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Bates honored by Assemblyman Adam Gray
Ceres High grad Nicole Bates received a commendation award from Assemblyman Adam Gray earlier this month. Bates was honored for her stellar play in softball at the national, college, travel and prep levels. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Assemblyman Adam Gray heaped praise on 2016 Ceres High grad Nicole "Sis" Bates earlier this month.

Gray issued a commendation resolution on Aug. 1 recognizing Bates for her outstanding play in softball at the national, college, travel and prep levels.

"It's pretty amazing," said John Bates, Nicole's father. "I don't even know how it happened. I'm honored the assemblyman took the time to do that. It blows me away how many people are following and rooting for Sis. She's stayed very grounded through this. I'm super proud of that. She's really blessed."

Lisa Mantarro Moore, district director for Gray, personally delivered the framed, commendation award to Nicole's mom's house on Aug. 7.

Bates, who celebrated the honor with her mother Michelle Hedden, flew to Ohio the next morning to play for Team USA.

"She has such an intensive traveling schedule," Mantarro Moore said. "I couldn't find a date when she was in the area and he (Gray) was too before school started. She was in town for the day. I made arrangements to catch up with her. She was unaware it was occurring. She was totally excited and surprised."

Nicole helped lead the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team to a gold medal at the World Baseball Softball Confederation World Championship on July 30 in Florida.
She batted .444 (12-for-27) from the plate with seven RBIs, 12 runs and two stolen bases during the tournament.

Bates had a productive freshman season with the University of Washington this past spring.

The Huskies advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division-I Women's College World Series.

Washington fell two victories shy of qualifying for the championship game.

The Huskies claimed Super Regional and Regional titles.

Bates was a finalist for the 2017 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I Freshman of the Year award.

She earned NFCA Pacific-Region Third-Team honors.

She was also selected to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.

Nicole started all 64 games for 50-14 Washington, with her primary position being second base.

She posted a batting average of .338 with three home runs, six triples, 10 doubles, 33 RBIs and 42 runs.

Bates collected 66 hits.

She committed just five errors.
Nicole led the conference in triples.

Bates and the Huntington Beach-based Firecrackers-Rico 18-and-under travel softball team captured the 2016 PGF National Championship. Competing in the Premier Division, Firecrackers-Rico edged California Cruisers-Sievers 2-0 for the National crown. Nicole accounted for two of her team's three hits.

Nicole participated in the PGF High School All-American Game. She singled twice and scored once as the West prevailed 4-3 while battling the East.

Bates filled a major role as Ceres High's softball program captured its second Sac-Joaquin Section title in 2016.

The Bulldogs ended a 21-year drought between championships by edging out Benicia 3-2 in the Division-III finals.

Nicole doubled once, singled twice and scored once.

She secured the victory with an unassisted double play.

In 114 career games with Ceres High, Nicole batted .512 (205-for-400) with 14 homers, 22 triples, 31 doubles, 102 RBIs, 171 runs, 52 stolen bases and 32 walks with just 13 strikeouts.

Bates won the 2016 Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball State Player of the Year award.

She received FloSoftball All-American First-Team honors and Premier Girls Fastpitch West Regional All-American Team accolades.

Bates was also selected to the Louisville Slugger Hit Club, which recognized 10 of the nation's top hitters.

"Let's be honest, at a young age, you have no idea any of this would happen," John said while talking about Nicole's remarkable journey in softball. "At every level, she found a way to stand out, and that's still happening. She's one of those kids that will never get outworked. That goes a long way. She loves the grind. That's what drives her."

"She's certainly worthy of recognition at this level," Mantarro Moore said. "She's made her community proud."