summer of 2013.

File photo by Ralph Stewart

Vineyarder Tad Gold, readied for a pitch against Nashua during Sharks playoff run in the summer of 2013.

Saturday night, Mr. Gold was honored by the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, prior to the start of their scheduled game with the Brockton Rocks. He was celebrated for starting for the Sharks for three years,  where he played outfield. He was also a Sharks All-Star. As a recently graduated college senior, Mr. Gold is ineligible to play this season for the Sharks.

Last month, Mr. Gold was named the Division III college player of the year. He played for Endicott College in Beverly.

 

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Sharks starter Austin DeCarr throws the first pitch to get the new FCBL season underway Wednesday night at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs.

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League raised their 2013 championship flag, then went out and chomped the North Shore Navigators 11-1 in the season opener before 800 fans on a misty Wednesday night at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs.

Sharks catcher Jon Mayer has North Shore's Alex Burridge right where he wants him at the play at the plate in the third inning.

Photo by Ralph Stewart

Sharks catcher Jon Mayer has North Shore’s Alex Burridge right where he wants him at a play at the plate in the third inning.

Austin DeCarr (Clemson), a projected second to third round pick in the Major League Baseball draft got the start and earned the win. The 6’ 3” 215 lbs. hard-throwing right hander from Foxboro pitched four strong innings, allowing one hit, striking out seven, and walking three.

DeCarr’s teammates took out their wooden bats and gave him plenty of runs to work with.

Will Toffey (Vanderbilt), brother of new Sharks coach John Toffey, put the hosts up 1-0 in the first inning on an RBI ground out. The Navigators tied the score in the top of the third but it was all downhill from there for the visitors from Lynn.

The Sharks reeled off six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the third to take a 7-1 lead. Second baseman Jack Roberts, a 2013 MVRHS graduate attending Williams College led off with a single. Ryan Kelly (Salve Regina) and Rich Baerga (St. Thomas Aquinas) then singled to load the bases. Tim Bickford (Univ. of Bridgeport) singled to score Roberts and Kelly. The next three Sharks all doubled. John Mayer (Bucknell) knocked in Baerga and Bickford; Steve Buckley Jr. (Western New England) scored Mayer; and Brendan Cox (Mercyhurst) doubled in Buckley Jr.

The locals put the game away in the fifth after Buckley Jr. crushed a three-run homer to deep center and Ryan Kelly batted in Brendan Cox.

harks second baseman Jack Roberts is ready for action at third base.

Photo by Ralph Stewart

Jack Roberts is ready for action at third base.

Kyle Brenner (Brandeis) came in for Austin DeCarr, pitching three solid innings, giving up two hits with two K’s and no walks. Mike Fitzgerald (Northeastern) and Matt Calamoneri (Univ. of Scranton) pitched the final two innings, striking out one batter each.

The Sharks are back at The Tank June 5 to face the Nashua Silver Knights. Saturday night prior to playing the Brockton Rox, the Sharks receive their championship rings and honor Tad Gold, a Vineyarder and former three-year starter. Last month, Tad was named Division III college player of the year. Saturday’s pre-game ceremony begins at 6 pm. Both games start at 7 pm.

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Tad Gold on the bases for Endicott College.

Tad Gold hit for the cycle in baseball honors this year.

The 2009 graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS), now a 2014 graduate of Endicott College in Beverly, last week was named the national NCAA collegiate Division III Player of the Year, one of five honors marking his 2014 collegiate baseball performance.

Tad signs the shirt of a young fan after the Sharks first game in 2011.

File photo by Ralph Stewart

Tad signs the shirt of a young fan after the Sharks first game in 2011.

A center fielder, Mr. Gold has also been named to the Division III All-American first team and he has been selected as the All-New England Player of the Year by D3Baseball.com and as Player of the Year by the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). More than 700 student-athletes were nominated for the eighth annual D3Baseball.com All-America Team. On May 27, Endicott announced in a press release that Tad was selected as a first-team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

In 2014, Mr. Gold led the Endicott Gulls (34-16) to their second consecutive CCC title and to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA New England Regional Finals with a .429 batting average and a .493 on base percentage. For perspective on Mr. Gold’s achievements, baseball statistical norms regard a .300 batting average and a .370 on base percentage as the standards for above-average performance.

A three-year player for the 2013 Futures Collegiate Baseball League champion Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, Mr. Gold will be honored at Tad Gold Night on Saturday, June 7, at Vineyard Baseball Park (aka The Shark Tank) located behind MVRHS. The ceremonies will precede the first pitch at 7 pm. The Sharks also feature infielder Jack Roberts, a 2013 MVRHS graduate who hit .302 as a starting infielder for Williams College in 2014.

Mr. Gold is vacationing in Australia this week but his mother, Melissa Gold, said the recent spate of honors and accolades Tad has received is “very exciting and humbling, in a way. He’s worked really hard for this. And he graduated, right on time. Yay!,” she said in an interview last Sunday evening.

Tad Gold rounding second in the Sharks 2013 home opener.

File photo by Ralph Stewart

Tad Gold rounding second in the Sharks 2013 home opener.

She said the four-year hockey and baseball player at both MVRHS and at Endicott will pursue a baseball career. “He wants to play someplace,” she said, adding that Mr. Gold has received an invitation to tryout on June 28 for the Rockland Boulders in the independent Can-Am minor leagues in Pomona, N.Y., about an hour north of New York City. Jamie Keefe, the current Boulders field manager, managed at Pittsfield in the FCBL for several years during Mr. Gold’s Sharks career.

Over the past several decades, independent minor leagues have become an important feeder system to Major League Baseball’s minor and major league franchises.

“I support him in this,” his mother said. “He loves the game and why not give it a try? You don’t want to look back in 20 years and regret not having done it.”

His father, Wally Gold, loves baseball and is proud of his son’s baseball achievements. “I’m still in kind of a daze and just really proud of him for his baseball accomplishments but the kind of person he has become outshines his baseball achievements. He’s got his priorities straight. We get comments all the time on the kind of friend, teammate and mentor Tad is. He’s made spectacular life plays, but he makes the routine plays in life, does the right thing, without fail.”

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The Sharks, who won it all in 2013, start their quest for an FCBL repeat June 4 at the Tank in Oak Bluffs.

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks of the wooden-bat Futures Collegiate Baseball League begin their fourth season Wednesday, June 4, at 7 pm at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs against the North Shore Navigators of Lynn.

The Sharks are the defending league champions and finished the 2013 season with a 35-18 record.

This season, the 10 FCBL teams will compete in East and West divisions and play a 58-game schedule. The Sharks will play in the East alongside the Brockton Rox, North Shore Navigators (Lynn), Seacoast Mavericks (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), and the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide (Old Orchard Beach, Maine). The West comprises the Nashua Silver Knights (Nashua, New Hampshire), Wachusset Dirt Dawgs (Leominster), Pittsfield Suns, Torrington Titans (Torrington, Connecticut), and the expansion franchise Worcester Bravehearts.

The Sharks will have a new skipper this season as John Toffey takes over for Mike Miller as head coach. Mr. Toffey comes to the team after four years at the Salisbury School in Connecticut, where he has guided the Crimson Knights to a 46-1 record and two Western New England Prep School baseball championships over the past two seasons.

The new coach brings with him two top Major League prospects and potentially a third. Austin DeCarr is a big, hard-throwing right hander, scheduled to start opening night, who is expected to go as high as the second or third round of the MLB draft. DeCarr throws 92-93 mph on average. In his past two starts, he threw a two-hitter with 16 strikeouts and no walks to go with a complete game, one-hitter with 19 Ks. The bad news is that DeCarr is set to join Clemson University at the end of June. Will Toffey, brother of coach John Toffey, is a power hitting shortstop with a four-year scholarship to Vanderbilt, projected as an 8th to 10th round pick. The Sharks are also hoping to obtain the services of Salisbury’s Paul Campbell, a right-hander throwing in the high 80’s, also headed for Clemson. Campbell is projected as an 11th to 12th round pick.

Two additional promising new recruits are on the Sharks roster. John Kennedy, a junior at Nyack College in New York who has been scouted by the Cincinnati Reds, will be the team’s starting center fielder and gives the Sharks a real threat on the bases. The speedy Kennedy stole a league record 64 bases in his freshman year and added 40 more in each of the past two seasons at Nyack. Finally, William Montgomerie, also from the Salisbury School, was offered a four-year scholarship to UConn and should be an additional righty in the Sharks rotation.

The Sharks also have several players returning from last year’s championship squad, including closer Matt Calamoneri, 2013 MVRHS graduate Jack Roberts, pitcher Kyle Brenner, and outfielder Kevin Foley.

Vineyarder Tad Gold, a three-year starter with the Sharks and an FCBL all-star is not eligible to play for the team this season due to his graduation from Endicott College in Beverly, but he will be honored at the June 7 home game against the Brockton Rox.

Sharks season tickets are still available in limited quantities for stadium style reserved seats. The cost is $175 for 28 home games. Single game tickets are $10 for reserved seats. For bleacher seating, the cost is $6 adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children. Games start 7 pm.

Opening night June 4 is Little League night. All players and coaches in uniform get in for free. The Sharks host Nashua June 5, Brockton June 7, and Old Orchard Beach June 10.

To order tickets and for more information on the Sharks, visit www.mvsharks.com or call 508-687-9705.