Claire Eccles becomes first woman to pitch in West Coast League

Claire Eccles pitches for the Victoria Harbourcats of the West Coast League. (Courtesy UBC Athletics and Recreation)

Claire Eccles has become the first woman to ever pitch in the West Coast League, making her debut for the Victoria Harbourcats on Wednesday.

Eccles pitched two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and one walk in Victoria’s 9-0 loss to the Wenatchee Applesox.

The Surrey, B.C. native said she threw “about six, seven or eight knuckleballs,” in her appearance, which covered the eighth and ninth innings.

“I just wanted to play actually,” Eccles told reporters after the game. “There was a lot of media beforehand. I just wanted to go out and show I could compete.”

The lefty joined the Harbourcats in May, joining one of the top collegiate summer leagues in North America.

“I just looked at it as another player out there doing their job, it just happened to be a woman on the mound,” said Harbourcats manager Brian McRae. “Over the course of a game you bring someone in, they pitch and try to get outs.

“I think being able to get in and perform in this situation is going to make her better for the next time she takes the mound. I don’t think she’ll need to be nervous anymore. I think she found out the plate is the same distance from the mound as it always is.”

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