Rainout forces tie between Sharks and Bravehearts

The teams will share 2018 FCBL Championship.

The Sharks pose with their "co-champions" the Bravehearts. – Rob Stone

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks will share the Future Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) championship with the Worcester Bravehearts after the final game was rained out Monday night at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs.

The umpires waited almost an hour and a half to call it after delaying the game in the middle of the first inning of a 1-1 tie. The Bravehearts fashioned a run on three singles in the top of the inning. Shark Matt Chamberlain tied it with a massive home run, leading off the bottom of the inning. Tyler Wincig then worked a walk before the rain came.

The ending disappointed several hundred fans, including a robust, loud group of Bravehearts fans, all rooting for a clear winner. It wasn’t going to happen as a series of rain cells moved across the Island. Rescheduling the game became difficult, since FCBL players are college students who were running out of time to return home and prepare for school.

During the delay, Braveheart players played man-in-the-middle in front of their dugout while Sharks players slogged around the infield, sweeping water and drying agent off the infield on the chance they’d play.

Fans got to watch both activities while being serenaded with a playlist of “rain” songs including “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls, Prince’s “Purple Rain,” and “Dirty Water” by the Standells. The Sharks moved the game from 7 pm to 6 pm to try to get it in before the rain came, to no avail. So about 8 pm, 50 wet young men stood behind the mound with their coaches for a group shot with the championship trophy.

The Sharks and the Bravehearts proved they are evenly matched over a 59-game regular season and playoffs, running 1-2 in the league all season. The Sharks won a franchise-record 36 games (39 wins, including playoffs), sent 12 players to the FCBL All-Star team, and had Monday’s starter, Chance Huff, named the league’s top pro pitching prospect, while Kellen Hathaway took defensive player of the year honors.

In all, a satisfying season that attracted new fans, including Robin and Paul Moore of Wallingford, Conn. The Moores are baseball fans (Red Sox, not Yankees), and have vacationed here for 22 years, and since the Sharks made the playoffs in 2018, were able to attend all the home playoff games.

“We love this atmosphere and the opportunity to really meet Island residents in a social environment,” Paul Moore said.

“See you next year. We’ll be here,” Robin Moore said.