For immediate release
December 16, 2016
Hunter James bound for University of Northwestern Ohio
iCASE versatile shortstop and pitcher may play both in college
Stratford, ON – With the tenacity of last-minute Holiday shoppers plucking Hatchimal Pengualas or Sky Viper Nano Drones off the shelves, a second US college in the same week has signed another iCASE Baseball Academy player, as Hunter James has inked a letter of intent to play college baseball on a scholarship at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
UNOH, where James will pursue a degree in Sport Management, is located on the western edge of Ohio in Lima, approximately 200 km south of Detroit, Michigan. It is four-year school whose athletic teams are called the Racers, and whose baseball team beat out the University of British Columbia last year in pursuit of the NAIA National Championship.
James won’t be the first Stratford product to don the Racers uniform, as Ben Ehgoetz, who has coached James in the past, is not only an alumnus of UNOH, but the former left-handed pitcher was also the captain of the team.
James, a versatile left-handed hitting and right handed throwing Stratford Northwestern Secondary School 12th grader, who plays both shortstop and pitcher for the International Canadian Academy of Sports Excellence (iCASE), as well as for Mud Grasby’s Stratford Midgets, will be given a chance to play both positions for UNOH, but will likely funnel down into one or the other as he advances.
“Hunter is a natural multi-sport athlete who is good at everything he plays, and he has an edge whereby he sometimes just refuses to lose and will do whatever it takes to keep his team in the game,” rhapsodized iCASE head coach Tom Valcke.
“His physical maturation has a high ceiling, he is a free swinger who uses all fields, and who can slap an infield chopper to the left side and beat it out just as easily as he can yank a double into the right field gap. He has amazing range at shortstop and seems to invent necessitated contortions that enable him to throw runners out by a hair. That being said, my crystal ball predicts that he will eventually find his place on the mound, as he has a loose arm that has a chance to make him an effective and durable starting pitcher if he can stay injury-free and puts in the work to keep pace with his competition.”
James comes by his athleticism honestly, as his mother Lauri played volleyball at the University of Georgia, and his father Rob, who is currently the Athletic Director of Stratford Northwestern, played basketball at the University of Windsor. The gene pool continued into the next generation, as Hunter’s older brother Garrett was drafted into the Ontario Hockey League and played for Team Canada at the Youth Olympics, while his younger sister Tatum, a tenth grader, recently signed a letter of intent to play hockey at Providence College.
James pitched the gold medal victory for Derek Farr’s Stratford Northwestern Huskies as they won their first Huron-Perth baseball title in October, qualifying for WOSSAA and a chance to earn a berth in OFSAA next Spring. He was also the starting pitcher in the gold medal game on Labour Day Weekend as the Stratford Midgets captured their fifth consecutive provincial title, and chipped in with a double in the 7-5 victory.
James threw 29 innings this Fall for iCASE and Northwestern, chalking up three victories and a save, with an Earned Run Average of 3.52, striking out 20 while giving up 22 hits and walking nine batters.
iCASE teammate Joey Hagen signed a letter of intent earlier this week to Dawson Community College in Montana. James’ signing makes him the 14th iCASE graduate to go on to collegiate baseball in the program’s four-year partnership with Stratford Northwestern Secondary School and the Avon Maitland District School Board.