Story provided by Wilson Wong, UBC Athletics
VICTORIA, B.C. – Claire Eccles of UBC softball and one of the top pitchers for the Baseball Canada Women's National Team will be joining the Victoria Harbourcats of the West Coast League as a left-handed relief pitcher for the 2017 season.
The Surrey, B.C., native Eccles has played on the UBC Thunderbirds for the past two seasons and is in her fourth year with the Canadian National Team. She will become the first female to ever play in the West Coast League, a summer developmental league for some of the best collegiate level baseball players in North America. Eccles' main pitches are her knuckleball and curveball.
"I'm very excited. Victoria is really behind this team and I'm lucky to play for such a great organization as the Harbourcats," says Eccles. "I've been playing baseball for a long time and have been a pitcher for my entire career so when I switched to softball it just wasn't the same. I'm obviously not going to be the fastest pitcher in the league, but I have some good off-speed pitches that will keep hitters on their toes."
"In 2017, things are much different in having an athlete like Claire who can compete at this level then 10 years ago," says Harbourcats general manager Brad Norris-Jones. "Her off-speed pitches and knuckleball are very good, so I feel she will be as effective as anyone coming out of our bullpen. All the scouting reports I've seen on Claire tell me she can compete at this level."
The Harbourcats 2017 home opener is Monday, June 5 versus the Wenatchee Applesox at Victoria's Royal Athletic Park.