Lady Roadrunner Softball Signs Area Standout Fuentes Diboll Sparkplug Brings Versatility to the Game

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Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

Sparkplug. Fireball. Catalyst. Playmaker.

Those are just a few of the words used to describe Diboll High School standout Hailey Fuentes, who has started for the Ladyjack softball team since her freshman season. Fuentes has played catcher and middle infield, has proven herself as a hard out to get at the plate and has contributed to Diboll’s presence as a perennial district championship contender.

However, the most apt description for a player of her dedication and caliber might just be “Total softball player.”

Fuentes’ offering of the complete package earned her plenty of attention from next-level programs, but the Diboll dynamo this week signed her letter of intent with Angelina College.

“I like that it’s close to home, and Coach [Josh] Barnes seems like a really good coach,” Fuentes said during Saturday’s signing ceremony. She added she hopes to bring leadership skills she learned under Ladyjack head coach Hayland Hardy to the Lady ‘Runner lineup.

Fuentes said she sees her role as just finding a way to get on the field and find ways to contribute, no matter where on the diamond she may find herself.

“I really like her energy,” Angelina College head softball coach Josh Barnes said. “I love her explosiveness as an athlete, and she’s always playing with a smile. No matter what’s going on during a game, she’s competing with a smile, and that’s something we like in our program. I see her competing for a place anywhere on the field.

“Hailey’s in a slightly different mold for what some may consider a typical softball player. She’s small, but she’s fast and has a lot of pop in her bat. Those are qualities you can really see translating well at the next level.”

Following her sophomore season as a Ladyjack, Fuentes was named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State list. She batted .265 with 12 RBI and six doubles in her freshman year – and nearly launched a walk-off homer in the 2018 regional quarterfinals as part of the Ladyjacks’ historic season. A COVID-ruined junior season did nothing to lessen her reputation among her peers and coaches.

Fuentes said she plans to major in Business at AC.

She is the daughter of Esmeralda and Olizer Juaraz.

The email address for AC’s Sports Information Director is gstallard@angelina.edu.

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