(BaseballStL) — While Kolten Wong’s hands were driving balls out of the park in Missouri, his heart was 4,000 miles away.
As Hurricane Iselle closed in on Hawaii, the Cardinal second baseman called his father from the clubhouse at Busch stadium for updates.
“He just finished boarding up the house, it was 100 miles away,” Wong explained after the game. “The only thing my dad told me was, ‘don’t worry about me, just worry about the game.’ I was like, ‘that’s easy for you to say.’”
The storm was bearing down on the big island, and nearly everyone Wong knew was bracing for it’s arrival.
“I think what they said is the eye is basically going to go right over my hometown. They’re just getting ready for the worst,” he said.
The 23-year-old hails from Hilo, a coastal city on the island of Hawaii of about 45,000 people. According to The Weather Channel, Wong’s hometown was expected to take the brunt of Iselle when it makes landfall.
It will be the first hurricane to hit the Big Island since 1950. In fact, it’s the first hurricane warning the Hawaiian islands have had since Fernanda in 1993.
“It’s kind of crazy to hear that a hurricane is coming because the whole time I’ve been home I’ve never had to experience anything like this,” Wong said. “This is the first one that kind of came right at us and hasn’t really broken its path.”
The University of Hawaii graduate said most times, the mountains deflect the storms and residents avoid major damage.
Unfortunately, Iselle isn’t alone in her assault of the Rainbow State. Hurricane Julio is close behind, reaching Category 3 Thursday and trailing 900 miles off to the east of the leading storm.
“You never really hear of back-to-back hurricanes,” Wong said.
While Hilo was hunkering down, the Cardinal second baseman brought St. Louis to its feet with a two- homer night. Despite the storms coming in, Wong’s exploits didn’t go unnoticed back home.
“Everyone that I talked to there, they weren’t watching the news, they were watching the game,” he said. “All my friends back at home were texting me and telling me some of the winds from there came here and blew my balls out. I was like, ‘thanks guys, I appreciate it. I guess I don’t have any pop.’”
By 2 AM Friday, outlets were reporting the storm had begun battering Hawaii with rain and Governor Neil Abercrombie had signed an emergency proclamation.