Nicole "Sis" Bates and Callie Nunes filled major roles while leading Ceres High's varsity softball program to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship in 2016.
Bates (University of Washington) and Nunes (Concordia University) are currently in the running for major awards at the college level.
"I'm not surprised at all," said Angela Durossette, who coached Bates for two seasons and Nunes for one year with the Bulldogs. "They're competitors. They both have great work ethics. They don't take many days off. They want to be the best."
A sophomore infielder for the NCAA Division I Huskies, Bates was named a candidate for USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year award on April 25.
The field of 25 will be narrowed down to 10 on May 9. The winner will be unveiled on May 29.
"I'm so honored to be named into such a great group of female athletes," Nicole said. "These girls are all so good. I was very excited when I saw that both me and my teammate Taran Alvelo were nominated. I couldn't be where I am today without her and the rest of my teammates and coaches."
Bates leads the Huskies in batting average (.415), hits (66), triples (3), runs scored (47), sacrifice bunts (8) and on-base percentage (.500).
She ranks second on the team in doubles (13) and walks (23), third in stolen bases (8), total bases (100) and slugging percentage (.629), and fourth in home runs (5) and RBIs (32).
Nicole has committed just two errors and turned eight double plays on defense.
She earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors once.
The Huskies (42-8, 13-8 Pac-12) climbed to No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Softball and USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings before losing six games in a row.
"Sis has the ‘it' factor," Durossette said.
A freshman pitcher for NCAA Division II Concordia University, Nunes was among 25 standouts named finalists for the Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II National Player of the Year award on April 24.
The field of 10 will be revealed on May 15 and the winner will be selected on June 4.
"Callie is a great player and person," Bates said. "She absolutely deserves this award. I'm so proud of her."
Nunes compiled a 24-3 record with a 0.55 earned-run average, 280 strikeouts and eight saves during the regular season.
She allowed just 14 earned runs in 1781/3 innings.
She limited opponents to a .120 batting average.
Callie leads the nation in ERA and strikeouts.
Nunes received PacWest weekly accolades six times for Concordia University, which compiled a 45-12 overall record and finished first in the PacWest Standings (26-6).
The Eagles climbed to No. 12 in the May 2 NFCA Division II Rankings.
Concordia University won 24 of its last 25 games. The Eagles reeled off 14 straight victories.
"I'm really proud of Callie," said Ashley Nicolich, who coached Nunes during her senior year at Ceres High. "I knew she would be very successful. She has a winning mentality. She's a very dedicated player. She never makes excuses."
Bates and Washington will play in the opening round of the NCAA Division I Regional Tournament on May 18.
Nunes and Concordia University will compete at the Division II West Regionals later this month.
"Everybody is rooting for them," said Durossette, who has seen Nunes and Bates compete live three times and twice, respectively, this season. "It's been fun watching how successful they've become. They're doing big things. It's pretty spectacular."