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Former CHS softball standout enjoys giving back
Nicole “Sis” Bates and Sierra Romero
Ceres High School grad Nicole “Sis” Bates (pictured right with fellow Athletes Unlimited player Sierra Romero) provided instruction at the Toledo Mud Hens’ first-ever National Softball Day Camp on June 13 in Ohio. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Nicole “Sis” Bates continues to shine a light on women’s sports.

The 2016 Ceres High School grad passed on her knowledge at the Toledo Mud Hens minor-league baseball team’s first-ever National Softball Day Camp on June 13 at Fifth Third Field in Ohio.

“The sport is definitely growing,” Bates said in a video posted on the Mud Hens’ YouTube page. “It’s really exciting. I’m so happy to be here.”

Led by Bates and fellow softball star Sierra Romero, the camp was designed for girls ages 6-12 and included five stations.

Instruction focused on agility/base running, grounders and popups.

Campers also participated in a home-run derby and mini-game.

“When you field it (the ball), try to start with your glove a little bit lower to the ground,” Bates said while coaching a youngster during a drill. “And then work from the ground up.”

Bates and Romero also attended a meet-and-greet, panel discussion and Mud Hens game the day of the softball camp.

They signed autographs for fans.

Bates has embraced being one of the faces of women’s softball.

Her hard work, competitiveness and radiant personality have helped her ascend to heights only a small percentage reach.

“Gratitude is my No. 1 thing right now,” said Bates, a USA Softball World Cup member/Athletes Unlimited professional athlete and three-time NCAA Division-I All-American middle infielder, in a past interview with the Courier. “I feel so blessed. It’s pretty special to be in a space where I can help the sport grow and pave the way for young women.”

On June 21, uniforms were unveiled for the Little League Softball World Series.

Inspired by Bates and provided by Adidas, Sis’ “Remember to Have Fun” mantra is inscribed on the inside back collar of every uniform.

Bates’ smiley face/flower logo can be seen on the right sleeve of each jersey.

In September, Adidas released Bates’ signature “Remember to Have Fun” softball cleats.

Adizero PureHustle 3 Sis Bates cleats can be purchased on the Adidas and Dick’s Sporting Goods websites.

The cleats are available in women’s sizes ranging from 6-13 and children sizes ranging from 1-6.

Bates helped design her newly-released cleats, which included selecting style, colorway and personal touches.

Her mantra, “Remember to Have Fun” is inscribed on the left insoles and the back of each cleat.

Bates’ facsimile autograph decorates the right insoles.

Adidas also made sure to incorporate smiley-face logos into the design as Bates radiates positivity on and off the field.

Bates signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Adidas in February of 2022.

She also endorses products with a handful of other companies, including Wilson and Demarini.

Wilson started selling the 2023 Sis Bates A2000 SB22 11.75” Fastpich Infield Glove on its website on Jan. 18.

Bates’ customized glove can also be purchased on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website.

“I certainly never dreamed this big. It’s pretty surreal. It’s all happened so quickly. I’m really grateful. It still doesn’t feel real. Lots of hard work and sacrifices have led to these moments. I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for my family and the people who paved the way before me.”

Bates’ life path, which included playing youth softball at George Costa Ball Field Complex, making a name for herself with the nationally-renowned Huntington Beach-based Rico-Firecrackers travel squad, and becoming one of the greatest shortstops in NCAA Division-I history, took a monumental turn when she was named to the USA Women’s National Team.

“I come from a very small town,” said Bates, who attended Carroll Fowler Elementary School, Mae Hensley Jr. High and Ceres High. “I never left the country. Playing for the National Team has opened doors for me. I get to play a sport that I love. This is my life. This is what I dreamed of.”

Bates will represent Team USA at the 2024 World Cup Finals July 15-21 in Italy.

 A total of 16 players earned roster spots.

“Carrying on a legacy and representing the country is always an honor. It’s super important to us.”