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CHS grad earns spot on USA Softball Womens National Team
Bates, 19, accomplishes another lifelong goal
Former Bulldog Nicole Bates will represent USA at the Japan All-Star Series and World Cup of Softball. - photo by Photo courtesy of USA Softball

Nicole "Sis" Bates added another chapter to her illustrious softball career.

The 2016 Ceres High grad/University of Washington sophomore earned a roster spot on the USA Softball Women's National Team (WNT) this past weekend.

"She called me Saturday morning when she found out," said John Bates, Nicole's father. "She wasn't expecting to make it because an amazing pool of talent was there. She was shocked."

The WNT Selection Trials were staged, Jan. 1-5, in 40-degree weather in Clearwater, Fla.

"She told me it was the toughest week of her softball career, mentally and physically," John said. "The days were really long. She was playing 12 innings and watching another six. She was out in the cold all day."

Nicole accomplished another one of her goals.

Bates and 16 other athletes will represent USA at the Japan All-Star Series and the World Cup of Softball.

"She's been groomed for this but it doesn't always happen," John said. "I'm proud that she's stayed grounded. She's not cocky at all. She's humble. She doesn't like to talk about herself."

Nicole helped lead the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team to a gold medal at the World Baseball Softball Confederation World Championship in July.

She batted .444 (12-for-27) from the plate with seven RBIs, 12 runs and two stolen bases during the tournament.

Bates had a productive freshman season with Washington this past spring.

The Huskies advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division-I Women's College World Series.

Washington claimed Super Regional and Regional titles.
Nicole was a finalist for the 2017 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I Freshman of the Year award.

She earned NFCA Pacific-Region Third-Team honors.
She was also selected to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.

Nicole started all 64 games for the 50-14 Huskies, with her primary position being second base. She posted a batting average of .338 with three home runs, six triples, 10 doubles, 33 RBIs and 42 runs. Bates committed just five errors.

Bates and the Huntington Beach-based Firecrackers-Rico 18-and-under travel softball team captured the 2016 PGF National Championship. Competing in the Premier Division, Firecrackers-Rico edged California Cruisers-Sievers 2-0 for the National crown. Nicole accounted for two of her team's three hits.

Nicole participated in the PGF High School All-American Game. She singled twice and scored once as the West prevailed 4-3 while battling the East.

"Her travel ball team prepared her for this stage," John said. "Tony Rico taught her so much on and off the field. He started that when Sis was 15."

Bates filled a major role as Ceres High's softball program captured its second Sac-Joaquin Section title in 2016. The Bulldogs ended a 21-year drought between championships by edging out Benicia 3-2 in the Division-III finals.

Nicole doubled once, singled twice and scored once.

She secured the victory with an unassisted double play.

In 114 career games with Ceres High, 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 2016 Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball State Player of the Year award.

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

Bates was also selected to the Louisville Slugger Hit Club, which recognized 10 of the nation's top hitters.

Nicole is currently preparing for her sophomore season with Washington.

"She's going to Japan this summer to represent Team USA," John said. "How cool is that? This is huge for her softball career and future in everything. She's networking within the game."