The Marthas Vineyard Sharks ended their first season in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) with a 4-2 loss in the championship finals to the Keene Swamp Bats Thursday evening at Alumni Field in Keene, N.H.
All the scoring occurred in the third inning, as the Sharks pushed two runs across for a short-lived 2-0 lead on RBI walks to Jackson Raper and Nick Raposo. The Bats scored four in the bottom of the inning on a three-run homer by Dave Matthews, following a home run by Jonathan Edwards earlier in the inning.
And that was it for both teams for the night, as relievers shut down both offenses in a marathon 5½-hour game, featuring 2½ hours in rain delays. The Sharks managed only two hits (Collin Shapiro and Anthony Shapiro) on the night and Shark relievers Chris Stefl and Anthony Spinelli gave up only three hits to the eventual champs over five innings of work in relief of Hunter Harris, who went the first three innings surrendering five hits, including the fateful homers.
The victory gave Keene its fifth NECBL championship in 22 years in the league and represented an auspicious beginning for the Sharks in the NECBL, rated by Baseball America as the nation’s second-best collegiate summer league after the iconic Cape Cod League.