ABCCL’s Hunter Courson Brings the Spirit of Play for James to Pro Baseball

Oct 03 2017 ABCCL League News | Comments Off on ABCCL’s Hunter Courson Brings the Spirit of Play for James to Pro Baseball

Hunter during his playing career at Sam Houston State University.

Hunter Courson was a two-time ABCCL All-Star who was first recommended to the League in 2014 by Coach David Pierce of Sam Houston State University (now Head Coach at the University of Texas)  where Hunter was a student at the time.  In 2015 Hunter rejoined the Monmouth Monarchs coached by James Koehler. James and Hunter shared a passion for baseball that grew into a friendship and in turn became a relationship that both young men described as a brotherhood.

With James’ passing, it was Hunter who created the hash tag ”#play for James,” which he announced to friends and followers on his own social media networks and which then quickly became a rallying cry for many of the players James coached and shared the field with over the years. It also became the name of the charitable Play for James Foundation ( created in James’ honor.

At the 2015 ABCCL All-Star Game, Hunter was selected as the game’s MVP. Here he’s accepting the commemorative trophy bat, presented by Ken Ianelli, father of Captain Ryan Ianelli in whose honor the annual event is named.


In July 2017, after graduation from St. Edward’s University in his native Texas, Hunter was brought to the attention of Kash Beauchamp, a veteran player, coach, scout and baseball executive who more than a decade earlier had signed James to his first pro contract. At Beauchamp’s request, Hunter attended a free agent tryout camp in Florida. There, showcasing his skills among over 100 other hopefuls, Hunter grabbed the attention of several teams and at the camp’s conclusion received three contract offers!

Before every game, Hunter adds his friend’s initial and a cross to a piece of equipment, like this wristband, that he’ll use on the field.

In a parallel to James’ career, Hunter picked the highly competitive Double A  American Association to begin his pro career, signing with that league’s Cleburne Railroaders on July 11.

On July 12, less than 24 hours after signing, Hunter was in the Railroader’s starting lineup and recorded his first hit, a hard single to center. Then, on July 13, he slammed his first professional homerun over the left field wall.

While he’s only beginning his baseball journey and the final outcome is unpredictable, one thing is certain: Hunter will always have James with him. On the ball field he continues to Play for James, honoring his friend and brother by placing his initials on a wrist band, batting glove or helmet. More important, in every aspect of his promising life, Hunter carries James with him in his heart.