victoria harbourcats
(File photo)

Just over a year after her historic signing to the Victoria HarbourCats, pitcher Claire Eccles is leaving the team to train for the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Florida.

Her last games will be next week’s series against the Corvallis Knights on July 18–20. This was the last season Eccles was eligible to play for the HarbourCats.

Eccles, 20, was the first woman ever signed to a West Coast League team. Prior to her joining the HarbourCats, the left-handed pitcher represented Canada at the 2016 Women’s World Cup in South Korea.

At the time of her signing, Eccles said she recognized how important it was for gender equality in the sport. “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.”

“Claire’s time here has been a triumph for so many reasons, and she proved that the door is open for women to play this game at higher and higher levels, when given the opportunity by organizations with that open-minded approach,” said Jim Swanson, HarbourCats managing partner.

“Not only did she get college players out, and some by strikeout, she awakened the hearts and minds of female players around the world. She did it with class and grace, even though Claire and our team were met with scorn from some old-fashioned and classless corners of society.”

The HarbourCats also announced that they will retire the #8 jersey in time for the 2019 season.

Victoria HarbourCats versus Corvalis Knights

Where: Wilson’s Group Stadium, Royal Athletic Park

When: June 18, 19, and 20; games begin at 6:35 p.m.

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