This Time, It's Saline's Time to Top D1

June 17, 2017

By Andy Sneddon
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Five times, Scott Theisen had brought a team to an MHSAA championship game. 

Five times, his Saline Hornets had come up empty.

But Saturday, appearing in its sixth Final, Saline jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and made it stand up to claim its first MHSAA baseball championship with a 5-2 victory over Northville at Michigan State’s McLane Baseball Stadium.

“It means the world, not only to me but all the other guys who have been here and gotten so close so many times,” said Theisen, who is in his 25th season at Saline and led the Hornets to Division 1 runner-up finishes in 1998, 2008-10, and 2016. “This one is in the books for everybody. It’s hard to describe how I feel.”

Theisen used four pitchers – starter Danny Weidmayer followed by Paul Kiyabu, Kellan Huang and Tyler Zmich – to hold in check the Mustangs (30-11).

None was overpowering – they surrendered a combined 10 hits and Northville stranded 10 base runners – but they threw strikes and benefited from three double plays turned behind them.

“They threw OK compared to how they’ve thrown all year,” Theisen said. “It’s a tough situation out there with the stakes so high and the zone was moving and it was tight at times. They just kept working and kept pumping strikes and didn’t let the wheels fall off.”

The Hornets (39-3) loaded the bases in the first inning with a single, a walk and a bunt. Two runs were forced in by walks, and Huang hit a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.

Ryan Foley led off the Saline second inning with a double, stole third and scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 4-0. He finished with three hits including two doubles.

“We’ve been working so hard for this state title,” said Foley, a senior outfielder and one of seven starters who returned from the Hornets squad that fell, 7-6, in  the 2016 title game to Warren DeLaSalle. “To get one for coach T, it means so much to this community. Even when we were 8 or 9 years old, we had a goal and that was to get a state title at the high school level.

“We came up short last year, and that crushed us. We kept our composure (this year) and I think it helped having had so many guys who played in the state title game (last year).”

Kiyabu, who relieved Weidmayer, picked up the victory. Zmich worked the final two innings for the save, entering with two on and none out in the sixth inning and inducing two groundballs, one of which went for a double play.

It was the first Finals appearance for Northville, which got three hits from Aram Shahrigian and two each from Nick Prystash and Alex Garbacik.

“I think ultimately it was the first inning, nerves and jitters, and the double plays we hit into,” Northville coach Mike Kostrzewa said. “We had 10 hits and two runs; that’s not going to happen very often. Credit them for making the plays. We had squandered opportunities, and really a bad first inning.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Saline celebrates its first MHSAA baseball championship Saturday at McLane Stadium. (Middle) The Hornets score one of their five runs.

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.