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Bates in running for award
Nates pitches for millionth time
Ceres High School grad Nicole “Sis” Bates made no errors during the University of Washington softball team’s COVID-shortened season last spring.

Ceres High School grad Sis Bates was named one of the 30 candidates for the Senior Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School (CLASS) Award on Feb. 18.

To be eligible for the honor, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

A standout shortstop on the University of Washington’s softball team, Bates graduated in less than four years and is currently working on earning her master’s degree. The sociology major has earned Pac-12 All-Academic accolades every eligible year.

Bates had her fourth season with the Huskies cut short last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m proud of the young lady that she has become,” said John Bates, Sis’ father. “She’s still the same person in the core that she was when she left here (Ceres). Playing on the big stage hasn’t changed her.”

“She helps make others around her better,” Huskies’ assistant coach J.T. d’Amico added.

Bates is the second Washington softball player to be named a candidate for the award in the last three years, joining former Husky pitcher Taran Alvelo.

She made program history earlier this season by becoming just the 15th player from Washington to reach the 250-career hit mark.

She batted .500 from the plate with four triples, six doubles, 19 RBIs, 33 runs, 11 walks and 10 stolen bases through the Huskies first 22 games of the 2021 season.

Bates’ .981 career fielding percentage is the second-highest in Husky history for a middle infielder.

Sidelined with a concussion, Bates played in 15 of 25 games during Washington’s COVID-shortened campaign last spring. She hit .529 with one triple, five doubles, 17 runs and 12 RBIs. Bates posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

The Huskies had an impressive 23-2 overall record and ranked second in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll prior to the season being canceled.

A first-team All-American two times and the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and sophomore, Bates made just two errors the past two seasons.

She has collected 268 hits, eight homers, 15 triples, 47 doubles, 128 RBIs and 193 runs in 218 career games.

The Huskies have made three trips to the NCAA Division-I Women’s College World Series, including a finals appearance in 2018, during Bates’ time at Washington.

“She plays with a great joy and rolls like there is no other place in the world she’d rather be than between the lines making plays to help our team win,” d’Amico stated.

Bates is also on the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year watchlist. This is the third straight year Bates has been in the running for the award. She was a finalist in 2018.

Using results from a fan poll, Bates received the most votes for shortstop when ESPN unveiled its Greatest All-Time Softball Team on June 9.

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%).

The 30 Senior CLASS Award candidates list will be narrowed to ten finalists this month, and those ten names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.

The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2021 Women’s College World Series in June.

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 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 final season with the Bulldogs.

She made just one error on defense.

Bates filled a major role in leading Ceres High to 85 victories, one section championship, three WAC titles and four playoff appearances from 2013-2016.