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

Wind storm has wreaked havoc on Central Interior

Quesnel, Prince George have outages, but Williams Lake area hardest hit to date

Vital Information Program part of community preparedness and residents’ safety

The VIP is provided free to seniors, to provide critical information to emergency personnel

Rodeo preparations are year-round

The rodeo season doesn’t gear up till April, but Quesnel riders are already getting ready

Letter: provincial residents should have ability to enjoy nature

Green Party’s Weaver re-introduces bill to increase British Columbian’s access to nature

Quesnel youth Riley Wyssen has amazing goals

Marian Gillard interviews this remarkable young girl and finds a depth well beyond her years

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Mountain caribou habitat protection target of COS patrols

A patrol by the COS resulted in the location of snowmobiles operating in protected caribou habitat.

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read