History was made during Wednesday’s matchup in the West Coast League between the Victoria HarbourCats and the Wenatchee Applesox. Left-handed relief pitcher Claire Eccles made her debut, becoming the first woman to pitch a game in the West Coast League, which is one of the top collegiate summer leagues in North America.
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The 19-year-old knuckleballer came in and pitched the eighth and ninth innings. Though she held her own out on the mound, her HarbourCats team lost 9-0. Eccles gave up two earned runs, one hit, one walk and hit one batter.
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The UBC softball player out of Surrey, British Columbia, threw a handful of knuckleballs, which seemed to be effective. Though she might not have been pleased with her performance, Eccles was happy just to get her first game out of the way.
“I just wanted to play,” Eccles told the Daily Hive, relieved that her first outing was in the books. “There was a lot of media beforehand. I just wanted to go out and show I could compete.”
The night was historic, but HarbourCats manager Brian McRae looked at the situation as a player just doing her job.
“I just looked at it as another player out there doing their job. It just happened to be a woman on the mound,” McRae told the Daily Hive. “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.”