Heading into Wednesday night’s game at Newport, the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks held a one-game lead atop the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) Southern Division standings at 18-12.
The Sharks started off the past week by setting the single-game attendance record at the Shark Tank. An enthusiastic crowd of 2,799 poured into the Tank on July 14 to watch the Sharks take on the Valley Blue Sox of Holyoke. Unfortunately, the fog proved to be as formidable as the Sox, who left with a 5-3 win after seven innings. The visitors scored four runs in the top of the seventh, three after a high fly ball disappeared into the murky mist in right-center field.
Spencer Bramwell hit a towering home run to left-center in the third inning, and Matt Woods doubled in the fifth as the Sharks built a 4-1 lead. Tommy Seidl made an outstanding running grab in center field to record the web gem of the fog-shortened contest.
The Sharks exacted revenge the following day by sweeping the Sox in a doubleheader at MacKenzie Stadium in Holyoke.
Noah Johnson threw a three-hitter and struck out five over six innings as the Sharks took the afternoon game, 2-1. MV scored both runs in the fifth inning. A.J. Shaver tripled to center and Matt Woods followed with a two-run homer. Alex Galvan closed down the Sox in the seventh inning to earn the save.
In the nightcap, Ryan Hernandez and Michael Brown went yard, Will Duff hit a double, and Matt Woods added an RBI to lift the Sharks to a 4-2 win.
The Sox got two runs on two hits in the first inning, but Sharks starter Will Greer kept the Valley offense quiet, striking out five batters over the rest of his four innings of work. Tyler Hamilton came on to pitch the next two innings and got the win, allowing two hits, striking out two and walking one. Clark Klitenic threw a scoreless seventh and notched the save.
With the job done in Holyoke, the Sharks headed for South Kingstown, R.I., on Friday and lost a 10-9 slugfest to the Ocean State Waves.
Ryan Hernandez hit a two-run blast in the fifth inning, and cracked a grand slam in the sixth, but Ocean State tied the game with three runs in the seventh, and grabbed the eventual game winner in the eighth after Johnny Tuccillo hit a two-out single to center field to score Dylan Hoy.
Five Sharks stayed in the Ocean State to play for the Southern Division team in the NECBL All-Star Game, Sunday afternoon at Cardines Field in Newport. Pitcher Ryan Ramsey and first baseman Ryan Hernandez were starters. Adam Boucher and Jackson Nezuh pitched in relief, and Jake Berger came on at shortstop in the fourth inning. Ramsey, the Sharks’ lefty from the University of Maryland, fanned three of the five batters he faced, while Nezuh, a Florida State righthander, gave up a leadoff single, but got three consecutive outs in the seventh. The Northern Stars scored three runs in the second inning en route to a 6-2 win.
The Sharks returned to the Tank after the All-Star break, and beat the Bristol Blues, 7-2, on Tuesday night. The Blues scored on Mark Coley’s two-run homer in the first inning, but the Sharks pitchers held the visitors to just two hits the rest of the way. Starter Ryan Vanderhai pitched the first five innings to get the win, Drew Mead threw the next three innings, and outfielder Brad Grenkoski pitched the ninth to seal the win.
Ryan Hernandez hit a solo homer to center in the second to put the Sharks on the board, but the hosts did most of their damage in the fifth. Trey Leonard singled to lead off, and Matt Woods crushed a homer to right. After Jake Berger knocked in Will Duff for the next run, Bristol outfielders lost consecutive balls in the lights. Ryan Hernandez reached on a single, and Spencer Bramwell hit an RBI double to put MV up, 5-2. Matt Woods picked up his third RBI in the sixth inning, and Anthony Shaver scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.
The Sharks have four home games in the next seven days. The Mystic Schooners visit on Thursday night, Bristol returns to the Tank on Friday, Newport comes to call on Sunday, and Mystic visits again on Tuesday. All games are 7 pm starts.