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Bates still in running for major award
Nicole Bates - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The list of finalists for the 2017 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I Freshman of the Year award has been narrowed from 25 to 11.

Ceres High grad/University of Washington standout Nicole "Sis" Bates remains in the running for the prestigious honor.

"It's great to have one of our players be recognized as one of the best in the country," Huskies head coach Heather Tarr said. "We are honored that the NFCA and the coaches in the association think that Sis is as good as we think she is."

Nicole, a utility infielder, has started all 54 of Washington's games this season.

Bates had a batting average of .350 with three home runs, five triples, eight doubles, 30 RBIs and 35 runs as of Monday.

She ranks first in the Pac-12 in triples.

She leads the team in hits (56).

Washington (43-11) closed out the regular season at the University of Utah this past week.

The Huskies beat the Utes three times.

Washington was awarded the sixth overall seed for the NCAA Division-I Tournament Sunday evening.

The host Huskies will face Big Sky Conference champion Montana (35-22) during an opening-round Regional game on Friday.

The winner will play either Michigan (41-11) or Fresno State (34-21).

"I'm so beyond happy to be where I am right now," said Bates, who was selected to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team on Monday. "This team is so close. We spend every single minute together. We play for each other. We go out every day and have no doubt in what we are as a program."

The top three finalists will be revealed on May 24.

The Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on May 30 at the World College World Series banquet.

Bates helped guide Ceres High to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III crown this past spring.

In 114 career games with the Bulldogs, Nicole batted .512 (205-for-400) with 14 homers, 22 triples, 31 doubles, 102 RBIs, 171 runs, 52 stolen bases and 32 walks with just 13 strikeouts.

Bates won the Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball State and Medium Schools Player of the Year awards.

She was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Super Elite First Team and All-State Medium Schools First Team.

She received FloSoftball All-American First-Team honors and Premier Girls Fastpitch West Regional All-American Team accolades.

She was selected to the Louisville Slugger Hit Club, which recognized 11 of the nation's top hitters.

She participated in the PGF High School All-American Game.

Nicole earned a roster spot on the 2017 USA Softball Junior Women's National Training Team.