Ceres High School grad Brad Bussard wrapped up his college baseball career at Holy Names University this past spring.
“I had a great time,” he said. “I’ll definitely miss playing the game and my teammates. We had a lot of good guys on the team that that will forever be my brothers.”
Bussard started 37 times and played in a total of 42 games during his final season with the Hawks.
He collected three homers, one triple, four doubles, 15 RBIs, 19 runs and 15 walks on offense.
He committed just four errors while posting a .974 fielding percentage at second base.
“The last three weeks of the season, I got into a pretty good groove,” he said.
Bussard’s most-memorable hit of his four-year career came against Dixie State in PacWest Conference play on March 17 at College of Alameda.
His pinch-hit walk-off grand slam to left field propelled host Holy Names to a 5-1 victory with two outs in the 13th inning.
“That was one of the craziest moments in my life,” he said. “It gives me chills just thinking about it. It’s definitely something I’ll always remember.”
Bussard also had a productive outing on Senior Day in Alameda on May 9.
He batted 3-for-5 with one double, two runs and two walks as Holy Names dropped a pair of games (5-2, 4-3) to visiting Concordia Irvine the final day of the 2019 campaign.
“I’m glad I ended my career on a pretty good streak,” he said.
Bussard batted .239 (109-for-457) from the plate with seven homers, three triples, 15 doubles, 49 RBIs and 64 runs in 153 career games.
He ranks third in team history for most games played.
“I tried to change the culture,” he said.
Holy Names amassed a 53-145 overall record from 2016-19.
“Our baseball program has only been around for eight years,” he said. “It’s definitely difficult (to compete as a team) when you don’t have the resources. Hopefully, players want to start going there (Holy Names) and success and recognition comes to the program within the next couple of years.”
Bussard was named to the PacWest All-Academic Team his senior, junior, sophomore and freshman years.
He was a Division 2 Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Award winner in 2017.
“I took a lot of pride in my grades. I’m thankful my parents pushed me to keep them up. They always taught me if you have good grades it opens more doors for you.”Brad Bussard
“I took a lot of pride in my grades,” Bussard said. “I’m thankful my parents pushed me to keep them up. They always taught me if you have good grades it opens more doors for you.”
A model student-athlete, Bussard earned degrees in kinesiology and communications.
“I graduated with two majors in four years,” he said. “It was definitely a grind but at the end of the day it was worth it.”
When asked if he would be interested in coaching baseball in the future, Bussard said: “It’s definitely something I’d like to do. But there are a lot of aspects to consider when you’re working. Right now, I’m job hunting. I’m trying to weigh my options and find something that will make me some money and happy.”
Brad filled a key role while leading Ceres High’s varsity baseball program to an 84-31-1 overall record, four Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths and two Western Athletic Conference titles from 2012-15.
The Bulldogs captured their second straight WAC crown (11-1) in 2015. Ceres High had a 23-7 overall record and advanced to the semifinal round of the Division-IV playoffs.
Brad, a standout hitter, shortstop and pitcher, was voted WAC MVP.
He batted .450 with three triples, four doubles, 19 RBIs, 15 runs and 10 stolen bases.
Brad had a perfect 5-0 record with a 1.18 ERA, three complete games and 34 strikeouts while pitching.