Community Sports

Breshears is Bells' 'heart and soul’ as team begins title defense

Bellingham Bells second baseman Dustin Breshears tags out a runner at second base Monday, June 9, 2014, Joe Martin Field in Bellingham.
Bellingham Bells second baseman Dustin Breshears tags out a runner at second base Monday, June 9, 2014, Joe Martin Field in Bellingham. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Bells middle infielder Dustin Breshears’ average summer day looks like this.

Arrive for workout at 9 a.m., finish roughly two hours later, get to the Joe Martin Field at 2 or 3 p.m. and begin preparing for a game with batting practice, fielding drills, etc. Game at 7 p.m., and then repeat the next day.

Faulting a Bells baseball player for wearing down by season’s end would be an injustice, but luckily younger Bells who are feeling the brunt of nearly seven straight months of baseball — taking college ball into account — have an outstanding example to emulate.

“He is one of those guys who does take advantage of the weight room, takes advantage of everything possible with this program,” Bells coach Jeff James said of Breshears. “I think he has been a huge role model for the younger guys in that aspect.”

Breshears is in waning moments of his Bells career. The Gonzaga product is one of a handful of players who is spending his second straight summer with the club, and he’s certainly left his mark, not only by helping breed success but by the impression he’s made on the coaching staff.

In fact, assistant coach Dane Siegfried billed him “kind of the heart and soul of our team.”

“Bellingham these last two summers has been awesome,” Breshears said. “I truly believe this is a one of a kind program. ... I’ve really been lucky to play here the past couple years.”

After propelling the Bells to a West Coast League championship last summer, Breshears has helped Bellingham (33-21) clinch the West Division title, and the Bells begin their title defense this week against Kelowna during the first round of the playoffs.

It’s not only Breshears’ stats that make him one of Bellingham’s premier players — he’s hitting .258 with 21 RBI, 23 runs and eight stolen bases while offering a steady glove at short. The soon-to-be Gonzaga senior, who will be working on his MBA in the fall after already completing a finance degree, delivers the whole package.

He’s been a fixture atop Bellingham’s lineup all season, he’s been great defensively and brings a consistent, even-keeled presence to every ball game.

“They see what he does and how he prepares, and he really teaches the guys that, ‘OK, if I want to continue to play my game at a high level, I need to prepare like he does,’” James said of Breshears.

For all of Breshears’ highs during his baseball career, lows exist, too.

A defining moment came following his sophomore year of college ball.

A North Bend native, Breshears left Mount Si High School and hit for a .371 average, was an all-league player and earned a Gold Glove award his freshman year at Bellevue College.

He then switched coasts to play Division I at St. John’s University in New York, but after a disappointing season in which he hit .190, Breshears returned to his home state and signed on with Gonzaga, where he redshirted in 2014 before enjoying a strong return to the diamond last spring.

“I decided to go to Gonzaga, and I’m truly blessed that was able to work out, because that has been the best decision of my life.” Breshears said.

He was one of three players to start all 52 games for the Zags last spring and hit .260 with an on-base percentage of .361.

But before he returns to Spokane for his senior season, he’ll be looking to end his Bells career with a second consecutive title.

“It’s huge. We have a couple guys from last year — myself, Walker (Olis), Lou (Della Fera) — who contributed last year,” Breshears said. “I think it’s beneficial we have a couple of guys who know what it takes to win a championship, and hopefully we can instill that in the other players.”

Reach Andrew Lang at 360-756-2862 or andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Sports Blog at bellinghamherald.com/sports-blog. Follow him on Twitter at @BhamSports and on Facebook at WhatcomCountySports.

WCL playoffs

BELLINGHAM BELLS VS. KELOWNA FALCONS

(Best of 3)

Date

Site

Time

Aug. 11

Bellingham

7:05 p.m.

Aug. 12

Kelowna

TBD

Aug. 13

Kelowna

TBD

Breshears’ Bells career stats

Year

Avg.

2B

3B

HR

RBI

R

2015

.258

4

1

3

21

23

2014

.287

8

2

1

26

28

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