Saturday night at the Shark Tank, the MV Sharks defeated the Vermont Mountaineers 7-6 to claim the team’s first New England College Baseball League title. In a summer season full of streaky play, the Sharks caught fire at the right time, taking 18 of their last 20 games en route to the Fay Vincent Cup.
After the Sharks steamrolled Vermont in game 1, winning 16-3, they faced their first real test since the wild card round, coming out on top in a thrilling game that featured numerous lead changes.
After a strong first three innings from Oak Bluffs native James Sashin, the Sharks found themselves up 3-1 thanks to a Michael Snyder two-run double and a Marcus Franco RBI single. While Snyder recorded two more RBI in the bottom of the fourth, the Mountaineers countered, and the game was knotted up at five runs with four innings left to play. With strong relief pitching from Alejandro Torres, the scoreline stayed even through the seventh inning, but after a Mountaineers run in the top of the 8th, it seemed that the Sharks would have to make the trip back up to Vermont for a deciding third game in the series.
However, like they had all season, the Sharks kept their composure and were clutch when it mattered most. In the bottom of the 8th, star centerfielder Logan Chambers clobbered a ball deep to right field, driving in Jadyn Jackson to give the Sharks a 7-6 lead.
Closer Camron Hill redeemed himself for the run that he surrendered in the 8th with a perfect 9th inning, retiring all three Mountaineer batters to register the win — and with it, the NECBL title.
Sharks sweep Blues to Advance to NECBL Finals
After Tuesday night’s convincing 10-3 victory in Bristol, it was no surprise that they followed up their outstanding performance on Wednesday, clobbering the Blues 13-4 at the Shark Tank in Game 2 of the series to advance to the NECBL championship series. Despite coming into the postseason as the 4 seed, the Sharks had yet to lose a playoff game, relying on clutch plays, strong hitting, and excellent relief pitching.
The Shark offense got started early, scoring a run in the 1st inning after a bases-loaded single from Washington’s Michael Snyder drove in leadoff man Logan Chambers of Tennessee. The bats came alive once again in the third when Thomas Bramley (Penn State) homered, and, three at-bats later, Marcus Franco (Nova Southeastern) brought home Snyder, having reached base on a walk. After a five-run fourth inning, the Sharks went into the fifth with an 8-0 lead behind a solid start from pitcher Cade Lommel (Creighton). Lommel was substituted out for Northeastern’s Jack Beauchesne after a shaky start to the fifth, but the Sharks were able to limit the damage and contain the scoring to just three runs, holding on to a comfortable lead. Those three would prove to be the only earned runs scored for the Blues (one in the ninth came off of an error), as Beauchesne and closer Benjamin Wiegman (Louisville) threw a near-perfect 4.1 innings to finish the game.
Meanwhile, the Sharks offense kept their foot on the gas, scoring five more runs in the second half of the game to pad their lead and provide some insurance. In the top of the ninth, despite facing a potentially dangerous situation after a walk, a fielding error, and a pair of batters hit by pitches, Wiegman was able to strike out Bristol’s Tyler Fote to clinch the Sharks’ spot in the championship series.
With the Sanford Mainers defeating the Vermont Mountaineers 5-0 last night, the other semifinal now sits tied at one game apiece. A deciding third game will be played on Thursday, and the Sharks will then face the winner in the championship this weekend. Also a best-of-three-game series, there will be at least one championship game at the Shark Tank.