Standouts at the NCAA Division-I level, former Ceres-based 2009 Tri-County Smash 10-and-under travel teammates Kindra Hackbarth, Nicole “Sis” Bates, Bubba Nickles and Maddi Hackbarth ranked fourth, sixth, 18th and 52nd on Softball America’s Preseason Top 100 list.
The NCAA D1 Council voted on March 30 to grant an extra year of eligibility to all spring athletes who had their 2020 seasons canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m so excited I get to play one more year,” said Maddi Hackbarth, a catcher at Arizona State. “I had a smile on my face when I found out. It brightened my day. I’m very blessed, honored and appreciative I get to continue my legacy. I can’t wait until I get back out there.”
“I miss my teammates and coaches so much,” said Bates, a shortstop at University of Washington. “I can’t wait for us to all be back in Seattle together.”
“We’re lucky we get her (Bates) for another year,” Huskies’ head coach Heather Tarr said. “She’s probably the best shortstop we’ve ever had. We’ve had Olympians. She’s good enough to make the National Team right now.”
Bates batted .529 from the plate with one triple, five doubles, 17 runs and 12 RBIs through the Huskies’ first 25 games last spring. She posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage on defense.
Second-ranked Washington had an impressive 23-2 overall record prior to the 2020 season being canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
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%).
Led by the Hackbarth sisters, Arizona State posted a 22-7 record and ranked 15th in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.
Kindra, an outfielder, batted .443 with six homers, one triple, 11 doubles, 27 RBIs and 32 runs.
Maddi, a catcher, batted .350 with nine homers, one triple, nine doubles, 32 RBIs and 21 runs.
Nickles has decided to return to UCLA for one more season.
The star outfielder redshirted last spring after being named to the United States Softball Olympic Team.
UCLA managed to amass a 25-1 record and climb to No. 1 in the national rankings before the 2020 campaign got canceled because of COVID-19.
Nickles helped lead the Bruins to the NCAA national championship in 2019.
She batted .390 on the season with 18 home runs, 12 doubles, 72 RBIs, 66 runs, 24 walks and six stolen bases.
Nickles had slugging and on-base percentages of .714 and .458, respectively.