Historic night at Royal Athletic Park as Claire Eccles makes her West Coast League debut


In the top of the 8th inning, Claire Eccles walked onto the field at Royal Athletic Park to face the Wenatchee Apple Sox and into the history books.

The 19-year old HarbourCats pitcher became the first woman to ever play in a West Coast League game on Wednesday night.

READ MORE: Victoria HarbourCats sign first female player in WCL history

She got a thunderous welcome from the home crowd.

“It was pretty awesome,” Eccles said after the game.

“Honestly, I think it was louder than the Pan Am Games (in Toronto in 2015) when I came out of the bullpen in the final.”

The knuckballer from Surrey, B.C. walked the first batter she faced but then got her first out on a grounder back to the mound.

The walk would come around to score on a sacrifice fly but it would be the only run she would surrender in her first inning pitching at this level. 

“After she settled in , she threw strikes,” said HarbourCats manager Brian McRae.

“She made them put the ball in play and that’s what she’s able to do.”

Wearing #8,  the member of the UBC Thunderbirds softball team and Canada’s women’s baseball team was back on the mound for the 9th inning, giving up one hit and another run.

Eccles wasn’t entirely satisfied with her performance but said it was a start. 

“I just wanted to play,” Eccles admitted.

“I just wanted to go out and show that I can compete.”

The Apple Sox won the game 9-0, but the night will be remembered for far more than just the final score.




Ben O'HaraBen O'Hara

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!