Jayson Hernandez and Pat Light, current teammates with the Greenville Drive, were both at home, Hernandez in Jackson and Light in Colts Neck, when Hurricane Sandy came through the Jersey Shore.
They rode out power outages and downed trees and saw the destruction to the Shore, their homes, caused by Sandy and wanted to help.
The Red Sox have a group of Shore Conference alums within their organization. Hernandez played at St Rose in Belmar with Anthony Renaudo. Light played at CBA and Monmouth University. Those three, led by Hernandez, wanted to help, and formed Grand Slam for Sandy, raising over $20,000 for relief efforts.
“It started when we didn’t have power for two weeks,” said Hernandez. “We figured we’d ask a few people and it kind of blew up. We used social media to get the word out and the right people caught wind of it and we ended up raising $22,000 for four families.”
Traditional media helped as well, like this column in the Asbury Park Press by Stephen Edelson.
Light spent the day before the storm at Six Flags. “We get a lot of storms coming through and people say ‘It’s going to be huge’ and it never is. But my parents said ‘We better prepare for this.’
“Down in Florida, they’re ready for that stuff. We weren’t and just to kind of help out where you can really makes a difference.”
Hernandez was especially moved when he went to Belmar in the days following the storm to see St. Rose, his high school.
“I went back about three days after the storm passed and they removed 600 pounds of fish from the inside of the school. Parts of the school had nine feet of water in it. It looked like a war zone down there.”
“Even though we’re not around the area all the time, the Shore Conference is home for all of us so we’re honored to help out,” said Light.
You can listen to the full interview with Hernandez and Light by clicking here.
In addition to Hernandez, Light and Ranaudo, Ryan Kalish, who played at Red Bank Catholic, is in the Red Sox system, and there is a nice Shore Conference niche to the Red Sox farm system.
“We all played against each other growing up,” said Hernandez. “Especially when you go down for your first year, it’s nice to have someone show you the rope, like Kalish did for me and Anthony.”
Hernandez played in the annual St Rose/Manasquan game at FirstEnergy Park and used to go to games at FirstEnergy Park with his father.
“I wanted to see how those guys took care of business because that’s where I wanted to be,” he said.
Light never got to pitch there but they played there every year.
“I threw one inning there in an All-Star Game my senior year. I’m hoping to get a start there in Lakewood in July. That would mean a lot. Last year we played in Staten Island, but it’s not the same. It would mean a lot to get a start there.”