D3 Contenders Hold On for 1-run Wins

By Tom Markowski
Special for Second Half

June 16, 2017

EAST LANSING – It looked like a mismatch. Madison Heights Bishop Foley, an annual powerhouse with plenty of pitching that had breezed through the tournament, against a sub-.500 team with little past tournament success.

It was anything but. Caro put a scare into the Ventures, but Bishop Foley held on for a 3-2 victory in a Division 3 Semifinal at Michigan State’s McLane Stadium on Friday.

Bishop Foley (24-12) will play top-ranked Traverse City St. Francis for the title at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

St. Francis (38-3) advanced to its first Final thanks to some fine pitching and Cooper Peterson’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning that pushed across the winning run in a 3-2 victory over Schoolcraft.  

Bishop Foley, ranked No. 7 heading into this postseason and Division 3 champ from 2011-13, is a member of the highly competitive Detroit Catholic League, and the Ventures weren’t expected to be tested by a team that started 0-7 and had to adjust to a coaching change after the slow start.

Ethan Hoffman went the distance for the victory as he struck out 11 and surrendered two hits, one walk and one earned run.

The Ventures scored runs in the first, third and fifth innings off Deven Hodder. Although they didn’t have many hard-hit balls, the Ventures appeared to be in good shape going into the top of the sixth inning.

But Caro’s Dylan Brown led off with a triple and scored on Conner Langenburg’s sacrifice bunt. Langenburg reached base on an error and later scored on a failed pickoff attempt. The Tigers had the tying run on first when Steven Strachan III was hit by a pitch, but the inning ended on a failed stolen base attempt.

Hoffman then set the side down in order in the seventh inning, sending the Ventures to their fifth MHSAA Final.

“I came in and did my routine,” Hoffman said. “Everything was working. I established my fastball early. That sixth was pretty nerve-racking. That seventh showed I could come back from that.”

Bishop Foley made a couple of base-running miscues as well. Evan Finegan knocked in the Ventures’ first run with a single but Justin Campbell, who had drawn a walk one batter earlier, was picked off of second to end the inning.

A Campbell single scored Finegan for Bishop Foley’s third run in the fifth inning, but a pickoff ended that rally as well.

Second-year Bishop Foley coach Greg Fettes is happy to be in the Final, but he wasn’t pleased with the overall play of his team.

“I told my guys that the only team that’s going to beat us in this tournament is ourselves,” Fettes said. “You almost saw that in the sixth. We haven’t done that all year. We looked like a Little League team.”

Fettes wasn’t pleased with his players’ approach at the plate either. Bishop Foley had scored 36 runs over its last three games entering Friday.

“That’s what we do, swing, swing, swing,” he said. “Look at our playoff wins. I’ll have them ready to go (on Saturday).”

Caro (15-22) outplayed Bishop Foley defensively. Shortstop Mason Campbell made a leaping catch to rob Finegan of a hit to start the sixth and Strachan, the first baseman, made an over-the-shoulder catch going down the foul line to retire the next batter.

Caro coach Victor Gomez said it was a smooth transition for him when he took over the program. He was an assistant for two seasons and was familiar with the players.

“We just had to let the kids know we believed in them,” he said. “I watched them grow up. I saw they had the skill set.”

Click for the full box score.

Traverse City St. Francis 3, Schoolcraft 2

Joe Muzljakovich pitched the first 6 2/3 innings for St. Francis and kept his team in the game by getting out of bases loaded situation in the fifth. He was removed with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Conner Sweet came on in relief and threw one pitch to get out of that jam.

Gabe Callery, the leadoff hitter, led off the eighth for St. Francis with a walk and ended up at third base after a failed pick-off and sacrifice. Junior Cooper Peterson came up to bad and did what coach Tom Passinault told him to do.

“He told me just to get a piece of the ball,” Peterson said. “He said get it to the outfield. I just kind of poked it. (Darren Kehoe) threw me a curve and I was a little out front.”

Ricky Clark batted in Schoolcraft’s first run in the first inning with a ground out that scored Nolan Anspaugh, who had tripled. Anspaugh also scored in the third on a sacrifice fly after reaching base on a double.

Blake Bales pitched well for No. 5 Schoolcraft (25-11), as he went 6 2/3 innings, allowed three hits and struck out eight.

Sweet picked up the victory for the Gladiators, allowing a walk and one base hit. 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Bishop Foley's Ethan Hoffman delivers a pitch during the first Division 3 Semifinal on Friday. (Middle) St. Francis' Artie Dutmers slides into home for one of his team's three runs. 

Longtime Chelsea High School Administrator, Coach Bush to Join MHSAA Staff as Assistant Director

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

December 21, 2022

Brad Bush, a highly-respected educator, administrator and coach over the last three decades, has been selected to serve in the position of assistant director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association, beginning Jan. 17.

Brad BushBush, 52, taught and coached at East Kentwood High School for four years before beginning a tenure at Chelsea High School in 1997 that has included teaching, then serving as athletic director and later also assistant principal and leading the football program as varsity coach from 1997-2002 and again from 2004-18.

He also has served as a statewide delegate on the MHSAA Representative Council during the last year and provided leadership in multiple roles, including president, for the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) since 2005.

Bush will serve as the MHSAA’s lead administrator for baseball and also among lead administrators for the officials program, which includes more than 8,000 registered officials in all sports. Bush also will be assigned additional duties in other sports based on his vast experiences. He was selected from a pool of 34 applicants.

“I’m incredibly excited to have Brad join our team,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. "He’s been an outstanding athletic director and coach who is highly-respected by those who know him.”

As Chelsea athletic director, Bush annually has supervised a staff of 110 coaches across 31 programs, with nearly 70 percent of the high school’s 800 students participating in athletics. As a teacher and assistant principal, he has served on Chelsea’s School Improvement Team and on multiple committees that provided instructional leadership including in the development of the district’s new trimester schedule. In his roles with the MHSFCA, Bush helped direct an organization with more than 2,200 members and also served as the association’s treasurer and liaison to the MHSAA.

Bush is perhaps best known, however, for his coaching success. Over 22 seasons, he led Chelsea’s varsity football team to a 169-60 record, 13 league championships, 18 playoff appearances, seven District titles and a Division 3 runner-up finish in 2015. During his break in tenure as Chelsea coach, Bush served as an assistant football coach and recruiting coordinator for Eastern Michigan University during the 2003-04 school year, and he has served as an assistant coach at Albion College the last four seasons contributing to the team’s two league titles and appearance in the 2021 NCAA Division III Playoffs.

“I feel like joining the team at the MHSAA is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Bush said. “The 26 years I spent at Chelsea were some of the best times of my life. It’s a professional transition that in the back of my mind, if this opportunity came, was something I needed to do.

“Over time, I’ve grown to care about the bigger picture of athletics and appreciate the role of the MHSAA in protecting high school athletics in Michigan.”

Bush is a 1988 graduate of Ypsilanti High School. He studied and played quarterback at Cornell University before returning and graduating from EMU after majoring in history and minoring in social studies. He earned his physical education endorsement from EMU in 2000 and his master’s in physical education and sports management from EMU in 2002. He has earned continuing education credits in sports management from Drake University and completed the Path to Leadership program from the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP). 

Bush was inducted into MHSFCA Hall of Fame and Ypsilanti High School Hall of Fame both in 2019. He and his wife Laura have three adult children, two daughters and a son.

PHOTO Chelsea coach Brad Bush directs his team during the 2015 Division 3 Final at Ford Field.