Riding a wave of dominant starting pitching, heroic plays in the field and clutch hitting, the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks are two wins away from being crowned champions of the NECBL.

In his last start of the season, after begging his coach at the University of New Haven for one more, Izaiya Mestre earned the win Tuesday night as the Sharks bested the Newport Gulls 3-2 to win the series and move on to the championship.

The series against the Keene Swamp Bats starts tonight at the Shark Tank. First pitch is at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday night Mestre struck out five and gave up two earned runs in five and one-third innings of work. After the game, Sharks manager Jay Mendez said Mestre “gave us everything he had, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

He continued:

“From the beginning he started off as a bullpen guy, then we started starting him, and he’s been awesome ever since. His changeup is his money pitch. These guys [Newport] are such good hitters, and the changeup had them off-balance all day.”

Nander De Sedas’s fingerprints were also all over the Sharks victory; he started the game by leaping up and to his side to rob Newport of a hit and finished the Gulls off by catching a popup to end the game.

De Sedas also kicked off the scoring for his squad, squeaking a shot past Newport’s first baseman down the right field line. De Sedas took off around the bases, leaving his helmet behind between first and second base for a standup triple in the fourth, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead.

The Sharks scored two more runs in the fifth on a single from Nick Raposo that scored Michael Knell and a double by Jackson Raper to the corner of left field that brought home Collin Shapiro.

But the Gulls weren’t getting on the ferry without a fight, and in the sixth, they got one run back with a double to right field by first basemen Ryan Toohers. Then, like gulls on Menemsha beach that stole somebody’s french fries, Newport was looking for more, and they almost had it with two men on base following Tooher’s double.

With the infield pulled in, De Sedas fielded a chopping grounder at short and fired home to Raposo who corralled De Sedas’s relay and leaned back over the plate to tag the Newport runner out. The Gulls would end up getting another run back on a bloop single, but momentum was on the Vineyard’s side after preserving their lead.

In the eighth, the visitors threatened again with two outs after a pegged batter loaded the bases. An animated crowd rose to its feet to cheer on reliever Thomas Spinelli in what felt like the most intense at bat of the season.

Spinelli sneaked two quick strikes across the plate, then sent the Newport hitter swiftly back to his dugout after whiffing at a high fastball.

Spinelli’s high stakes strikeout and De Sedas’s smooth as silk fielding to get the runner at home are both examples of what makes the Sharks a championship-caliber team. Their success is a product of their even-keeled, no-matter-the-situation mindset their manager has seen in his team all season.

“That’s something that these guys take pride in, the fact that we know that we’re always in it, never giving up, never putting each other down, these guys are just ready to go,” Mendez said.

Nathan Tellier came on in the ninth to shut the door on any remaining hope the Gulls clutched, putting the heart of the order down 1-2-3, earning the save and sending the Sharks to the championship round.

Oliver McCarthy, a hard-throwing lefty from Duke by way of Brooklyn, N.Y., will take the mound for the Sharks in game one tonight. Game two will be played in New Hampshire.