Hartland Goes 10 to Land 1st Title

June 13, 2015

By Andy Sneddon
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Brett Oliver delivered when it mattered the most.

John Baker did it all day long.

Baker struck out 11 and walked three in going the distance Saturday as Hartland won its first Michigan High School Athletic Association baseball championship with an epic 2-1, 10-inning win over Portage Northern in the Division I title game at Michigan State University’s McLane Baseball Stadium.

“Getting over the quarterfinal hump was huge for our program because we’ve been getting there, we’ve been pretty successful,” said Hartland coach Brian Morrison, whose team had made it as far as the MHSAA Quarterfinals – but never beyond – in four of the last seven years. “We kept knocking on the door and finally broke through. You get here and anything can happen.”

The Eagles (28-16-1) knocked on the door all game long against Portage Northern, stranding 16 runners and outhitting the Huskies, 10-5. Hartland went down in order just once in the game.

Hartland used a walk, a bunt and a Baker double to seize a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but didn’t score again until the 10th.

Richard Bortle and Thomas Rivet hit back-to-back singles to open the frame, then Oliver, the No. 9 hitter, drilled a fly ball over the head of the right fielder to easily score Bortle from third with the winning run.

“We had plenty of chances throughout the whole game,” said Oliver, who was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk to that point. “I myself left runners on base. But we just kept battling as a team, we stayed together, we didn’t get down on each other.

“My thought was just get my pitch, swing at my pitch, swing hard, make sure it gets out of the infield. That was probably the best pitch I saw all day, and I got ahold of it. I didn’t even know where it went. I just put my head down and sprinted.”

Baker allowed five hits and was dominant early, outlasting Portage Northern starter Tommy Henry in a classic pitchers duel between two juniors.

Had the game gone to the 11th inning, Baker would have had to leave the mound because of the 30-out pitching limit.

“Unbelievable,” Morrison said. “He’s done that all year. I think that was his fifth win of this postseason. He’s tough, and his pitch count wasn’t outrageous. He’s not going to let you take him out.”

Henry, a left-hander, allowed seven hits, walked six and struck out eight over eight innings, continually wiggling out of trouble. Reliever Max Schuemann took over in the ninth and worked out of a two-on, none-out jam. He wouldn’t be able to repeat the feat in the 10th.

“(Henry) got in trouble several times and kept battling out of it, and that’s what he can do,” said Portage Northern coach Chris Andrews. “He pitched his heart out. It was two first-team all-state Dream Team pitchers going at it. Shouldn’t be any other way.”

Portage Northern (30-8-1) also was making its first appearance in an MHSAA baseball championship game. The Huskies tied the game 1-1 on Brady Young’s sixth-inning RBI single. Ryan Beadle led Portage Northern with two hits.

“It’s tough; you feel for the seniors,” Andrews said. “But this is the best team Portage Northern’s ever had and I’m proud of that. These guys played their hearts out. Probably one of the best high school baseball finals of all-time. Just a great game, great group of kids.”

Click for the box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Hartland players celebrate a 10-inning win and their first MHSAA baseball championship. (Middle) Max Cadman (13) slides into third base ahead of a throw as Portage Northern’s Thomas Scheffert prepares to tag.

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.