Breshears anchors Bucks' defense, offense

Pendleton's Stephanie Breshears led her team in nearly every major offensive category while providing one of the best gloves in the state at third base. She was named to the Class 5A?All-State first team and is the East Oregonian's Large School Player of the Year for 2009.<BR><I>Staff photo by E.J. Harris</I>

PENDLETON - Growing up in a household with two older brothers, Pendleton's Stephanie Breshears learned early on in life that aggression can get you far if applied correctly.

From backyard ball games to the high school diamond, Breshears has retained an aggressive streak that allowed her to be recognized as one of the best players in the state at the Class 5A level when she was named to the All-State first team.

"They taught me to be aggressive and I kind of haven't lived that down," she said.

The East Oregonian's 2009 large school Player of the Year manned two of the most important positions for the Buckaroos this season as their third baseman and leadoff hitter.

While her .889 fielding percentage at the hot corner certainly was on line with what Pendleton coaches expected of her on defense, her gaudy offensive numbers were a pleasant surprise.

"We knew Steph was certainly capable of having a year like this, we didn't know that it would be quite this big," Pendleton head coach Tim Cary said. "She really put it all together this year. She kind of just dedicated herself and focused and said. 'Hey, I'm going to be a much better hitter this year. I'm going to hit strikes and not swing at everything,' and it certainly made a difference."

Breshears, who said she hangs her hat on her defensive play, also led the Bucks in every major hitting statistic while striking out just once every nine at bats, third best on the team. Some of her more impressive stats were a .459 batting average, 15 steals, 68 total bases and 51 runs produced - including a team-high 20 RBI's.

"She's always been a good hitter but at the beginning of the year it was like, wow, where did she come from?" teammate Steffane Oles said. "She was stroking the ball like none other. Normally your leadoff hitter you just want her to get on base but 'B' is hitting triples and home runs. It really sets the tone for everyone else coming up to bat."

Breshears also served as a bit of a ringleader for a Buckaroo team that rarely was seen without smiles on their faces.

"It's kind of funny when she's not at practice because it's kind of quiet and dead," Oles said. "When she's as practice she makes it fun because she's always doing her weird dramatic thing."

Breshears said though it might look like fun and games at practice, she takes it very seriously and gets upset when others don't, but added, "We like to have fun though."

But for all of her stats and postseason accolades, the Pendleton graduate is still looking for a college team to continue her playing career next season.

Blue Mountain Community College coach Tom Bequette has been in touch with Cary about Breshears, but no offers have been extended.

Breshears, who began playing at age 8, said her top choice right now would be to walk on at Mount Hood Community College.

Cary said the fact that Breshears didn't break out until her senior season may be the reason she is having such a hard time finding a team, but a summer season playing for Dave's Food Mart will get her more exposure. He added he has no doubt Breshears has the talent to make an impact right away at the college level.

"Definitely, she needs to go play some college ball," he said. "She's an outstanding athlete and an outstanding base runner and she's a spark plug for any team right now. I would think any team would be more than excited to have her on the roster."

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