Grand Blanc, Portage Central Rally Early in Semifinal Wins

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

June 17, 2021

EAST LANSING – Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice might have been making its third-straight trip to the MHSAA Semifinals and Grand Blanc its first ever, but Grand Blanc certainly wasn't nervous to start Thursday’s second Division 1 game at McLane Stadium. 

Excited and ready from the first pitch, Grand Blanc scored four runs in the first inning, which set the tone for a 9-1 win. 

“It can be a double-edge sword in certain situations,” Grand Blanc Kevin Hubbs said. “We kind of told our kids the pressure was kind of on them in a way because they’ve been here so many times. This is our first time. We just told the kids to come out and have fun regardless of what happens. If you’ve seen our kids in the dugout all season, win or lose, they are going to leave the ballpark having fun.”

Grand Blanc (32-11) jumped on Brother Rice in the top of the first inning, sending 10 hitters to the plate. 

The Bobcats built a 3-0 lead just five batters into the game, and rolled from there in advancing to meet Portage Central in Saturday’s 9 a.m. championship game. 

Following a leadoff double, Jonah Meleski scored after a bunt single by AJ Maxwell and subsequent throwing error. Following a walk to David Lally and a strikeout, Nathan Fidelino lined a two-run double down the right field line to make it 3-0 Grand Blanc. Brother Rice answered with a run in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI groundout by Will Shannon. 

Grand Blanc kept up the pressure in the second, loading the bases and taking a 6-1 lead on a two-run single with two outs by Dylan Bowen. The Bobcats added a run in the fourth inning when Tim Welsh walked with the bases loaded to make it 7-1. They then made it 9-1 in the fifth inning with a two-out rally after the first two men were retired; Fidelino hit an RBI single to left, and then pinch hitter Kyle Keener hit an RBI single to right. 

The damage done by Grand Blanc actually could have been worse. In addition to 12 hits, the Bobcats drew 10 walks and had three batters hit by Brother Rice pitching. 

Fidelino finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored, and Bowen added two hits and two RBI to lead the attack for Grand Blanc. 

“It’s surreal,” Fidelino said. “I’ve never felt anything like it. We had a whole city on our back today. It felt great. This is the best team we’ve ever had, and this is the furthest we’ve ever gone. Every game, we leave it all on the field.”

Lally, who has committed to Notre Dame, allowed four hits and struck out five in six innings of work on the mound for the Bobcats. 

Brother Rice finished its season 29-11.

Click for the full box score

Portage Central 5, Midland Dow 1

The last high school start for Portage Central senior ace Gavin Brasosky went just like his other starts this year, with him dominating and winning. 

Signed with Tennessee, Brasosky was in complete control Thursday, allowing one run, four singles and striking out 10 to lead Central to a 5-1 win over Midland Dow. 

Portage Central baseballBrasosky didn’t give up a hit until Dow’s Tom Biacagalupo singled with two out in the fifth inning. 

Central (35-4) advanced to the championship game for the first time since 2002, when it defeated Warren Mott to clinch the Division 1 title. 

“I was a little sore,” Brasosky said. “But as I kept going, I felt a little better. I was trying to win so we could play on Saturday, and that’s what we did.”

Brasosky’s performance was needed, as Central’s normally high-powered offense generated only five hits against Dow pitching. 

“I told him that he couldn’t have picked a better way to finish his career on the mound,” Central head coach Cory DeGroote said. “We really had to grind at the plate. They gave us a lot of different looks with a lot of different pitchers. We had to use our bunt game.”

Portage Central opened the scoring in the first on an RBI sacrifice fly by Zach MacDonald, then added two more in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead on a two-run single by Will Sachwitz. 

The Mustangs added another run in the fourth on an RBI sacrifice fly by Luke Leto. 

Dow did rally in the sixth inning and got on the board, cutting Central’s lead to 4-1 on an RBI single with two outs by Logan McCoy. But with runners on first and second, Brasosky induced a popout to end the inning. 

Central added insurance in the bottom of the sixth, taking a 5-1 lead on an RBI squeeze bunt by Cole Mason. Dow (27-15) also put runners on first and second with one out in the seventh inning, but Brasosky shut down that threat with back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Grand Blanc’s Nathan Fidelino rounds second base during his team’s Semifinal win over Brother Rice on Thursday. (Middle) Portage Central’s Gavin Brasosky makes his move toward the plate.

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.