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Theres no place like home
Stesha Brazil back in California
Hilmar native Stesha Brazil rounds third base during her first year as a Fresno State Bulldog. - photo by Photo courtesy of Rick Dodd- Fresno State

After a successful softball career at Hilmar High, Stesha Brazil traveled to the University of Houston to strike out on her own and continue her playing days. A year passed at Houston and Brazil quickly found herself missing the familiar, more specifically her family, and so she decided to return to the Valley, mitt in hand. Now, Brazil is a Fresno State Bulldog helping her new team chase the top spot in the WAC — all while her family watches.

“I was really homesick,” Brazil said. “I was too far away from my family; I was used to them coming to all my games. Now they can come watch me and I absolutely love it here.”

So far Brazil and the Bulldogs have amassed a 22-13 overall record and a 3-1 conference run. Brazil, who plays first and third bases, has come a long way since her catching days as a Yellowjacket and attributes her ability to keep playing at a high collegiate level to her elevated mental capacities.

“I feel like I’ve grown mentally,” Brazil said. “The biggest part of softball is the mental ability, not necessarily the physical.”

Although it’s still early in the season, Brazil and her teammates are looking towards the future at a goal most teams in the WAC have, make it to regionals and hopefully the World Series. In order to achieve that goal Brazil said she must maintain her focus and not get distracted.

“I try not to look at the numbers. I just try to play and do what’s best for the team,” she said. “As long as I have a good performance for the team I’m happy with myself.”

Brazil will rely on her love for the game to carry her through the rest of the season and eventually beyond it. When her playing days at Fresno are over she will still be involved in the game one way or another.

“I’d like to continue playing if I got asked to play pro. But if not, I plan on definitely coaching and giving back all the knowledge I’ve gained,” Brazil said. “Hilmar is a great community and I love it. I can see myself going back there, but you never know.”