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.