Former D-I college softball coach leading Lady Coyotes

Pete Garcia, Alice Echo-News Journal

After a few missed bunts in the batting cage, all Alice High School softball player Hannah Gonzalez could do was shrug her shoulders in frustration.

Patiently, coach Eva Harshman walked up and slowly demonstrated how she wants her new players to lay a bunt.

"We're not gonna just lower the bat to the ball," she said as she demonstrated the motion. "We're going to lower our whole body with the bat to make sure we make contact with the ball."

On the next pitch, Gonzalez laid a perfect bunt.

"There you go! I should be a coach," she said with a laugh.

And she is a coach, the Lady Coyotes' new softball coach. And she comes to Alice with a wealth of big-time softball experience, both as a player and a coach.

Harshman, who replaced former Alice coach Juan Rivadeneyra, comes to Alice after spending the last season as an assistant coach at Div. I Centenary College in Shreveport, La.

Prior to that she coached the varsity softball team at Southside High School in San Antonio, and she spent the previous two years as the head coach at Lytle High School in Texas. In addition, she coached several summer travel softball teams, including her most recent stint as the skipper of the 2005 San Antonio Royals.

Having coached both Div. I college softball and high school players, Harshman said the high school ranks can be more rewarding.

"There's a big difference between high school and college softball," she said. "But at the high school level, you have a chance to do more than just coach. You have a chance to inspire young ladies to be all they can be and to build a solid softball program."

Her biggest challenge is turning around a program that was 1-11 in District 31-4A last season. It's a turnaround that she says will begin in how the team practices and prepares for each game.

"I told the girls, you can't come out here and prepare just like you did last year and a different outcome," she said. "There's no way that's going to happen. You have to crave it and you have to want to get better."

Alice's 2007 campaign began Monday with the team's first practice of the season. The Lady Coyotes' first scrimmage is Tuesday at Beeville.

Harshman's softball experience also stretches to the playing field.

Harshman was a second baseman and left fielder in the Big 12 Conference at Texas Tech University, according to her bio on a Centenary College Website. She was picked as a member of the San Antonio Armadillos National Pro Fastpitch Team and played on the Sonic Stars, a semi-pro team formed to play against the U.S. Olympic team during its final tour before earning the gold medal in Athens in the summer of 2004.