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Faith and Softball: Senior Catcher Reflects on Lady Hawks’ Historic Season

(This article was written by Abigail Muniz-Garcia and appeared in the July 2024 issue of Explore Harlingen Magazine.)

Lady Hawk Haley Vasquez prays with the umpire and Melissa first at bat at the start of the state championship game. Photo courtesy of Jeff Jaramillo.

It was a photo that was shared numerous times on Facebook. In it, Harlingen South Lady Hawks senior catcher, Haley Vasquez is seen, head bowed and holding hands with an opponent player as well as the umpire on the softball field. Moments before the pivotal UIL State Championship game began on June 1 in Austin, Vasquez prayed with both.

“When I first started prayer, I just prayed with the umpire. I started asking the girls (first batter) to also join,” Vasquez said. 

Sarge Vasquez, Haley’s dad, mentions prayer is something Haley was always accustomed to doing before a game. 

“Haley would always pray to herself before the first pitch, but this year we noticed she started including the umpires. We noticed sometime around district. Then during the play-offs she started asking the other team’s first batter,” he said.

Vasquez says her team is built on faith.      

“As a team, you pray before the game,” she said. “We believe that we wouldn’t be here playing this game without God. We give all the glory to God.”

This year, the Lady Hawks advanced to the UIL State Championship in May after competing at East View High School against the Aledo Ladycats team. It was the first time in school history that the softball team advanced to state.

Lady Hawks with their state runner-up trophy. Photo courtesy of Sarge Vasquez.

Although they received the State Runner-Up trophy after losing against the Melissa High School Cardinals from Melissa, Texas, Vasquez mentions how the Lady Hawks really played for each other this season and truly believed in each other’s abilities.

Haley’s mom, Scarlett Vasquez, added that the girls were not down about coming in 2nd place because they left it all on the field.

Lady Hawks catcher Haley Vasquez with the state runner-up trophy. Photo courtesy of Sarge Vasquez.

“That’s why they weren’t devastated. They knew they gave it their all,” she said.

Haley, who has been playing since she was four years old, will continue playing softball in college at Texas A&M Kingsville.

“Softball has made me mentally tough. It’s made me loud and vocal and to voice my opinions… and to grow as a leader,” she said.

Lady Hawks catcher Haley Vasquez in action. Photo courtesy of Sarge Vasquez.

According to her dad, Haley has had to put in a lot of work to get to where she is at.

“When she was about four years old, she was not the best on the team. Actually, she was terrible,” Vasquez said with a chuckle.

Vasquez said that Haley has always been competitive and asked her parents at that age, why she was always last to bat.

“(I told her) you need to get better,” he said. “She understood then that you need to put in the hard work and eventually it will pay off.”

Vasquez was awarded the 1st team all-district catcher for 32-5A this year. She also received the UIL all-state tournament catcher for 5A.

Vasquez has advice for up-and-coming athletes who want to do their best in their respective sports next season.

“It’s ok to struggle. Don’t give up. It’s gonna get hard at times… but it’ll be worth it,” she said.

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