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HarbourCats lose 9-0; Claire Eccles makes history in relief effort

Claire Eccles follows through on the first pitch in West Coast League baseball history by a female player. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

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The Victoria HarbourCats hosted the Wenatchee AppleSox Wednesday night for game three of the three-game homestand against their North Division rivals. They split the first two games, with the HarbourCats losing their home opener 9-4, but took game two by the score of 6-2.

Wednesday it was all AppleSox, all night, as they scored nine runs to defeat the HarbourCats, 9-0.

Coach Brian McRae said that for game three, “we will need to continue to play tight defensively and get on the board early.”

It was, however, the AppleSox who got on the board early, with a run batted in during the first inning and two more in the second.

Through the fifth inning, the scored remained 3-0. It was a three-run sixth inning that deflated the sails of the HarbourCats team.

Courtney product, Andrew McKillican was brought in to start the fifth.

2.0 innings, one hit, two runs, one walk. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Hawaii University pitcher, Colin Ashworth, started the game for the HabourCats going four innings and giving up six hits. McKillican got three innings in relief giving up five hits and four runs before UBC Thunderbirds teammate Claire Eccles made history as the first female to play in West Coast League history.

"It was pretty surreal," said the 19-year-old lefty. "I think the ovation was better than the one I got at the Pan Am Games."

She had support with her too as teammates from Team Canada, the Thunderbirds and Thunderbird media staff were on hand to take in the moment. The appreciative crowd of approximately 1000 gave her a standing ovation when she trotted across the field and out to the mound.

Eccles went two complete innings giving up one hit, two runs and gave up one walk.

Asked about her stats after the game she said, “It was good, but I wish I didn’t walk anyone. It was good to get that first game out of the way.”

Asked if she was nervous, she said, “Not really, I was just happy to get going because of all the media attention tonight before the game.”

The other bright spots for the HabourCats were Po-Hao Huang from Taiwan who went 3/5 at the plate, while Kekai Rios continued his steady batting during this homestand hitting 2/5. He is averaging .391 on the season.

Jake Garella went ½ and pinch hitter Kevin Collard hit a single and ended up getting stranded at third. The HarbourCats ended up stranding 10 batters.

“We just didn’t get those big hits when we needed them,” said Coach Brian McRae. “We left 10 guys stranded. They got on the board early and we didn’t answer.”

The umpire ran into controversy a few times during the game, first when she took command of some sketchy chirping between Rios and catcher and Andrew Gonzalez. Apparently, Rios got a look at some of the catcher’s signals and Gonzalez didn’t like it.

The umpire made two calls against the HarbourCats that elicited tense reactions including calling a foul ball that was out of play but caught by the AppleSox third baseman. The HarbourCats felt it should have been called foul and not out.

In the end, Ferndale, Washington’s Mason Shaw got the win after serving up 6.2 innings of fastballs and change-ups that kept the HarbourCat batters off of their game.

Snoqualmie, Washington’s Evan Johnson, who is attending North Colorado University, got the only tater of the game.

The teams go at it again for three games in a row starting Thursday night in Wenatchee to cap a six-game, home-and-home series between the two teams.

Discussion, here>>

Save on second. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

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