D3 Finalists End Long Waits to Return

By Tom Markowski
Special for Second Half

June 12, 2015

EAST LANSING – Except for a couple of hiccups, Jackson Lumen Christi coach Phil Clifford’s game plan could hardly have worked better Friday.

And now Clifford has his rotation all set for the MHSAA Final.

Pitching on two day’s rest, Zach Mehelich went four innings and gave up two runs as Lumen Christi defeated Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker 7-3 in a Division 3 Semifinal at McLane Stadium on the campus of Michigan State University.

Chris Cooper’s triple produced the game’s first run, and he scored on Connor Mogle’s single to give the Titans a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Cooper’s drive to right fooled the outfielder as he came in a few steps before retreating, but the ball went over his head.

“I just go up there and swing the bat,” Cooper said. “I go up there to hit, not take pitches.

“I saw (the outfielder) charge it a little bit. I just kept on running, hoping I wouldn’t catch Joe (Mehelich).”

Lumen Christi (23-16), winners of seven straight, will play Buchanan (24-7) for the title at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Titans added another run in the third inning and broke open the game with a four-run fourth.

“Zach threw 130 pitches and went 10 innings on Tuesday,” Clifford said. “We wanted to get some innings out of him today. We wanted four, and we got four.”

Saturday’s will be the Titans’ second MHSAA Final appearance. They won the 1978 Class B title with a 10-6 victory over Spring Lake.

Clifford’s plan is to use Mehelich, 10-2 now after earning the victory, in relief if needed. Clifford might go with Josh Iocca, who threw the final three innings to get the save Friday, or go with Josh Fleming, who started at catcher.

“It’s the Final,” Clifford said. “Anyone who can pitch is available.”

Normally a strong team defensively, Lumen Christi committed three errors. The first two didn’t play into the scoring, but the third one did.

Trailing 3-0, the Lakers (22-11) broke through with a run on Austin McCabe’s RBI double. McCabe then scored on an infield error to make it 3-2 going into the bottom of the fourth.

Lumen Christi’s defense saved at least one run during the previous inning. With one out, Jacob Periso reached base on an infield error and went to third on Brady Post’s single. Dustin Kady then hit a fly to fairly deep right field, where Zach Spicer made the catch and threw one hop to Fleming, who put the tag on Periso to end the inning.

“I thought I’d be late on the bounce,” Spicer said. “It was pretty cool. It was great for our confidence.”

Despite the loss, this was the Lakers’ best season. They had never won a Regional before this spring.

Laker coach Adam Grybauskas said Spicer’s throw was perhaps the key play of the game.

“The throw from the outfield was a perfect throw,” Grybauskas said. “A foot here or a foot there and he’s safe.”

Click for the box score.

Buchanan 6, Gladstone 4

Buchanan trailed Gladstone 3-0 after two innings before Kyle Leazenby relieved Jarrett Thomas and held the Braves to a run on five hits.

The Bucks haven’t been to a Final since 1985, when they defeated Grandville Calvin Christian, 3-2, for the Class C title. Buchanan also lost in the 1981 and 1982 Class C Finals. 

Buchanan scored two in the third inning Friday and took its first lead, 5-4, in the bottom of the fifth scoring three runs, two unearned.

Thomas had the big hit in the inning, a two-run double that tied the game at 4-4. Thomas stole second and came home on Chad Adkerson’s sacrifice fly.

“I never found myself on the mound,” Thomas said. “I had to keep focusing. I had to do something else to help the team. With two men on, I had to do the job.”

Thomas moved to shortstop after being relieved. He threw 145 pitches during Saturday’s Regional and seemed tired. He walked five and threw 63 pitches Friday.

Leazenby, a sophomore, set the side down in order in the third and seventh innings, and did not walk a batter. 

He had worked four innings in Tuesday’s 7-4 Quarterfinal victory over Lansing Catholic.

“I feel I had a lot more left after Tuesday,” Leazenby said. “I was very pumped up. It’s a lot different than Tuesday.” 

Jake Peterson went the distance on the mound for Gladstone (28-10). He also had three hits and two RBI.

Gladstone is expected to field another fine team next season as coach Don Lauscher had just two seniors and two juniors this spring.

Click for the box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) A Lumen Christi hitter turns on a pitch during Friday’s Division 3 Semifinal. (Middle) Buchanan's Kyle Leazenby prepares to fire during his relief appearance Friday.

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.