Sharks drop championship opener to Bravehearts

Game two set for Saturday in Worcester.

Sharks’ Cayden Stover throws a pitch against the Worcester Bravehearts’ Edward Haus during the 5th inning. — Caroline Brehman

The Worcester Bravehearts broke open a back-and-forth game at the Shark Tank Friday night with six runs in the seventh inning to take game one of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League

(FCBL) championship series in a 10-6 win over the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks.

The Sharks travel to Worcester today for the second game of the best-of-three series, though rain is predicted for the area. If the Saturday game is canceled, it will be played on Sunday. Whenever it’s played, the Sharks must win, or their season is over and Worcester will take the league title.

If the Sharks win in Worcester, the final game will be played at the Tank on Sunday or Monday.

It began well on Friday night. The Sharks scored twice in the first inning on RBI singles by Jackson Raper and Kellen Hathaway, and Sharks starter Dalton Ponce handled the Bravehearts easily for three innings. Worcester tied it 2-2 in the fourth on a two-run homer from Paul Gozzo. The Sharks wasted no time untying it with two runs in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single from Raposo and a Worcester throwing error, for a 4-2 lead. The output would have been higher except for two highlight-reel catches by Worcester super-centerfielder Idelson Taveras.

The Sharks took a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning after a Raposo double scored Collin Shapiro, who had walked.

It all came apart for the Sharks in the Bravehearts seventh when Worcester batted around, scoring six times off three Shark relievers, including a three-run homer by Kirk Sidwell. The Sharks would add a run in the eighth on a walk and a two-base throwing error.

Now it’s win or go home in Worcester for the Sharks, who set a team win record (36) in the regular season. The Sharks know how to play with their backs to the wall. After dropping the semifinal opener to the Brockton Rox last week, the Sharks won two consecutive games to advance to the championship round.