Pendleton to dedicate ‘Steve Cary Field’

<p>A memorial rock with a plaque honoring former Pendleton softball coach Steve Cary sits near the backstop at the softball diamond in Pendleton.</p>

PENDLETON — Of the signage hanging off the center field fence at the Pendleton Buckaroos softball field near Sunridge Middle School, two banners stand out a little more among the display of advertisement and support. There’s the green-and-gold one that declares Pendleton the 2012 state 5A softball champions.

Then there’s one more that simply says “Steve Cary Field.”

The Bucks will dedicate Steve Cary Field on Saturday before their next home game, the first in their Columbia River Conference schedule against Hood River Valley on Saturday. Cary, the father of head coach Tim Cary and an assistant on last year’s championship staff, passed away during the offseason.

The banners have hung all season at the field, but the Bucks will have a ceremony prior to Saturday’s noon start of a doubleheader. Cary’s half brother Tom Melton, a Pendleton sports booster and current head football coach at Pilot Rock High, will provide a short address to the fans in attendance before a special rendition of the National Anthem.

The banner is a constant reminder of a friend and coach — affectionately labeled “Grandpa” by the players — who left a major impact on the program, Buckaroos senior Shea Lindsey said.

“It’s definitely different without him here. ... it’s difficult getting used to not seeing him all the time,” she said. “Grandma Cary is still around and brings us Big Red gum like he used to give us before every game.

“He’s still here.”

Cary died on September 30 of last fall at age 65.

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