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Ceres Bates a Cal-Hi Sports all-state pick
Bulldog softball star Nicole Bates was named to the Cal-Hi Sports Underclass All-State First Team. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Courier

Ceres High's Nicole Bates garnered more recognition for her outstanding play on the softball diamond this past spring.

The standout hitter/shortstop was one of 23 juniors selected to the 33rd Annual Cal-Hi Sports Underclass All-State First Team on July 13.

"It's a really big honor," Bates said. "It's pretty awesome. I wouldn't have been able to do it without my teammates, coaches and parents."

Nicole batted .518 with three homers, seven triples, 14 doubles, 27 RBIs, 51 runs and 14 stolen bases during her junior year with the Bulldogs, who posted a 22-9 overall record, placed first in the Western Athletic Conference (10-2) for the second straight season and tied for fifth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoff bracket.

Bates collected 59 hits and struck out just three times in 114 at-bats.

She committed just four errors on defense in 31 games.

Nicole was voted Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

She ranked first in the WAC in batting average (.521), slugging percentage (.875), on-base percentage (.558), doubles (7) and runs (24), second in homers (2), triples (2) and RBIs (17), and third in stolen bases (6).

Bates won the Ceres High Female Athlete of the Year Award for the second year in a row.

Nicole was selected to the FloSoftball All-American First Team on July 8.

"I really love the game," Bates said. "I do every little thing I can do to help my team out."

Nicole has been a member of the Huntington Beach-based Firecrackers-Rico 18-and-under travel softball team for the past two years.

The Firecrackers have played more than 40 games this summer.

Bates and her teammates just returned home from Reno.

The Firecrackers compiled a 6-2 record on their way to a fifth-place finish at the July 14-17 Triple Crown Sports/USA Nationals 18 Gold Double-Elimination Tournament.

Bates hit a two-run homer in a 6-2 loss to the Wichita Mustangs on July 17.

"It was really hot," she said. "We were playing on turf. We played against teams from all over the country. It was a cool experience."

Nicole's college plans will be finalized in November.

She committed to the University of Washington her freshman year.

Nicole continues to be rewarded for her hard work and success.

“It’s super humbling,” said Bates, who dined with members of the Huskies’ coaching staff at her mother’s house earlier this month. “That’s probably the best word to describe it.”