For Scott Galusha, the decision to become a co-owner and general manager of the Hastings Sodbusters came down to one word — “family.”
“First of all, (owner) Bryan Frew and his family have done a great job of getting this sports organization off the ground,” Galusha said. “I was drawn by the fact that Bryan’s entire family was involved.
“I was at a point in my life where I have four kids (Kenny, Amanda, Madison and Allee), and only one of them is still at home. It’s the first time in a while that I have some free time.”
It was Galusha’s family that cemented his decision to take the plunge.
“I talked to my family about it, and the first time I walked around the field with a Sodbusters jersey on, my son, daughters and wife (Karen) all said that if there’s a better situation that fits you, they hadn’t seen it,” he said.
Galusha officially takes over the GM duties on Sept. 1 from Frew, who has owned the Expedition League collegiate wood bat franchise since its debut last summer.
But he has already been hard at work for the past two weeks to familiarize himself with his new role and the Sodbusters.
“It takes a lot of people working hard to put on a quality baseball game,” Galusha said. “For (Thursday’s) game, people started working to get ready at 10 a.m.”
As GM, Galusha will have his hands on most aspects of the organization.
“My responsibilities will be the day-to-day operations,” he said. “I’ll make sure that our coaching staff is well prepared. I’ll oversee the logistics of the team’s travel from the bus to hotels to pre- and post-game meals.”
Being involved in baseball is a natural fit for Galusha, who has lived in Grand Island for 20 years and has been a part of youth baseball and softball for the past 26. That included coaching Joba Chamberlain and Alex Gordon with the Lincoln Rebels.
He believes that the Hastings Sodbusters have built a strong foundation. Now he wants to expand that and make sure that they’re a sporting draw from around the Tri-City area.
“It’s a little like hockey, like the (USHL’s) Tri-City Storm on a smaller scale,” he said. “You have players who stay with host families and build relationships in the community. ...
“I think Hastings has done a fantastic job of supporting the team. The unique thing I see as a Grand Island guy is that I hope to talk people into taking the 20-mile journey down (Highway) 281 to see a game. The Tri-City area can and will support baseball.”
While it will be a while before any official announcements are made, Galusha said the process is already underway to begin forming next year’s roster.
He said some familiar names from the Tri-City area who are playing for major colleges could be playing at Duncan Field next summer.
Unlike last year, Hastings’ season will end without a playoff berth. The regular season wraps up on Sunday with the conclusion of a 11-game home stand.
The Sodbusters are trying to go out with a bang and set the Expedition League attendance record during Saturday’s 6:35 p.m. game against Hub City.
“The record was set earlier this year by Western Nebraska and is 1,839,” Galusha said. “Our projections tell us that we’re going to be close.”
Duncan Field’s official seating capacity is 1,706, so additional seating is being brought in to allow the Sodbusters to attempt to break the record.
If that happens, Galusha hopes it is just the first of many highlights to come as part of the Sodbusters’ family.
Dale Miller is a sports writer for the Independent.