Every summer they come together not just to form a team and play baseball, but also to form a family. And a functional one at that. The Sharks opened their season with a string of victories, and are currently in second place in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.

“We were strangers a few weeks ago but now we have turned into family, and I consider these guys my brothers,” said Brian Campbell, a Stonehill College senior and returning Shark.

Brian Campbell also interns at Greenberg Associates in West Tisbury. — Timothy Johnson

The players on the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks hail from different towns and cities across the country, and play collegiate baseball for more than 20 different schools. But for three months over the summer, Martha’s Vineyard is home. Players live with host parents and families, who embrace the sudden infusion of testosterone into their households. Some Sharks live, practice, play, eat and go out together.

The Sharks’ early success this season might be due in part to seasoned Sharks like Mr. Campbell, who, as experienced team veterans, have assumed leadership roles. This year’s coaching staff, lead by head coach Frank Leoni is brand new, making Mr. Campbell’s familiarity with and knowledge of the Island invaluable to the smooth operation of the team. Newcomers look up to team leaders.

“We can’t be throwing helmets or arguing with the umpires because we have to lead by example to have the other guys do the same,” said Mr. Campbell.

Camaraderie is a hallmark of the Sharks, and could also be the key to their string of victories on the baseball diamond, and their stamina. A few weeks ago they outlasted the Nashua Silver Knights in a marathon 19-inning game that is believed to be the longest in league history.

Sharks play at home on Friday, July 10. — Timothy Johnson

“Nineteen innings of baseball is not the best thing for you,” said Donovan Casey, a Boston College sophomore. “It was frustrating because we knew we should have ended the game a lot earlier and it was a very long and tiring game. But it was a good bonding moment. We tried to make each other laugh and keep each other in the game.”

Despite regular season allegiances to their respective college teams, the players are 100 per cent Shark for June, July and August. But sometimes they do face other college teammates in summer league play.

“It’s fun to see them but once you get on the field it’s all business,” said Mr. Casey. “And you really want to beat them because then you get bragging rights.”

The Sharks play every day of the week except for Monday, and have different routines for days off, and home and away games. Coach Leoni has confidence in their work ethic and doesn’t organize mandatory practices. On home game days, players might wake up at around 8 a.m., lift weights, get together for lunch and go out as a team after that evening’s game. Many Sharks spend their day off at the beach, while some upperclassman take advantage of the break from school to lay foundations for future careers by interning at Island jobs. Mr. Campbell, a communications major, is checking out a career in physical therapy during his time off the field.

“I am interning at Greenberg Associates to see if that’s really what I want to do as a profession later on,” he said. He works at the West Tisbury business all day Monday, and through the afternoons on home game days. He doesn’t work when the Sharks play off-Island.

Sharks are in second place in the league. — Timothy Johnson

“I can’t work when we have to take an early boat over to the mainland,” he said.

It’s a rare opportunity to get to pursue dual interests on and off the field, while living in a family environment too. Jessica Burnham, a volunteer since 2011, helps make it possible by hosting players and coordinating housing for the team.

“Any situation I find myself in, when I am playing trivia in the winter, I have the conversation with people,” she said. “We also put out ads and ask on our Facebook page.”

Ms. Burnham, who has two grown children, also hosts players every season.

“You get to know kids from all over the place,” she said. “They come from Texas, Georgia, Connecticut, North Carolina, all over the country. And they become a part of your family for the summer.”

The feeling is mutual. Ricky Surum and three teammates are hosted by Dianne Powers, also a repeat host.

“Whenever I see her at the field I call her mom,” Mr. Surum said. “She is awesome. She also has three Great Danes who are huge. We love when they get in our way.”

On the mound. — Timothy Johnson

And the dogs love their company too. “They love the extra attention,” said Ms. Powers. “More people for them to beg from.”

The Vineyard community embraces the Sharks and in turn the Sharks embrace the community. Sarah Aliberti, a former host mom, still fondly remembers hosting Bob Carbaugh in the summer of 2013. At the time Mr. Carbaugh was a Seton Hill senior, whose mother had recently died.

“He really appreciated us and it was really nice for me because I come from a family of eight so I like having people around,” said Mrs. Aliberti.

And when her family went off-Island in August, Mrs. Aliberti brought him with her to watch the Oak Bluffs fireworks. “We got takeout from Offshore Ale Co. and had dinner, and all these kids knew him from being a Shark and came up to our blanket to say hello to Bob,” she said.

The Sharks will part ways at the end of the season, with some players returning to school, and others entering into baseball related careers. Ricky Surum is already hoping he’ll return to the Shark Tank next year.

“In terms of next summer it is kind of up in the air right now, but coming back here is definitely high on my radar,” he said.