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What the managers said: Helms Award
Adamson, Kyle reflect on Solbach, Kennelly
02/28/2019 7:59 PM ET
 

Yesterday's historic announcement saw the first ever joint winners of the Helms Award, as Perth veteran Tim Kennelly and Bite import Markus Solbach took home Australian baseball's highest individual honour.

Two men that were front and centre to the unbelievable feats of the 2019 Helms Award winners were Andy Kyle and Chris Adamson.

After sharing a field with Kennelly as a teammate, Kyle now has the honour of managing the two-time Helms Award winner and believes Kennelly ranks as one of the all-time greats in Western Australian baseball.

"Tim is right at the top for me," Kyle said of Kennelly's place in WA baseball.

"What he's done on a consistent basis for over a decade is incredible.

"He is invaluable to the organisation, and I believe the biggest attribute he has is the respect he has from teammates in the clubhouse.

"The local players know how much of a legend Tim is, but even the imports that come to Australia just gravitate towards him."

Kennelly's last full season in affiliated baseball was 2012, which according to Kyle, makes his 2019 season even more outstanding.

"It's absolutely phenomenal to be honest," Kyle said of Kennelly's performances.

"There are guys coming to the ABL every season work on their trade all winter and have an extra 300-400 at-bats under their belts, but Tim is genuinely a class above.

"He works full time and is a father too, and the way he prepares and what he does on and off the field makes him one of the best players in the country."

Adelaide Manager Chris Adamson had a front row seat to Markus Solbach's historic first season in Bite colours, and says the big German's performances were unforgettable.

"There were some nights it was like watching a PlayStation game," Adamson said.

"Markus could throw whatever he wanted, wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

"His work ethic was second to none and his performances were invaluable to our team.

"He had a clear goal in mind before the season (getting signed by an MLB team) and he achieved that.

"I couldn't be prouder."

Solbach's journey of playing in Germany, then getting signed from his performances in the ABL bares a striking similarity to Brisbane star Ryan Bollinger, who took an identical route to the Yankees in 2018.

Adamson says there's no reason Solbach can't emulate Bollinger's feats.

"Why can't he (Solbach) be the next Bollinger?" Adamson quipped.

"There were nights where big leaguers were having tough times in the box against Markus.

"To repeat those performances every five days in professional baseball will be a challenge, but his professionalism and determination will give him every opportunity."

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.