The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks of the Collegiate Futures League are set to kick off their season on Thursday, May 31 with a home game against the North Shore Navigators. The Sharks just missed the playoffs last season. But after general manager Russ Curran’s winter-long recruiting effort, the Sharks don’t just have the playoffs in mind. They are looking toward a title.

“We are always here to win a championship,” said Coach Curran, “and anything else is considered short of a success.”

The team arrived on Tuesday and headed straight to the Shark Tank to warm up with some batting practice and light throwing. They also had a chance to cheer on the high school team as they won their final home game of the season, shutting out Plymouth High School 4-0.

Sharks players watched regional high school varsity baseball team win its last home game of the season. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Coach Curran said he has brought together top players from all over the country, including D1 programs such as Dayton, Northwestern, Pepperdine, Vanderbilt, and the team’s first-ever commit from Yale, rising junior Brian Ronai. Many of the recruits are two-way players, meaning they both pitch and hit. Think Shohei Ohtani, the rookie phenom on the Los Angeles Angels, without the multi-million dollar signing bonus, of course.

About four Sharks players are still in search of places to stay on-Island. The team relies on the generosity of Island families to adopt what Coach Curran calls “summer sons.” If interested, families can find information on the Shark’s website,, or contact Coach Curran at

Although winning is paramount to the team, Coach Curran stresses that the Sharks “wouldn’t be able to do anything without the support of the community.” He wants Island residents to look up to his players, and selects what he calls “character-guys” for the squad.

The Sharks plan to adopt the Vineyard community just as the Vineyard has adopted them. Coach Curran has scheduled team library visits, book readings, and a field trip for schools to the game on June 7, beginning at 12:30 p.m. First-responders’ night is on June 2, where all first responders receive free entry to the game.

The effort the Sharks make to engage the community goes beyond their off-field activities. Coach Curran wants the Sharks’ games to be an “event,” not just a baseball game. He has plans for food promotions, between-inning festivities, and even bubble-soccer at the field.

The first pitch is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, at the Shark Tank at the regional high school.

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