Ex-UNM softball player makes history with the Yankees » Albuquerque Journal


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Since then, the San Francisco Giants made a similarly historic hire. On Jan. 16, they added former Sacramento State softball player Alyssa Nakken to their major league coaching staff. While women have begun serving on coaching staffs in the NFL and NBA, Nakken is believed to be the first woman named to a big league coaching staff.

Nakken, the Giants have said, will be in uniform and work with all the coaches on the technical aspects of the game. Balkovec, meanwhile, will sport the uniform of the Gulf Coast Yankees when the 2020 season begins.

Could anyone have seen this coming back in 2007 and ’08, when Balkovec was sporting a UNM jersey and playing catcher at the school’s south campus?

Not by looking at her stats.

Balkovec appeared in 13 games in 2007, collecting one hit in 13 at-bats. She struck out in her only plate appearance of 2008.

But Balkovec’s numbers don’t begin to tell her story. Mental anxiety severely limited Balkovec’s playing career, a condition often described with another term.

“I had the yips,” Balkovec said during a recent phone interview. “I was a catcher who couldn’t consistently…

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