First-Time Finalists Ride Pitching Power

By Tom Markowski
Special for Second Half

June 12, 2015

EAST LANSING – The winning pitchers in the Division 4 Semifinals went all seven innings and combined to give up just three hits on Friday at McLane Stadium on the campus of Michigan State University.

A stoic Devin Comes gave up a single to the first batter, and that was all as the sophomore struck out six and walked one in leading Muskegon Catholic Central to a 4-1 victory over first-time semifinalist Ubly.

MCC (38-1-1) will play Centreville (29-1) for the title Saturday at 5 p.m. Both teams are in the Final for the first time.

Michael Kool tossed a two-hitter and struck out 10 as Centreville defeated Rudyard 2-1 in the other Semifinal.

Comes pitched sparingly as a freshman, but knew his role would increase this season. He’s 10-1 and one of a handful of quality pitchers on coach Steve Schuitema’s staff.

“We had talked,” Schuitema said. “If he threw strikes, we’d be OK. We could have played better defense. Zach Huston made some real good plays at second.

“(Comes) is so unflappable. He doesn’t get that from me. I’m a nervous wreck.”

MCC committed four errors, and even those mistakes couldn’t rattle Comes. Ubly scored its run in the fourth inning on a walk, an error and a ground out by Evan Block.

By that time, MCC had built a 4-0 lead, scoring twice in the first inning and two more runs in the third.

“That 2-0 lead relieves a lot of stress,” Comes said. “I still have to do my job.

“I’ve never been in this situation before. We have a bunch of guys who can throw. I just did my normal routine (to prepare). I just try to stay calm and throw first-pitch strikes.”

Nichols Holt’s two-run single gave the Crusaders a 2-0 lead in the first. Jacob Holt had an RBI ground out in the third inning and the fourth run scored on an error.

Zachary Winzer had three of MCC seven hits. Anthony Woodard had two hits and a walk.

Jeffrey Wright pitched well for Ubly (22-8), but didn’t receive the run support.

“Every coach dreams of playing in a championship game,” Ubly coach Jim Becker said. “We were excited, but we’re also down we weren’t able to get there. We overachieved. I expected us to be .500. All along all we wanted was to win a district.”

Click for the box score.

Centreville 2, Rudyard 1

Kool, a junior right-hander, pitched a no-hitter in the Quarterfinal on Tuesday, 3-0 victory over Climax-Scotts. He retired the first 13 batters on Friday before Owen Mills singled.

Kool struck out 10 and walked two, both in the sixth inning, when Rudyard touched him for a run.

Despite his impressive performance, Kool remained humble.

“I just play baseball,” he said. “It’s not me. It’s the team. I felt good. This is the highlight of my career.

“We’re still making history for Centreville. We’re in the state final.”

Centreville took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Kool scored on a throwing error. Nick Weber scored what turned out to be the winning run when Jalen Brown singled him home with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Rudyard (30-5) set a school record for victories in a season and was making its third MHSAA Semifinal appearance.

The Bulldogs scored in the top of the sixth inning after Kool walked the first two batters. A sacrifice bunt moved both up, and James Rosebrock singled home Cody Coffey. But Kool struck out the last two batters and retired the side in order in the seventh.

When asked if he thought about removing his ace during the tense sixth, coach Mike Webster said, “I went with my instincts and left him in.”

Webster will turn 27 on Saturday, and he said, “The kids gave me the best birthday of my life.”

Travis Myers went the distance and took the loss for Rudyard. This was coach Ron VanSloten’s last game, as he will retire after 22 seasons to spend more time with his family. He built a career record of 444-186-4. 

“We had a couple of key at bats today,” he said. “(Kool) is a good dude. Except for that one inning, he comes right at you.”

Click for the box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Devin Comes prepares to deliver a pitch during Friday’s Division 4 Semifinal win. (Middle) A Centreville player crosses the plate for one of his team’s two runs.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.