Welcome back, wooden bats.
The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks are back for their second season as the Island’s representative in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. The league, also in its second season, has added five more teams to its ranks since its inception.
Fans may recognize a few names on the 2012 roster: Vineyarder Tad Gold returns to the outfield, while pitchers Matt Hegarty, Corey Laliberte and Ronnie Rosario are back on the mound, and Eric Jensen patrols at shortstop.
Approximately 1,000 fans turned out for opening day last Saturday, as the Sharks took on the Nashua Silver Knights in the first home game of the season. Numbers dropped off for the next day’s game against the United States Military All-Stars (even the all-stars had a hard time competing with high school graduation festivities), but the summer atmosphere is here to stay.
“I think it brings a lot of fun,” Oak Bluffs resident Jen Gatchell said on Sunday as she stood in line for snacks with her father Warren Holmberg and two-year-old son Jacob. Her five-year-old daughter Alison “was pumped for the Sharks,” Ms. Gatchell said, and was as excited for the baseball itself as the bounce houses that draw the younger set.
“It was a great experience last year,” said Sharks player-host and season ticket holder Joan Foster.
“I like that we have a wooden bat league here,” said Edgartown resident Dorie Godfrey.
Her husband, Ira Certner, agreed.
“It’s small-town baseball,” he said.