VICTORIA, Canada — Two-time WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup participant with Canada, Claire Eccles, will be the first female to play in the West Coast League (WCL) after it was announced that she signed with club Victoria HarbourCats. The signing has generated headlines across major news outlets in North America.

The West Coast League is a collegiate baseball summer league that features players from different levels of college baseball including NCAA Division I.

“I’m extremely excited to be getting the opportunity to play at such a high level of ball,” said Eccles. “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, 19, is a left-handed pitcher who represented Canada at the 2014 and 2016 editions of the Women’s Baseball World Cup. In 2016 she helped Canada to a silver medal finish that included a complete-game one hitter against Venezuela in the Super Round.

Her international playing experience also includes a silver medal won at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

“On behalf of the Women’s National Team programme we’d like to congratulate Claire and wish her success with the HarbourCats this season,” said Canadian National Baseball 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.”

Eccles is scheduled to join the HarbourCats on 6 June.