First female in league history

The Victoria HarbourCats are breaking down baseball stereotypes

A historic announcement was made at Royal Athletic Park this afternoon when the Victoria HarbourCats of the West Coast League announced the signing of 19-year-old Claire Eccles.

The left-handed pitcher from White Rock becomes the first female player in league history and will make her debut with the team on June 6 in Victoria.

“I’m extremely excited to be getting the opportunity to play at such a high level of ball and being the first female in Canada to do so,” said Eccles.

“The HarbourCats seem like an amazing organization and I can’t wait to play for them. As much as this is an accomplishment for myself, I can’t help but realize that this is a step in the right direction for any girl with a dream of playing baseball.”

Standing 5’8, Eccles realizes she won’t be able to overpower batters. Instead she will rely on her pitching repertoire that includes off speed pitches with lots of movement and a knuckleball that she’s been tinkering with for years.

“In warmup we practiced throwing it just for fun, mine just seemed to work,” she said. “I played around with it for a while and as I got older, I realized I could actually throw this in a game.”

A graduate of Elgin Park Secondary in Surrey, B.C., Eccles played outfield for the University of British Columbia softball team this spring and represented Canada at the 2016 Women’s Baseball World Cup in South Korea last September. She is a two-way player for Team Canada (pitcher and outfielder) and made her debut with the national squad when she was 17.

“We are excited to add Claire to the HarbourCats and can’t wait to see her getting a chance to throw for us and compete for innings out of the bullpen,” said Brad Norris-Jones, General Manager for the team.

“Claire has competed at and been successful at many levels of the game, playing against both women and men. We think her poise on the mound and experience internationally will give her a chance to get the outs we need.”

While Eccles is slated to begin her career in the pen, Norris-Jones didn’t rule out having her start games at some point this season.

As for any added pressure above and beyond being labeled the first female player in league history, Eccles shrugged off questions about her future success or failure reflecting on other females trying to play a male-dominated sport at a high level.

“There are probably a lot of girls better than me out there somewhere, but just don’t get the same opportunity as I have. So I think it opens more people to the idea that girls can play baseball,” she said.

Instead Eccles is excited about getting on the mound and maybe getting into the head of opposing batters.

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: Mount Eneas fire grows to 1,374 hectares

Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen issues evac alerts for properties in Area F.

UPDATED: Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire evacuation alert lifted

An evacuation alert remains in effect for those on Lakeshore Road

Mount Conkle fire near Summerland 90 per cent guarded

This fire has several good water sources and has good road access which have contributed to the success

Law Creek wildfire still out-of-control

A blaze in West Kelowna still has 129 properties on an evacuation alert

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

Wildfires near Vernon extinguished

BX, Dee Lake and Irish Creek fires all out

What’s happening this weekend

Follow Social Squad memeber Matthew Abrey to find out what’s happeing this weekend

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

Vernon’s Sparrow signs with Wichita

Vernon product headed to ECHL for pro hockey

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Matjicka pulls trick for Silver Stars

Capri Insurance Men’s 55+ Soccer League roundup

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Most Read