Claire Eccles Makes Debut for Victoria

The Wenatchee AppleSox used a 12-hit attack to outscore the Victoria HarbourCats 9-0 last night to take the rubber match of the three-game West Coast League (WCL) series between the two teams, but that did not seem to matter to the 1,263 die-hard fans in attendance, as they got to see history being made when Victoria’s Claire Eccles entered the game to pitch the eighth and ninth innings, thus becoming the first woman to play in a WCL game.

Eccles began her outing a little shaky, but settled in nicely, allowing two runs on one hit, while walking just one in her two innings of work.

“It was pretty surreal, walking in from the bullpen and hearing the crowd and my teammates supporting me,” said Eccles following the game. “Honestly, I think it was even louder than when I pitched in the Pan Am Games.”

Asked about her nerves coming in, Eccles said she was not nervous, but was having some trouble getting used to the mound and was slipping a bit. That cost her a leadoff walk that eventually scored in the eighth, while a hit batter in the ninth also came in to score, her only two blemishes on the night.

“I wish I didn’t walk a guy, I wish I didn’t hit a guy,” added Eccles, “I just wanted to play and to go out and show that I can compete. I’m glad the pressure of the first appearance is over, but as I’ve said before, there are lots of girls out there that can play and I just want them all to have the same opportunity as me.”

ABOUT THE WEST COAST LEAGUE

The West Coast League is the premier summer collegiate baseball league west of the Mississippi. The 13-year-old, 11-team, professionally operated wood-bat league located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest features pro prospects from major conferences across the nation and an unparalleled history out west of great fan and player experiences in addition to the best summer weather in North America. In 2016, 88 players with WCL experience were selected in the MLB June draft, and more than 230 WCL alums appeared in affiliated professional baseball including 28 in the major leagues, such as 2015 home-run leader Chris Davis (Baltimore), 2015 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Matt Duffy (Tampa Bay) and rising star pitchers Matt Andriese (Tampa Bay), Matt Boyd (Detroit) and James Paxton (Seattle). Overall member attendance was 379,611 this past season.