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WAC coaches recognize CHS talent
Ceres High varsity softball star Nicole Bates was won the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year Award. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Nicole Bates, a third-year standout hitter and shortstop with Ceres High's varsity softball team, was voted Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in a vote by the league's head coaches following the 2015 campaign.

"It's definitely an honor," said Bates, 2014 WAC MVP. "It's definitely humbling. My hard work is paying off. But awards don't mean that much to me. I'm more focused on the team. Winning is a big thing, too."

"I could always depend on her," Bulldogs head coach Angela Durossette said.

Ceres High teammates Mahlena O'Neal, Rayohna Sagapolu, Ariel Knights, Callie Nunes, Mackenzie Veuve and Jessica Arreola were also rewarded for their outstanding play.

Bates, O'Neal, Sagapolu, Nunes, Knights, Veuve and Arreola helped lead the Bulldogs to their second consecutive WAC crown.

Ceres High tied for first place in the league standings at 10-2 with Pacheco.

"I'm really happy we got recognized again," Bates said. "It was a fun season."

Bates 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).

Nicole was a first-team, all-conference selection in girls basketball during the wintertime. She averaged a team-leading 19.4 points per game in conference action.

"Obviously, she's talented," Durossette said. "She's a great all-round player. She's very competitive. She doesn't like to lose. Winning is important to her. She's smart. She's very humble. She's got a great personality."

O'Neal, a junior catcher, and Sagapolu, sophomore rightfielder/pitcher, were both selected to the WAC First Team.

Mahlena ranked first in the WAC in homers (3), RBIs (20) and fielding percentage (1.000), third in triples (1) and doubles (4), fourth in slugging percentage (.733), and eighth in batting average (.400) and runs (9).

She has the best swing on the team," Durossette said. "It's old-school. It's through the hit zone. It's powerful. She's tough to strike out. She's tough to run on. She's all-round good. She's fun to watch."

Sagapolu ranked second in the WAC in homers (2) and runs (16), third in doubles (4), fourth in RBIs (15), fifth in stolen bases (3) and batting average (.449), and sixth in slugging percentage (.653).

Rayohna compiled a 4-1 record with a 0.58 ERA, 45 strikeouts and four complete games on the mound. She allowed just three earned runs in 36 innings.

"She did a lot of good things for us," Durossette said.

Nunes (So., P/RF), Knights (Jr., 3B) and Veuve (Jr., 1B) all earned second-team all-conference accolades.

Callie posted a 6-1 record with a 0.00 ERA, 65 strikeouts and four complete games in 382/3 innings. All seven of the runs Nunes allowed were unearned. She had a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Nunes batted .310 with one double, three RBIs, eight runs and two stolen bases.

"She was the second-best pitcher in the league," Durossette said.

Ariel ranked first in the WAC in homers (3), second in triples (2) and slugging percentage (.812), sixth in runs (11), seventh in batting average (.406) and stolen bases (1), and 13th in RBIs (9).

"She did an excellent job," Durossette said.

Mackenzie ranked first in the WAC in fielding percentage (1.000), second in homers (2), fourth in three doubles (3), fifth in RBIs (13), sixth in runs (11) and 14th in batting average (.333).

"She had some really good games," Durossette said. "She swung the bat well. She was the best first baseman in our league by far."

Arreola, a junior second baseman, was an honorable-mention pick.

Jessica batted .281 with one double, seven RBIs, nine runs and one stolen base. "She stepped up," Durossette said.