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Bates, USA finish third in Irvine
Nicole Bates holds ball
Former Ceres High softball star/University of Washington senior shortstop Nicole Bates.

Sidelined with an injury at the Japan All-Star Series, Ceres High grad/University of Washington junior-to-be Nicole “Sis” Bates rooted from the dugout for her USA Softball Women’s National Team teammates.

Bates provided a major boost with her bat and glove while leading USA Blue to the bronze medal at the USA Softball International Cup, staged July 9-15, at Bill Barber Park in Irvine.

Nicole batted .500 (10-for-20) from the plate with one double, two RBIs, nine runs and just one strikeout in seven games.

She had slugging and on-base percentages of .550 and .524, respectively.

She committed no errors while logging playing time at shortstop and second base on defense.

“You can’t make the game bigger than it is. You tune everything out. You focus on what you can control. "
Nicole Bates

“You can’t make the game bigger than it is,” Bates said while talking about her mental approach. “You tune everything out. You focus on what you can control. Keep it simple.”

USA Blue posted a 6-1 record at the International Cup.

USA Blue won five of six games while taking second place in Pool B.

USA Blue edged China 7-6 in extra innings for third place on July 15.

USA Blue topped Mexico 10-2 on July 13, Canada 6-1 on July 12, Colombia 18-0 on July 11, Venezuela 8-1 on July 10 and Czech Republic 15-1 on July 9.

Japan dealt USA Blue its lone loss at the International Cup on July 14.

Japan rallied for a 5-3 win and earned the right to play USA Red in the finals.

USA Red prevailed, 10-5.

USA Blue compiled a 6-4 record during the 2018 international season.

“It’s really been such a great experience,” Bates said. “I’m having fun and trying to embrace every moment. You want to be viewed as a good role model. A lot of the little girls look up to us. Hopefully, we’re impacting young lives just like they (past USA players) impacted us.”