By Rob Kiser
When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, it had a devastating effect on the whole country — still felt today — and while being away from family has been difficult, it also brought brothers Jose and Jan Adorno back together and even closer.
Jose Adorno, who is a sophomore on the Edison State baseball had already rel-located to Piqua to play baseball for Edison.
“I have been here three years,” Jose said from a familiar place, watching younger brother Jan — Piqua’s starting catcher — play against Greenville Monday night. “One of my friends told me Edison State was recruiting players. As soon as I graduated from high school, I came here and played summer ball in Dayton. I thought it would make the adjustment easier. “
And while Jan — now a senior at Piqua High School — had plans of following in his brother’s footsteps, he didn’t know how quickly it was going to happen.
“The whole area where I lived was wiped out,” Jan said. “I wasn’t going to be able to go to school for a long time.”
So, Jose welcomed the opportunity to have his brother come to Piqua for his senior year in high school and live with him.
”My brother (Jan) was planning on playing in college. So, after the hurricane hit, it wiped out his school. So, I told them (the family) he could come up here and live with me and go to school here. I didn’t have any family up here. He is my brother, my best friend. We are really close and I have known him my whole life. It has been great.”
As much as a whirlwind as it has been for Jan, he knows he couldn’t have done it without his brother.
“It was really difficult at first,” he said. “But, my brother really helped me a lot. He taught me everything about living on my own. I miss my family and not seeing them. But, I feel very comfortable now. Everybody at the school treats me great.”
And one constant for Jan and Jose has been baseball.
“I started out as an outfielder and moved to first base,” Jan said. “Then I became a catcher. I have been playing baseball since I was 10 years old. It was great to be able to play baseball here and be the starting catcher.”
And Monday’s win over Greenville was a special one — when he got to the game, he saw his mom (Luannie Soto), along with his brother Jose, was at the game.
“They wanted to surprise me,” Jan said. “It was great to see them. I miss my family a lot. It has been a long time since I had seen her, so that was great.”
Jose knew after going through the same thing three years ago, he could really help his brother.
” I could help him with the adjustment,” Jose said. “I could teach him how to cook and how to live on your own, all the different things you need to do. I almost never miss one of his games. I remember the first game against Anna this year. I thought he was going to freeze. It was really cold and I had to get him some gloves.”
Ironically, Jan picked one of the worst Ohio springs in years weather wise to be playing baseball for Piqua.
“It is really cold,” he said. “I am not used to that. I had ever seen snow before. It is April and it is still really cold.”
And the brothers relationship me get even closer in the future.
Jose will be playing for Urbana University next year and Jan is hoping to be on the team as well.
“We have become even closer,” Jan said about his relationship with his brother. “Edison (State) is in the picture too. My brother is going to play for Urbana (University) and it would be great to be teammates.”
And continue to make the best of a tough situation created by Hurricane Maria.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (9937) 451-3334.