60 for '16: Merced (Calif.) pitcher/infielder Madilyn Nickles

60 for '16: Merced (Calif.) pitcher/infielder Madilyn Nickles

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60 for '16: Merced (Calif.) pitcher/infielder Madilyn Nickles

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Merced (Calif.) High School pitcher/infielder Madi Nickles (Photo: Brentt Eads)

Merced (Calif.) High School pitcher/infielder Madi Nickles (Photo: Brentt Eads)

USA TODAY High School Sports is launching a series called “60 for ’16” to highlight 60 members of the Class of 2016 who we will be watching in the coming 12 months. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff. 

For previous entries, click here

Name: Madilyn Nickles

School: Merced (Calif.)

Sport: Softball

Position: Pitcher/Infielder

What we’ve seen: Nickles is the only underclassman chosen to the USA Junior National Team, as all others are college freshmen or sophomores. She was named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Softball second team after a stellar junior campaign, both in the circle and at the plate. She logged 178.2 innings, winning 22 games while striking out an astounding 287 batters and posting a 1.18 ERA. On top of that, she threw 11 shutouts and five no-hitters.

But Nickles didn’t stop there. A .526 average at the plate was accompanied by eight home runs and 46 RBIs, rounding out the stat line for arguably the best Class of 2016 softball player in the country. Of the 112 players who tried out for the Junior National Team, Nickles was one of only 17 to be chosen to represent Team USA at the Junior Women’s World Championships in August.

“I was in complete shock I had been selected for the team. My parents and I originally signed me up for the open try-out just for the experience, since I’ll still be eligible for the Junior Team again for the next tryout in two years,” Nickles told guamsportsnetwork.com.

“I am still in amazement that I was selected as one of the 17 for the roster, but I’m very honored as well.”

Why we’re watching: Nickles is one of four players headed to UCLA on the Junior National team roster. She went 1-for-3 and scored a run in her Team USA debut Wednesday in a 14-0 victory against Argentina.

In addition to the JWWC from Aug. 9-15, Nickles will be participating in the World Cup X until July 5 in Irvine, Calif.

Nickles still has one more high school season to match or top the numbers she displayed in her junior season. Her success doesn’t stop on the diamond, seeing as Nickles also earns a 4.067 GPA in the classroom.

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