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Bates’ list of accomplishments growing
• Voted Defensive MVP of Athletes Unlimited professional softball league
Defensive MVP Bates
Nicole “Sis” Bates was named Defensive MVP of the Athletes Unlimited condensed season in San Diego this past weekend.

Nicole “Sis” Bates’ list of accomplishments in the softball world keeps growing.

The 2016 Ceres High School grad/former University of Washington star shortstop was named GEICO Defensive MVP following the conclusion of the Athletes Unlimited professional league’s condensed season this past weekend at San Diego State University Stadium.

She had 21 putouts and a .952 fielding percentage in 12 games.

Bates made ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays twice for her defensive wizardry.

“I’m not surprised,” said Mike Baisdon, who coached Bates for seven seasons, including two at Ceres High and a combined five with the Tri-County Smash and NorCal Firecrackers travel softball organizations. “She’s been incredible since she was 10. There are things you can’t teach. Her instinct and first step are second to none. Her release time is incredible. She gets rid of the ball very quick. She’s accurate. She works so hard to be great at what she does. She’s a fierce competitor. She brings the level of play up because people want to play for her. She’s a great teammate.”

“I’m excited for her,” stated Mike Corsaut, who helped coach Bates at the varsity level her freshman year with the Bulldogs and was her U.S. History teacher at Mae Henley Jr. High in the eighth grade. “She’s the face of softball. She has fun every minute of every game. She’s amazing to watch. I’ve always been amazed at what she could do. It’s so cool. She deserves everything she gets. She’s worked so hard.”

“I just try to make defensive plays for my pitchers because I know it fires them up and it serves as a spark plug for our team,” Bates added.

Bates ranked 38th in Athletes Unlimited’s individual standings with 658 points. She collected one double, eight singles, five RBIs, four runs and one walk.

Each week, team captains drafted new teams.

Players and teams competed for points.

Bates singled and scored the tying run as Team Fischer edged Team Zerkle in 10 innings during Sunday’s finale.

She tallied the winning run in a 9-8 victory against Team Eberle on June 14. Bates was named one of the game’s three Most Valuable Players. She batted 2-for-4 from the plate with one double, one single, two RBIs and one run.

“I haven’t had time to sit back and think about that,” Bates said while talking about the success she’s achieved in the sport during a past interview with The Courier. “I’m grateful for the people that have helped me along the way.”

A standout infielder/hitter on the NCAA Division-I Washington softball team from 2017-21, Bates made the transition to coaching this spring as a student assistant with the Huskies.

Bates became just the second player in Pac-12 history to earn three Defensive Player of the Year awards (2021, 2019, 2018).

Her career fielding percentage of .980 is the second-highest mark for any middle infielder in Washington history.

In her last 75 games, Bates made three total errors.

She was voted best college shortstop on ESPN’s Greatest All-Time Softball Team via a fan poll in 2019.

Bates (37.21%) beat out Natasha Watley (UCLA, 19.92%), Dot Richardson (UCLA, 16.76%), Laura Espinoza (Arizona, 7.58%), Ashley Hansen (Stanford, 5.25%), Madison Shipman (Tennessee, 5.00%), Jessie Harper (Arizona, 4.56%) and Delaney Spaulding (UCLA, 3.73%).

One of the most decorated players in Washington history, Bates became the program’s all-time hits leaders during her final season.

She had 320 hits in 261 career games.

She also ranks first in triples (18), third in runs (227), fourth in batting average (.385) and fifth in doubles (54) in program history.

She had on-base, slugging and on-base plus slugging percentages of .450, .526 and .976, respectively.

Bates batted .389 from the plate in 2021 with one homer, five triples, 12 doubles, 32 RBIs, 55 runs and 21 stolen bases.

She led the Pac-12 in hits with 75.

Bates started the year a perfect 18-for-18 on stolen bases.

Bates also made history by becoming just the fifth hitter from Washington to earn NFCA All-American honors for a third time.

She was selected to the NFCA Second Team.

She was a first-team pick in 2019 and 2018.

Bates was a Top-10 finalist for 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.

She was named Washington’s 2020-21 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal recipient for Outstanding Female Student-Athlete.

She made the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll in 2020 and earned Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention recognition in 2019.

She won the 2019 Seattle Female Sports Star of the Year award.

Bates earned her master’s degree in education earlier this month but was unable to walk the stage because she was playing softball in San Diego.

Bates filled a major role in leading Washington to 222 victories, three trips to the Women’s College World Series—including one finals berth—and one Pac-12 regular-season title.

“Getting ahold of someone like Sis is not easy,” Huskies’ head coach Heather Tarr said. “She’s a game-changer. We expected that from her. No one predicted she would become the sensation she is today. She’s as popular of an athlete there is in today’s sports world. She’s done a great job of not letting the success get in her way. She doesn’t want the attention. It’s awesome having someone like that representing our program with that stature. She prefers to lead by example. She’s one of the nicest people.”

Bates was one of 12 players selected in the 2021 Athletes Unlimited Softball College Draft.

The season was staged, Aug. 28-Sept. 27, at the Parkway Bank Complex in Illinois.

Bates finished ninth in the individual standings her rookie year. 

She batted .326 with five doubles, one triple, one RBI, six runs, one walk and one stolen base while starting all 15 games.

She tied for first in the league in doubles.

“I didn’t set any goals, stat-wise,” Bates said. “I just wanted to help my team win.”

Bates was a four-year standout at Ceres High School.

She was voted 2016 Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball State and Medium Schools Player of the Year.

The two-time FloSoftball First-Team All-American was selected to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Super Elite First Team and All-State Medium Schools First Team.

Bates and 10 other elite players from across the nation were named to the Louisville Slugger Hit Club.

She also participated in the Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) High School All-American Game.

Bates batted .571 from the plate with five homers, four triples, nine doubles, 33 RBIs, 45 runs and 14 stolen bases while striking out just five times in 113 plate appearances during her senior year with the Bulldogs.

She made just one error on defense.

Led by Bates, Ceres High collected 85 wins, claimed one Sac-Joaquin Section championship, captured three Western Athletic Conference crowns and appeared in the playoffs four times.

Bates won the 18-and-under PGF National Championship with the Huntington Beach-based Firecrackers-Rico team in 2016.

“I really love softball,” she said. “It takes up a lot of my time. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I’m very grateful to be where I’m at. It’s more than I could have dreamed of. Softball has given me everything in my life.”

Sis Bates family
Two of Nicole “Sis” Bates’ biggest fans, including her sister Samantha and father John, traveled to San Diego to watch her play professional softball during the first week of the Athletes Unlimited condensed season.