D4 Semis: Finalists Seize Opportunities

June 13, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Beal City baseball went viral this week, thanks to a trick play that played a small part in its Regional Final win over top-ranked Muskegon Catholic Central last weekend.

But the Aggies showed again Friday morning that they are nothing if not opportunistic – and fun to watch.

Fakery wasn’t necessary like the hidden-ball trick against MCC that has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube and made national headlines with coach Brad Antcliff and two of his players interviewed on Fox News.

But Beal City had a run before it had a hit against Kalamazoo Christian, stole six bases and took advantage of five errors and getting hit by three pitches on the way to an 11-1, six-inning Division 4 Semifinal win at McLane Baseball Stadium.

“We like to stay aggressive on the base paths and in the batter’s box. We’ve been talking about that all year,” said sophomore shortstop Tucker Gross, who scored two runs and stole three bases. “It’s a lot of fun, being aggressive, not holding back. We’re just being ourselves and having fun.

“The stakes are higher, but we stay true to who we are and play our kind of ball.”

Beal City (36-3), ranked No. 2 entering the tournament, will play Saturday against No. 5 New Lothrop for its first MHSAA title since 2010. The Aggies were runners-up a year ago to Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, a semifinalist in Division 3 this weekend.

Aggies pitcher Ty Rollin did use an ounce of trickery to end Kalamazoo Christian’s opening rally, faking a pick-off attempt to third base in the first inning and wheeling toward first base before catching a runner trying to advance to second. He got that out and struck out the next batter, and it was all Beal City until the Comets scored their lone run in the sixth inning.

The Aggies scored one run in each of the first three innings before adding six in the fourth. In addition to eight hits, they executed a squeeze for one run, plus a double steal and some hit-and-run to move around the bases and earn a comfortable advantage that allowed Antcliff the luxury of pulling his ace after the fourth inning so he can use him again in the championship game.

Only three of Beal City’s runs were earned.

“We’re going to make the other team make plays. The kids played great baseball; they did exactly what we wanted them to do today,” Antcliff said. “We were going to score as quickly as possible and as many as possible, because I’ve got Ty for six (innings Saturday).

Rollin, who threw all eight innings in last season’s one-run Final loss to Liggett, allowed only two hits in four innings Thursday and also scored twice. Reliever Kurt Gross finished the game and knocked in two runs in his only at bat. Senior Ryan Tilmann had two hits and scored three runs.

Junior rightfielder Greg Harris drove in the lone run for Kalamazoo Christian (18-18).

It probably won’t make national news if Beal City finishes this run with the Division 4 title Saturday. But that certainly will be the most memorable moment for the team and community, even if the recent national hype was a fun highlight along the way.

“It’s cool, but the main thing is we’ve gotta stay focused,” Gross said. “We can’t let it get into our heads. We can’t let it become a distraction. We can talk about it a little bit, but that’s all.”

Click for the full box score.

New Lothrop 3, Maple City Glen Lake 1

Both teams playing in the second Division 4 Semifinal were in a similar history-making position – New Lothrop was playing for its first championship game berth ever, and Glen Lake was playing for its first in forever (1984).

The Hornets have had a lot of success in athletics in 2013-14, and maybe some of that savvy rubbed off on sophomore pitcher Cameron Pope.  He struck out 11 and gave up only six hits before yielding to junior reliever Grant Steinborn with one out in the seventh inning.

New Lothrop has risen from Quarterfinalist in 2012 to Semifinalist last season, and now has its firt opportunity to climb the last rung on the historical ladder.

“It’s the chemistry. It’s a small school. Everybody has classes with each other. We just all get along and we love playing with each other,” Pope said of why this year’s team became the first baseball finalist.

“It’s tradition. New Lothrop’s a winning school. It’s just what we do.” 

Sophomore rightfielder Quentin Taylor scored two of New Lothrop’s runs and drove in the third. He was the only hitter with more than one for the Hornets, who had only six hits total to Glen Lake’s 11.

The Lakers had one last opportunity in the seventh inning. With runners on first and second bases, two drives down the leftfield line fell foul, one by mere inches. One runner would've scored, and the second would've had a shot at tying the game as well. But Steinborn was able to pick up the final two outs without incident.

Senior shortstop Tristan Williams had three hits for Glen Lake and scored the lone run. Senior Thomas Waning was steady on the mound, giving up only the three hits and striking out five. 

“There’s nothing we did or didn’t do in terms of mistakes or anything like that. At the end they got two big hits when they needed to get two big hits, and we didn’t get those hits when we needed to have them,” Glen Lake coach Kris Herman said.

“We felt like we had a real opportunity to do good things here, and we’re very disappointed. We said we’d celebrate when the season was over, and we will, but now is not going to be the time because we felt an opportunity got away from us.” 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTO: (Top) Beal City’s Carson Salisbury scores as part of a six-run rally in the fourth inning Friday. (Middle) Cameron Pope unloads a pitch in earning the win for New Lothrop.

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.