Maroons 'Make Most' of 1st Finals Trip

June 18, 2016

By Andy Sneddon
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – When the cart wobbled, Mike Mokma grabbed the wheel.

Mokma allowed four hits and struck out 14 on Saturday as Holland Christian won its first MHSAA baseball championship with an 8-5 victory over Linden in the Division 2 title game at McLane Baseball Stadium on the campus of Michigan State University.

The Maroons, who finished 36-6 and entered the tournament ranked third, had never made it past the quarterfinal round of the tournament. But they did have the steadying influence of coach Jim Caserta, who led Holland West Ottawa to the Division I title in 2003.

“We tried to take the big experience of the state championship and focus it down to the task,” said Caserta, who is in his third season at Holland Christian. “We told them, ‘Focus on the ball, catch the ball, throw the ball; focus on the little things.’

“They did great and when bad things happened, we didn’t quit.”

Bad things did indeed happen for the Maroons in the fourth inning when they committed three errors and Mokma issued two walks – his only two of the game – and Linden took advantage, scoring all five of its runs for a 5-4 advantage.

Mokma, who has signed with Michigan State, slammed the door after that, setting down the Eagles in order in their final three at-bats. Of those final nine outs, five came on strikeouts. Mokma’s strikeout total was one shy of the MHSAA Finals record 15.

Just two of Linden’s five runs were earned.

“Mike’s super competitive,” Holland Christian catcher David Williams said. “He’s going to grind it out every pitch. He just kept throwing the ball like he does.

“We let him down for a minute, but we got back on the horse. He was sharp today – more than adequate, he was fabulous. He gave us great chance to win, and the bats came around.”

The Maroons tied it 5-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning on Brandon Riemersma’s RBI single, then got the go-ahead run when Riemersma laid down a suicide squeeze to score Chris Mokma in the sixth.

Mike Mokma followed with a two-run double down the leftfield line.

“When we got down, when a couple bad things happened, our guys didn’t panic, and that’s what it takes,” Caserta said. “All year long that’s what we’ve done: Don’t panic and keep grinding and make something good happen.”

Jack Shore allowed nine hits, struck out four and walked two in taking the loss. The fifth-ranked Eagles committed four errors behind him and just three of Holland Christian’s runs were earned.

Coby Curtiss led Holland Christian with three hits including a double.

The title was particularly gratifying for the six seniors on the Holland Christian roster, including Mike Mokma and Williams. The two combined to form a solid battery during all four of their high school seasons.

“We have a strong group of seniors on the team,” said Williams, who is headed to Xavier. “We’re great friends, and we were sitting in the dugout before the game and started looking at each other. It was, ‘Well, we’ve played a lot of ball together. This is our last game as teammates. Let’s make the most of it.’”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Holland Christian celebrates its first baseball championship Saturday morning at McLane Stadium. (Middle) Mike Mokma prepares to deliver during another winning performance for the Maroons.

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.