Facing the Worcester Bravehearts, the Vineyard Sharks came up short in the first game of the Future’s League world series Friday, falling to their mainland foes 10-6.

Starting pitcher Dalton Ponce from St. Mary's faced tough-hitting Worcester Bravehearts team. — Ray Ewing

Down 1-0 in the best-of-three series, the team travels to Worcester on Sunday (rescheduled from Saturday due to rain) with championship hopes on the line. A victory brings the series back to Martha’s Vineyard for a deciding game three. A loss means the close of a magical 2018 season.

On Friday the Sharks had a great game if you don’t count the seventh inning.

It took the them less time to put two runs on the board than it did for Bill Murray’s first pitch to bounce 40 feet off the regional high school’s backstop or for the Vineyard Sound to croon the national anthem. Catcher Nick Raposo from Wheaton College jumped on Bravehearts ace and Northeastern sophomore Henry Ennen with a bloop single. Third baseman Jackson Raper and shortstop Kellen Hatheway followed with a couple sharp, RBI base-knocks to right and left field. The Sharks had a 2-0 lead and they hadn’t even broken out the sideline bubble soccer. Things were looking good.

The last time the Sharks faced Ennen, the league’s ERA leader for eligible pitchers, they tagged him for five runs over five innings. Friday would be similar. In the fourth, the Sharks added two more runs on a wild pitch and another on a blooper from Raposo. They would have been up by more had it not been for two stalwart defensive grabs from Bravehearts center-fielder Idelson Taveras — one deep in the left-center gap, the other on a diving play in shallow right.

Actor Bill Murray, seasonal Chimark resident and part owner of the Sharks, threw out the first pitch. — Ray Ewing

The Bravehearts had an equally good run against Sharks starter Dalton Ponce from St. Mary’s. In the fourth, designated hitter Paul Gozzo from University of Connecticut smacked a line shot to left field with a runner on first. Sharks outfielder Collin Shapiro tailed the ball to the warning track, leapt at the wall, and came up inches short of robbing the home run. The Bravehearts added two more in the fifth, despite Hatheway’s near-triple play, and the Sharks answered with another in the sixth on a perfectly-executed Raposo hit-and-run double. They went into the seventh with a 5-4 lead.

It wouldn’t last long. After the Bravehearts scored two runs on some small ball and Sharks defensive lapses, Kirk Sidwell opened the game up with a moonshot, three-run blast to right field. All Sharks’ outfielder Tate Hagan could do was watch the ball sail into the high school practice grass, and perhaps take solace in the fact that he didn’t have to run after it. The Sharks went down 10-5, a gap too big to close.

But the Sharks have been here before. Down 1-0 after losing the opening bout at home in their series against the Brockton Rox, they stole a nail biter on the mainland before cruising to victory once they made it back at home.

They hope to do the same on Saturday. The season depends on it.