The Futures League all-star game in Nashua, N.H. celebrates the best and brightest of summer collegiate baseball players in the American Northeast. Pittsfield sent a right-handed pitcher and a few infielders. Two stalwart outfielders represented the North Shore Navigators. Brockton sent a catcher who plays at Northwestern.

Who did the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks send to Nashua?

Half their team.

The Sharks, who sit at first place in their division and are poised for a bye in the first round of the Futures League playoffs, had 12 players selected for the all-star game.

“I think that’s probably the most we’ve ever had on one team,” said general manager Russ Curran. The all-stars included players from as far away as Vanderbilt and Marymount universities, and as close as UMass Amherst and Springfield College. Two selections, pitcher Devon Dimascio and center fielder Matt Chamberlain, play at the University of New Haven. The Sharks even had an all-star from a division 3 program: shortstop Kellen Hatheway from Williams College.

A record 12 players are on the all star team. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“The team chemistry’s good, very good right now,” said hitting coach Billy Uberti.

“It’s the best I’ve seen in my years here,” added assistant coach Mac Curran, Russ’s son. “Winning always helps.”

The Sharks are also having their best season in franchise history. On the field, they are 32-15, lead the league in almost every statistical category, and have a 2.5 game cushion over the second place Worcester Bravehearts. Off the field, they are making their presence felt throughout the community, from reading to children at libraries and schools to their less literary, but equally immersive activities at South Beach and The Loft. Last Wednesday, almost 30 members of the team practiced yoga together at the ball field.

Blair Lewis, a pitcher from Rice University, was clearly an experienced yogi, inverting his body with ease. All-star Matt Chamberlain was less successful with the Lululemon-led Vinyasa routine.

“Bad form, Matt!” yelled Russ Curran from the dugout, as Chamberlain promptly crumbled to the ground.

Night games, activities and fun for all ages, the Sharks keep their fans coming back. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“Last year we did yoga, we lit up the sky,” remembered Mr. Curran. The newly-limber Sharks provided a similar fireworks show this go-round, winning last Wednesday’s post-yoga game 10-6.

“We’re actually not last in attendance for the first time ever,” added Mr. Curran. In 2017, the Sharks barely hit 20,000 fans. This year, they were already at 21,000 with five home games left in the season, averaging almost 1,000 patrons a night. “And we’re the only place that doesn’t have a stadium,” Mr. Curran said.

The Sharks play at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School field in Oak Bluffs and have to do all the grounds maintenance themselves. That responsibility largely falls on the shoulders of general manager Russ Curran.

“The only thing that was here when we got here were the dugouts, the field and the fence,” he said. “All the equipment was bought by the Sharks. That $50,000 mower, those grandstands, that wall, we built all of it. We put up the lights. We pay the electric bill 12 months a year even though we aren’t here. We put up the bathrooms. And hey, they’re not bad for a ballpark. Beat’s Dotties Potties.”

“Russ will literally do anything for us,” said Matt Chamberlain. Mr. Curran ensures the players are fed before every game, secures transportation to and from the Island, and somehow finds a free bed for more than 30 college-age baseball players to spend the summer on Martha’s Vineyard. That last one isn’t easy.

Summer baseball is always a home run. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“To have a winning season, you have to have enough beds,” Mr. Curran said. “We say we have 35, but in actuality I’ve got three living in my basement. One new host was supposed to be a temp, but they were like, this kid’s not going anywhere. So people have a good experience with it and want to keep them. But it’s tough.”

Even with all those challenges, the 2018 Sharks have had a remarkable retention rate, losing only two players since the season began. Last year, by the time August rolled around, they had 20 new faces on the team.

“We’ve opened the door and said, straight up, some of you guys aren’t going to get any playing time. If you want to leave, go ahead, we understand,” Mr. Curran said. “No hands go up.”

The opportunity to spend a summer on the Vineyard and the experience that comes with it has allowed the Sharks players to bond in a way teams from Nashua, Brockton or Pittsfield can’t. After away games, the Sharks have to travel back to Woods Hole and take the Patriot, a small charter boat best known for bringing newspapers and a handful of hardy commuters to the Island. The drive and ferry ride often take six hours and don’t finish until 2 a.m.

In the words of Matt Chamberlain describing the late night boat experiences: “Waves are rocking it. You’re getting soaked, holding on for dear life. But honestly, it’s kind of fun. It’s part of the experience.”

Next home game is Thursday, August 2 against the Brockton Rox.

“It’s been amazing living on the Vineyard,” Kellen Hatheway added. “We spend a lot of time together outside baseball, going to the beach, exploring. It just develops great chemistry which helps us on the field a lot.”

While Chamberlain has been the Sharks starting center fielder since day one, Hatheway battled for the starting shortstop job all season and only took over recently.

“Chamberlain’s the hardest worker on the team, and we knew what he was capable of from the get-go,” said hitting coach Billy Uberti. “Kellen’s a good story because he’s a D3 guy who won the starting job and then became an all-star. You don’t see that often.”

Surprise successes aside, every player knows that the team still has a lot to accomplish. The ultimate goal is a Futures League championship.

“Season’s going well, so don’t fix what’s not broken,” said Chamberlain. “The playoffs start August 5, and if the standings hold, Sharks will finish the summer with a first-round bye.”

“We got the talent,” he added. “If we want to win, we’re going to win.”

Next final two regular season home games are Thursday, August 2 and Saturday, August 4, both games beginning at 7 p.m. Playoffs start next week.