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Bush sets single-season homer mark at De La Salle PHOTO GALLERY

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‘In my coaching career he is the best hitter I have seen, plain and simple,’ DLS coach says

GROSSE POINTE WOODS >> The first of what undoubtedly will be many new individual De La Salle baseball records was established Saturday when Bryce Bush hit a pair of home runs at University Liggett.

The junior, who now has 15 homers, set a new single-season mark for the Catholic school, passing Jimmy Martinez and Giancarlo Brugnoni, who each had 14 home runs in the Pilots’ Division 1 state championship season in 2009.

Bush went 2-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored to lift the Pilots to a 5-0 win in the second game of a doubleheader against second-ranked Liggett (28-3).

“In my coaching career he is the best hitter I have seen, plain and simple,” raved De La Salle coach Matt Cook.

The right-handed hitting Bush gave the Pilots a 3-0 lead in the first inning, putting a charge into the first pitch from Knights sophomore starter Logan King. The three-run blast with no outs scored Mike Karam and Ben Hyndman, who reached on a walk and single, respectively.

Bush came up to bat in the third inning with one out and one on, but with bases open, Liggett intentionally walked the Pilots’ sensational slugger. However, the move backfired when Bush later scored on a single by Kyle Jones, giving De La Salle a 4-0 lead.

Like the first inning, Bush stepped to the plate in the fifth with Karam and Hyndman on base. But this time, Knights reliever Drew Zelenak got Bush to loft a 3-1 pitch high to leftfield for the first out.

Even Bush’s outs, like the long fly ball to the fence in straightaway centerfield in the first game, are impressive.

“It was the Bryce Bush game,” Liggett coach Dan Cimini said. “The ball comes off the bat differently than everybody else. The ball just jumps off his bat. It almost looks like he’s hitting a golf ball.”

Bush hit his record-setting blast in the seventh inning – a one-out solo shot to leftfield – on the first pitch from Zelenak. In the two games, Bush was a combined 3-for-6 hitting, and put the ball in play on the first pitch five times.

“He was definitely aggressive today,” Cook said. “He will go deep in a count, it doesn’t bother him, because he’s gonna swing at his pitches. He’s not gonna swing at the pitcher’s pitch. But today he was aggressive and I think he knew that record was in sight. He wanted to do it today and I’m glad he did.”

Bush, who hit four homers as a sophomore, now has 19 career homers, putting him fourth on the Pilots’ all-time list behind John Martinez (20), Matt Mlynarek (20) and Jimmy Martinez (24). The Martinez brothers played from 2006-09. Mlynarek played from 1993-95.

Bush is also in pursuit of the team’s single-season batting mark that has stood for 24 years. Through 35 games, Bush is hitting a remarkable .557, which is 43 points high than Donny DeDonatis’s .514 batting average during the 1993 campaign.

“He never gets cheated,” Cook said about Bush. “He’s never fooled, doesn’t chase pitches. He just puts the pitcher in a bad spot because he’s got to throw the ball across the plate and what he does it doesn’t matter what the pitch is.”

Besides Bush’s day, junior Max Gordon was exceptional in his spot start on the mound for the Pilots (23-11). The right-hander tossed a complete game, two-hitter on 68 pitches. He had one walk and two strikeouts.

“Getting runs early is huge,” Cook said, “and it really helped Max Gordon settle into the game and pump strikes. It was the best game of his career, and I’m extremely proud of Max today for being able to come out and do that against a really good Liggett team.”

Last Updated: 5/27/2017 7:13:26 PM EST