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Hard work paying off for Bulldog Bates
Nicole Bates - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Ceres High's Nicole Bates put up impressive numbers during her junior year with Ceres High's varsity softball program.

Bates garnered special recognition once again as the standout hitter and shortstop was selected to the MaxPreps California Medium Schools All-State Team on July 27.

"It's awesome to see how my hard work is paying off," Bates said.

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 was voted WAC 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 33rd Annual Cal-Hi Sports Underclass All-State First Team on July 13.

She was named to the FloSoftball All-American First Team on July 8.

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

"I need to get better at everything," Nicole said. "I don't focus on just one thing."

Bates will finalize her college plans this November. She committed to the University of Washington her freshman year.

"Nicole has the whole package-speed, athleticism and knowledge of the game," Bulldogs head coach Angela Durossette said. "She's talented. She has a great work ethic. She's humble. That's very special."

Ceres High's list of great all-round players, excluding pitchers, includes Bates, Meghan Franksen, Kari Abbey, Jessica Addison and Alicia McLelland.

"A lot of talent has come through Ceres High," Durossette said. "Nicole ranks among the best."