OAK BLUFFS ---- After a beautiful day in Oaks Bluff, the Hyannis Harbor Hawks secured the Cape League trophy as Vineyard champions for 2010.
For the past three years, the Cape League has played one game each season on Martha’s Vineyard. The Wareham Gatemen defeated the Falmouth Commodores the first year, and the Commodores returned the favor last season. This year, the Commodores were beaten 6-4 by the Harbor Hawks.
Jo Marie Morgan of Sugar Land, Texas, comes to Massachusetts every year to see the Vineyard game. Her son, Sean, played in the league and lived with Commodores general manager Bob Clark and his wife, Christine, the president of the Commodores. Morgan has made life-long friends while coming to Cape League games and enjoys the Vineyard game most of all.
“It’s a fun thing to do and I think it brings in a lot more people from the Cape,” she said. “Last year, the stands were so packed that people were sitting up on the hill (behind the outfield).”
The game is made possible by Gary Simmons of Vineyard Baseball. A veteran coach for the Bourne Braves, Simmons had the idea for the game while building the high school baseball field.
“When I moved out to the Vineyard it was harder to get to the Cape League games,” he said. “I thought it would be great if the league came here to help build the fan base in Martha’s Vineyard. I think it’s great we have sponsors who made it possible to have a trophy and give the boys something to play for.”
The players definitely agree.
“It’s cool playing for something. Unlike the other games where you’re playing to improve, this is different because there’s more of a purpose for playing,” Commodore Taylor Wall (Rice) said.
As for the Vineyard fan base, the loyal fans keep coming. Mark Kasprzyk of Falmouth, who serves as a host family for Commodore Kyle Van Tungeln (TCU), and Richard Johnson of Oaks Bluff are old friends from graduate school and come to the Vineyard game together every year.
“I don’t make it out to the Cape very often. It’s a nice one-time-of-year deal, and it’s great that we get to see each other,” he said.
Bob Clark has been coming to the games as long as they’ve been going on.
“It’s great and really easy to get to, and we’ll keep playing as long as they will host us. And the players really enjoy it. They were taking pictures on the whole ride over,” he said.
As for the players focus?
“I think the players see it as more of a challenge. They don’t know the conditions of the fields and they are out of their element here,” Christine Clark said.