Mabry Wins Galen Cisco Award, Komminsk Pitches In For Cisco

Seventh grader Colton Marby receives the Galen Cisco Award, which is given to the best baseball player in the St. Marys Little League baseball season, on Wednesday. Galen Cisco and former Major League Baseball player Brad Komminsk were on hand to present the award to Marby.
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For years, Galen Cisco has been the longtime starter as the face of the St. Marys National Little League program with various appearances throughout the season and presenting the Galen Cisco Award to the most valuable player of that Little League season.

Now, Cisco is being relieved by another former major leaguer in Brad Komminsk.

Wednesday’s St. Marys Rotary featured Little League member Brian Engel giving an update to Rotarians on the program, praising Cisco for joining the program and having Komminsk also be a part of the team. The trio also honored the 2019 Galen Cisco Award winner Colton Mabry for his play on the diamond this summer.

“You can always tell that you have a good kid because they have a good parental background and the Mabrys are as good as it gets,” Engel said. “We could not ask for better kids than Colton and his older brother.”

Engel said when he first took over the program, it was down to 200, but the St. Marys National Little League now has more than 700 kids who participate in the spring and summer.

“I always wanted to create a positive influence for the kids,” he added.

One of those kids who has blossomed in the kid-friendly league is Mabry, who had a 3.14 ERA — which equates to three runs every nine innings — 43 strikeouts and 12 walks as a pitcher and a .640 batting average as a hitter. Engel added that the team he coaches, the White Sox, won the championship this summer in large part because of Colton, who belted a home run in the final inning to erase a two-run deficit.

Through a connection with Komminsk’s nephew, Engel brought Komminsk on and  added that he could see a connection between Komminsk and Cisco right away.

“You could just tell that it was instant,” he said.

With a number of events coming up, Cisco told Engel he was not going to be able to make some of those events and suggested to find someone who could help fill in. That’s where Komminsk comes in. Cisco thought Komminsk was their man based on what the former major leaguer does and how he interacts with the kids.

Cisco’s thoughts were further confirmed in May when Komminsk came up to St. Marys again from Columbus where he talked to Little League players, shared stories with them and went around to each player and gave them a signed baseball before walking amongst the diamonds, watching the several games that were going on.

“But most importantly, he told the kids how important it was to be a kid and he gave a really positive message,” Engel said. “When I saw that I thought, ‘wow, this is like having Galen here.’”

Engel then announced to Rotarians that Komminsk would be in St. Marys every year to hand out the Galen Cisco Award.

“I saw him at the park one time and he did an excellent job and I want to thank him for stepping in,” Cisco said. “He lives in Columbus so he had to want to do this and thank goodness he did.”

Drafted fourth overall in the first round by the Atlanta Braves in 1979, Komminsk played for six teams over the course of his nine-year career with teams stretching from Baltimore to Oakland and Atlanta to Milwaukee. The Lima native and Shawnee High School graduate was a .218 career hitter with 23 home runs and 105 runs batted in. Since leaving the playing field, Komminsk spent 17 years managing and coaching minor league teams.

Despite suiting up for nine baseball teams throughout his career, Komminsk has settled down in Columbus with his three college kids, but still makes the effort to come up to St. Marys in order to make a difference on and off the diamond and in the bullpen for Cisco.

“More than anything, I am in Galen’s bullpen right now,” Komminsk said. “When he needs me, I’ll come up and help him out; whatever I can do to help the program come along and help the kids. I’m from Lima and my family is from this area too. My grandfather owned a farm in Kossuth on [state Route] 66 and that’s where they grew up. My uncle owned the flower mill in New Bremen and they grew up right across the street from Schwieterman’s [Pharmacy]. This is my area and it is nice to come home, sort of, speak and help out.”