Claire Eccles signs with Victoria HarbourCats
OTTAWA- The Victoria HarbourCats of the West Coast League (WCL) announced today at a news conference that they have signed Women’s National Team left-handed pitcher Claire Eccles for the 2017 season.
Eccles, 19, is set to become the first female to play in the WCL, an 11-team collegiate baseball league that has been operating since 2005, and also the first member of the Women’s National Team program to compete at that level.
“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. There's a bigger picture out there.”
Eccles has represented Canada on four separate occasions including the 2014 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup and the 2015 Pan American Games where he she helped Team Canada capture a silver medal. In 2016, she was integral piece of Team Canada’s gold medal win at the U20 International Cup in the Dominican Republic and later helped the Women’s National Team to a silver medal at the Women’s Baseball World Cup in Gijang, Korea.
“On behalf of the Women’s National Team program we’d like to congratulate Claire and wish her success with the HarbourCats this season,” said Women’s National Team Manager André Lachance. “Opportunities like the one Claire will receive with the HarbourCats can only help raise the profile of our sport and showcase the type of talent that women’s baseball has to offer.”
“The West Coast League is about providing opportunities,” added Tony Bonacci, Acting President of the West Coast League, in a media release. “We are all looking for talented, competitive players to improve our ball clubs. Claire has demonstrated both, and we congratulate her and the HarbourCats on what is a tremendous opportunity for both of them.”
Eccles, a native of Surrey, BC, is currently studying at the University of British Columbia where she is a member of the softball team.
She is set to join the HarbourCats in Victoria on June 6 prior to their game against the Wenatchee AppleSox.
To follow the HarbourCats, visit their website harbourcats.com.