Parks Thrives on Mound & at Plate to Help Deliver Forest Hills Eastern's 1st Title

By Tim Robinson
Special for

June 18, 2022

EAST LANSING – Evan Parks wasn't nervous before or during Saturday's Division 2 championship game at McLane Stadium.

Not while he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and not while going 3-for-3 with an RBI at the plate. 

After his Ada Forest Hills Eastern team won its first baseball Finals title, defeating Grand Rapids Christian 3-0, it was a different story.

“It's starting to set in now,” he said with a nervous laugh.

Parks held Grand Rapids Christian to one hit, an infield single by Nathan Hedlund, walked three and struck out nine.

"With him on the mound, him at the plate, him in the field, we always feel very, very comfortable," Hawks coach Ian Hearn said. "Our motto all year has been 'Team,' be servants for one another and serve one another."

Grand Rapids Christian pitcher Camden Seth had a good outing, scattering 10 hits while strong defense kept Forest Hills Eastern from causing any more damage.

"They’re very talented," Hearn said. "They have a lot of very good baseball players, and coach (Brent) Gates does a really nice job. They kept us in check."

Grand Rapids Christian/Forest Hills Eastern baseballParks drove in the only run the Hawks would need in the third inning. With two out, Caleb Kuiper singled and scored on a double by Parks off the fence in right field. 

The Hawks added single runs in the fourth inning on a groundout by Max Ferrick, and in the fifth inning on a single by Leo Hearn.

“Hats off to them,” Gates said. “Their pitcher did a great job on the mound. We battled. We competed. We just came up short.”

The Hawks finished 39-4 after a 25-0 start.

“We had amazing chemistry,” Hearn said. “Right out of the gate, they competed well. We knew we were a pretty good team. I’m super proud of them and super proud of the way they handled themselves all season long.”

Parks, for his part, stayed focused, admitting he didn’t know he had no-hitter until the fifth inning. 

“I just threw strikers,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to. That’s how you get outs. We worked real hard all summer, all fall, all winter, even all spring and we finally got it done.”

Forest Hills Eastern’s work came to a close when Parks induced a game-ending double play.

There is no way to describe it,” Parks said of his reaction to the final out. “It means all the world when you see the ball down, your defense is playing for you. It means all the world when you see the play finally finish, and it's done.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Ada Forest Hills Eastern raises its championship trophy Saturday at Old College Field. (Middle) A Hawks runner slides into third base as Grand Rapids Christian’s Nathan Hedlund (5) anticipates the throw.

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.