The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks are changing summer-collegiate leagues ahead of the 2019 season, as they are now part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Sharks are heading to the NECBL after competing in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League since 2011.
The latest expansion and first since 2016 will bring the New England League to 13 teams, as the Sharks – who were founded in 2010 and have played eight seasons since then, with two resulting in league championships – will be welcomed to the circuit in time for its 25th anniversary season.
“The New England League is excited to include another scenic New England community to our League that reaches every corner of New England,” said Commissioner Sean McGrath. “What better way to experience a New England summer than touring our league watching future professional baseball players in our 13 scenic communities. We are also confident in the Sharks’ ability to recruit a high caliber of college student-athletes from around the country in order to compete in one of the most premier summer collegiate baseball leagues in the country.
“On the diamond, the Sharks have continued to raise their baseball profile and we are confident they are prepared to compete in the New England League. We are also excited to give their players the opportunity to perform in front of the many Major League Baseball scouts from every franchise and contribute to our rich tradition of seeing nearly 100 of our alumni, on average, drafted each summer.”
Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island, sits in the Atlantic just south of Cape Cod. A longtime New England summer colony, it encompasses harbor towns and lighthouses, sandy beaches and farmland. The Sharks’ home facility is Vineyard Baseball Park, located on the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School campus in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, where over a half million dollars has been invested in field upgrades and amenities such as a brick facade with pro-style netting, grandstands that include seats from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, restrooms and a handicap path with fencing and lighting surrounding the entire playing field.
“I would like to thank the NECBL – including Commissioner McGrath, [President] John DeRosa and the entirety of the executive board – for welcoming the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks to the league for its historic 25th season of play,” Martha’s Vineyard general manager Russ Curran stated. “The Major League Baseball Draft numbers that the NECBL has produced on a consistent basis are astonishing, and we are looking forward to watching our players develop and move on to the next level as competitors in this prestigious group of some of the best collegiate summer baseball programs nationwide. We look forward to seeing how our association with the NECBL positively impacts our community and beyond.”
The Sharks won a league title in 2013 and a co-championship this past summer and have had winning seasons in all but three seasons. They have averaged close to 1,000 fans per game over the course of their existence, as well.
“As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are happy to welcome the Sharks and their organization into our New England baseball family,” McGrath continued. “We expect the Sharks to be a great addition to our New England baseball family, both on and off the diamond. We look forward to their continued contributions as a leader in the island community. The Sharks have become synonymous with summer on the Vineyard, and we look forward to bringing some of the best players from around the country to the island each summer.”
Sharks front office executive, Scott Lively, added, “On behalf of the entire Sharks organization, I want to thank the New England League for the opportunity to join one of the premier collegiate summer leagues in the country. We are confident the NECBL is a great fit for our team and will only enhance our ability meet our goals, including promoting the game of baseball, maintaining a fan-friendly facility that is accessible to the entire community, offering fun and affordable family entertainment and showcasing some of the best baseball talent from schools all over the country.”
The Sharks will be slotted in the Southern Division with Danbury, Mystic, New Bedford, Newport and Ocean State. With the league remaining at 13 teams, a 44-game schedule will still be utilized. The entire 2019 schedule will be unveiled before the end of the month.
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