The third annual USC Aiken Baseball Fantasy Game was a reunion of sorts for both players and fans Thursday night.


Families, friends and supporters turned out to USCA's Roberto Hernandez Stadium to watch Aiken celebrities in a seven-inning game. The game featured two teams made up of various members of the community.


USCA Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan coached the Cardinal Team, which included Jay Slocum with the Aiken Solicitor's Office and USCA baseball fan Russell Rosier. USCA's first baseball coach Tom Galardi coached the Navy Team, which included Jason Rabun with Security Federal Bank and Charles Groover with Aiken Veterinarian Clinic.


Groover's children, Maddie, 7, and Jack, 10, cheered on their dad.


“We've been coming to this pretty much every year my dad has played,” Jack said. “It's really exciting to watch him, especially when he gets someone out or hits a home run.”


Maddie agreed.


“I like watching him because I get to see him hit the ball,” Maddie said.


The game had a larger meaning for many in attendance. Proceeds from the event benefit not only the USCA Baseball Team, but also Carley's Ray of Hope, an organization providing financial assistance and emotional and spiritual support to families of children with brain and spinal tumors in South Carolina. The organization is part of the Georgia chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.


Carley's Ray of Hope was established in February 2010, after Scott and Vindi McMaster lost their daughter, Carley, to a brain tumor just shy of her 8th birthday.


Batting for the Navy Team, USCA baseball alumni Beau Hill said the event is even more special because it's for a good cause.


“It's a lot of fun to come out here, because it brings up a lot of memories for me from whenever I used to play in college,” Hill said. “But, it's even more special because it's for a good cause.”


Hill's family, including his son, came out to watch him participate in the fantasy game for the first time.


“I love seeing my son here,” Hill said. “It's nice to get him out to the ballpark, watch me, and one day I can tell him about this day when he's older.”


For more information about Carley's Ray of Hope, visit www.carleysrayofhope.com.


Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter.