St. Mary's Sinks Reigning Champ in D2

June 13, 2015

By Andy Sneddon
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – None of the players on the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s roster had ever been on a Regional championship baseball team. 

Most every starter returned this spring for Mount Pleasant, the defending Division 2 champion.

Greg Loukinen, one of just two senior starters for St. Mary’s, tossed a five-hit gem Saturday as the Eaglets unseated the Oilers, 4-1, in the Division 2 title game at Michigan State University’s McLane Baseball Stadium.

It was the first MHSAA baseball title for St. Mary’s (32-13) since 2003 and came against an Oilers team (27-13) that was not only defending its crown, but had outscored its opponents, 69-2, in seven MHSAA tournament games and recorded shutouts in eight of its previous nine starts.

“Our guys have competed at this stage in other sports – they haven’t been here in baseball, but they’ve competed in football and in the summer they’ve played in a lot of big games in front of a lot of people,” St. Mary’s coach Matt Petry said. “They didn’t show that it bothered them too much today.” 

The Eaglets overcame three errors, two of which came in the top of the first inning when Mount Pleasant seized a 1-0 lead. St. Mary’s answered with the tying run in the bottom of the first on the legs of Mason Vaughn, who walked, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch.

“That was huge. I think that set the tone for us that we were going to be around all game. If we didn’t get that run back things might have gone a different way.”

The Eaglets went ahead for good in the second inning, getting an RBI double from Joe Carlini and a run-scoring single from Drake Titus as Mount Pleasant starter Hunter Buczkowski struggled to find his control.

Buczkowski walked five, struck out five and surrendered three hits over four innings in taking the loss. Three of his walks, plus a wild pitch, came during the Eaglets’ two-run second inning.

That’s all Loukinen needed as the left-hander struck out seven and walked just one.

“He battled through some adversity there in the top of the first and he did a great job of settling down after that inning and not letting it bother him after we kicked the ball around behind him a little bit,” Petry said. “He doesn’t let too much bother him. He doesn’t walk guys. If you’re going to beat him, you’re going to have to earn it and he did a great job of keeping their guys off base via the walk. And we made some plays behind him when we needed to.”

Hunter Buczkowski led off the Oilers’ half of the seventh inning with a single and Obie Ricumstrict drew a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Loukinen struck out Zach Heeke, Mount Pleasant’s leading hitter, to end the game.

“I was just paying attention to the fact that there was another batter that I had to get out, that’s how I look at it,” Loukinen said. “I take after my teammate Drake Titus. He doesn’t let anything affect him. Regardless of the run they scored (in the first inning) I knew what I needed to do, and I had the defense to back me up.

“The past few years have been a struggle. Two years ago we made it to regionals, last year we got cut off early. There’s a lot of brotherhood on the team; everybody feels it. It was 100 percent a team win. It wasn’t just me; it was the defense, the bats, everyone on the bench.”

Click for the box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Joe Carlini yells in celebration after scoring a run Saturday. (Middle) Mount Pleaant catcher Daniel Keller picks up the ball as St. Mary’s Campbell Kinch signals to a teammate not to advance.

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.