Commack shortstop Jesse Berardi learned late Saturday night that he had been selected by Philadelphia in the 40th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft. That honor came hours before he learned that he will captain the Suffolk senior all-stars against Nassau's top seniors in the 10th annual Blue Chip Prospects Grand Slam Challenge at 7 p.m. next Monday at Farmingdale State College.
All proceeds from the charity all-star game will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
"It's been an unbelievable weekend," Berardi said. "First I realize a dream come true after working so hard for all these years to get drafted. And now I get to represent Suffolk in the Grand Slam Challenge. It's awesome."
Former Grand Slam MVPs are thriving in the college and pro ranks. Patchogue-Medford's Marcus Stroman, the 2009 Suffolk MVP, is 3-0 for the Toronto Blue Jays. Brian Verbitsky of Island Trees, the 2010 Nassau MVP, is playing in the San Diego organization. Chris Pike, the 2010 Suffolk MVP, was selected in this year's amateur draft by Tampa Bay.
"There has been an incredible amount of Long Island talent on display in this game," Philadelphia Phillies scout Tom Downey said. "It's their last high school game and it's for a great benefit. You have to get there early to get a seat."
Suffolk leads the all-time series, 6-3, after winning last year's game in thrilling fashion, 3-1, in 10 innings.