The Sharks had an exciting, albeit disappointing end to their 2023 campaign, as they got eliminated from playoff contention on the final day of the regular season, winding up in 9th place for the year.
Losing two close games to Ocean State at home, the Waves snatched the final Wild Card spot away from the defending champion Sharks on Saturday, July 29th.
The first of the two-game doubleheader on Saturday, in a way, epitomized much of the Shark’s season. Up 6-5 with no men on, the Sharks were one strike away from eliminating the Waves. But Ocean State was able to eke out a single and then a walk, before scoring the winning run three batters later.
This season, the Sharks lost nine games by only one run, and suffered comeback losses in the final inning four separate times.
To add to the suffering, the Sharks missed the playoffs despite leading the league in team batting average (.260), on-base plus slugging percentage (.779) and total runs scored (250).
“It’s tough not to make the playoffs with that group; we had a very productive offense,” field manager Billy Uberti said last week. “We had a good mix of power hitters and ‘grinders’… but maybe we took too long to find the right lineup.”
The Sharks evidently had some bullpen issues, but their pitching nor their defense were terrible by any means. The Sharks finished seventh in both earned runs (186) and fielding percentage (.963), with a team ERA of 4.65.
“A decision here, a decision there, and things could have been different,” Uberti stated.
With a run differential of +23, the Sharks had an expected win-loss record of 23-19-1, good for sixth in the standings and a spot in the playoffs.
Despite the unfortunate outcome to their 2023 season, Sharks management is optimistic about next year’s team.
“We led the league in hitting and will try and recruit the same type of players for 2023,” general manager Russ Curran said. “I have talked to 6-8 guys about coming back; you always need that veteran presence… We will definitely improve the backend of the bullpen to close out games; we never had a true closer.”
Curran also expressed his gratitude to the host families and players that remained dedicated to the organization. “Without them, we can’t have a team.”
In other news, the Sharks are collecting entries for their boat and vacation raffle through Oct. 15. For a chance to win, and help support the MV Sharks Baseball Foundation, click here.