Michigan College Connect was founded on the simple idea of connecting local talented athletes with the best college baseball programs across the nation. We do this by helping players market themselves to coaches by creating video recruiting videos, digital player profile pages, and hosting exposure camps.
Spring high school baseball1988. Birmingham Seaholm had a marginal year. Veteran Coach Don Sackett was getting tired and brought on his son Mark Sackett as a volunteer assistant. The elder was sick for a game against Cranbrook. Mark took over and won a tight one 2-0. At Berkley, Big Don was ejected and let Mark take over again. Seaholm pulled out another victory. The Second Season – The State Tournament – starts with a draw. Oh boy, Seaholm gets state ranked Southfield Lathrup with Alexis Gagen and Steve Colias leading the way. Seaholm’s season would be over after this pre-district game. In the bottom of the 5th, Michigan State bound Lexi Gagen boots a ground ball and allows Seaholm to take a 2-1 lead. Junior Matt Newton turns on his football instincts and blows away Lathrup in the top of the 6th and 7th. A “miracle” as Seaholm knocks off Lathrup.
Next up, Districts with Troy and probably Brother Rice. Seaholm had never won a district…. until this year. They beat Troy IN THE BOTTOM of the 7th. They go to the district finals and beat Brother Rice IN THE BOTTOM of the 7th to win their first District Championship… another “miracle.”
It’s on to Warren Cousino and then East Detroit – Seaholm wins both games IN THE BOTTOM of the 7th. Eccentric beat writer Marty Budner coins the name “The Miracle Maples” and it stuck and continued to live up to it’s name as the Miracle Maples head to East Lansing for the semi finals and finals.
At the time, it’s future Atlanta Braves big leaguer Steve Avery from Taylor Kennedy who’s team is matched up with East Kentwood in one bracket. Seaholm has Port Huron. Seaholm got by Port Huron but the miracle came in the Taylor Kennedy-East Kentwood game. Avery not only pitched the entire game but had to throw three extra innings to use up his innings and couldn’t step foot on the mound against Seaholm in the championship.
Seaholm wins their first District, Regional, and only State Championship in 1988!
This experience for Mark Sackett, co-founder of Michigan College Connect, propelled him into his coaching career. Coach Sackett played under Tom Smith at Michigan State for two years in 1985 and 1986. After college graduation, he ran his own retail business but continued his true passion of coaching high school baseball. From 1990 – 1998, Coach Sackett was a coach in the Troy School District advancing from coaching freshman teams to varsity coach at Troy Athens.
In 1999, Coach Sackett left high school coaching and began involvement with Doyle Baseball out of Lakeland, Florida and started the Michigan Red Sox summer program with six and eight year-olds. Today the Michigan Red Sox has teams from 8u to 22u and has made a very strong presence in the travel baseball arena.
In 2005, he began the Michigan Motor City Power Fall High School Showcase and Scout team program. This team was developed to expose high school aged baseball players to college coaches and scouts in a “game format” during the fall. Players were evaluated in various areas to determine their strengths and weaknesses, selected for the team, and then showcased to the college coaches and pro scouts.
Today, Mark Sackett is an instructor with Doyle Baseball operating many programs in the Midwest while also offering private instruction. Mark continues to develop the Michigan Red Sox program which has a mission statement of providing more value in instruction rather than in the number of games played. They have added their select division of the MIchigan Red Sox which carries the name Michigan College Connect. They have also added their collegiate team the Irish Hills Leprechauns to the prestigious Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
Coach Sackett is a full time elementary school teacher in the Troy School District and continues to operate the Michigan Red Sox program. Their strong presence has granted them a new team in the prestigious Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League with their team the Irish Hills Leprechauns. He is married to Linda and has two boys, Jay and James. Jay is a graduate of Alma College where he played four years. James is a Phd student at the University at Buffalo and played four years as a catcher at Adrian College.
Jay Bobel, Colorado Rockies scout, private equity fund manager, and serial entrepreneur is the co-founder of Michigan College Connect Baseball. Having started and sold three companies in the past 15 years (two to publically traded companies), his true passion is baseball. With over 35 years of high level playing experience, Bobel remains active today as a pitcher for AABC Regional champion Troy Jet Box.
A native of West Bloomfield, MI, Bobel played on 2 high school State Championship teams as well as 3 National Championship teams (AABC 2005, MSBL 35 2005, and NABF 2009). A four year letter winner at MSU from 1984-87, Bobel was drafted by the California Angels in the 18th round of the 1987 MLB Draft. His 4 year professional career included 2 major surgeries. Bobel returned to the amateur ranks and has continued to play for local elite teams.
Playing career highlights include:
- Holding 2 MLB Hall of Famers hitless over 10 at bats (Barry Larkin 0-3, Ken Griffey Jr. 0-7),
- Beating top-ranked University of Miami in 1987,
- Making a professional comeback as a knuckle ball pitcher in 2006 in Calgary, and
- Being named an amateur All-American in 2009 at the age of 44.
Notable teammates through the years include former University Michigan Baseball Head Coach Rich Maloney, Eastern Michigan University Head Coach Jay Alexander, current UCLA Head Coach John Savage and Philadelphia Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. His father Jim Bobel was a key member of the University of Michigan’s 1962 National Championship team, picking up the win as a pitcher and getting the game winning hit in the NCAA Championship Game in Omaha.
Since 2009, Bobel has assisted Rockies Midwest area scout Ed Santa in Michigan. At the prestigious East Coast Pro Showcase in Dayton, OH, Bobel, for the second year in a row, coordinated the pitchers showcase with special emphasis on pitching velocity improvement and injury prevention.
He is the local representative for 3P Sports’ Peak Performance Pitching Program