Turang takes it all in stride

Photo: Perfect Game

Tiffany Seal
Published: Monday, August 7, 2017

No. 1 overall shortstop of the 2018 class, Brice Turang, does not have to travel far for this year’s 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic, as the Corona, California native is just 100 miles from the Classic’s home at San Diego’s Petco Park. Come Aug. 13, Turang will be one of the nation’s top 50 high school seniors transcending on the Padres’ stadium in the 15th annual event televised on MLB Network.

“It’s baseball, playing games are playing games and I am happy to get this opportunity to play with the best players around the country,” said Turang. “I love playing baseball. Playing baseball is everything, so if I am playing, no matter where it is, I am going to have fun doing it.”

And while receiving one of the most prestigious honors in high school baseball would be enough, the icing on the cake is being able to play in front of a hometown crowd, which means enjoying the honors with the ones who he credits getting him to this point.

“I really look up to all my sisters and my dad and mom. They are the ones who taught me everything I know and they are the ones who are going to love me forever, family is everything to me.”

Turang is the youngest of five, with four older sisters who have each experienced success in their own athletic careers. All six have had a hand in helping the No. 1 overall California prospect reach this point.

“My dad used to coach softball, so I grew up at the field,” said Turang. “I just saw how good my sisters were and I wanted to be that good, and I wanted to go to a Division I college like all my sisters. I wanted to be just like them, so I worked hard and got my business done. It’s not over. I am not [satisfied] with where I am at right now because that is not my goal.”

The Turang family could field an all-star team in themselves, with Brice’s father, Brian Turang, playing in the Majors for the Seattle Mariners, while his mother, Carrie, was an outfielder and pitcher for Long Beach State and went to the College World Series.

The athletic achievements do not stop there, as Turang’s oldest sister, Brianna, played in the College World Series three out of her four years at Oklahoma, winning it all her senior year in 2013, while also playing on the Sooner’s soccer club.

His second-oldest sister, Carissa, played softball at Cal State Fullerton before transferring to Oklahoma City University to complete nursing school. Cabria played soccer at Utah, while his youngest sister, Bailee, plays volleyball at Southern Nazarene University.

Turang’s love of baseball came early on, but unlike most of today’s standout high school athletes in an age of early specialization, he started focusing full-time on baseball during his sophomore year in high school.

“I loved playing football,” said Turang, who played both receiver and quarterback. “I played football from when I was in seventh grade to freshman year in high school. I played basketball too and loved playing basketball. My dad never let me play just one sport because he didn’t want me to get burnt out. I love baseball and knew that was my passion, and knew that was the road I was going to go for, even when I started playing football. I knew baseball was the way I was going to go.”

While his dad gave him every opportunity to play what he loved, he was also always there when it came to Turang’s development in baseball.

“There’s really nothing more that I could ask him to do because he has helped me so much in my baseball career,” said Turang about his father, who primarily played outfield for the Mariners. “He knows so much and has been there and done that. And that’s the thing, I haven’t. So I can learn from him whenever I want. I can learn life skills and everything I need to know from that guy, it’s awesome.”

However, there are some things that are hard to teach, the intangibles that most would agree the 2018 shortstop has. His feel for the game, especially his advanced awareness of the strike zone is something special.

“With my at-bats, I just try to stay focused and middle,” said Turang, who struck out just once in 101 at-bats during this high school season for Santiago. “I try to stay through the ball. I can’t control hits I can only control squaring up the ball and crushing it. I’m not going to mess around with my swing because if you think mechanics, you’re going to fail. I just focus on driving [the ball] middle and crushing it, no matter how bad it looks or how good it looks. If I square it up and crush it, I am happy with it.”

Defensively, Turang is a prototype middle infielder, playing both second and short. He credits his range and agility to being a multi-sport athlete throughout his youth.

“I love playing defense,” said Turang. “I love playing short, I think my energy level will keep me there. I keep everything going, I am never down, no matter what happens. If I make an error, I get right back up, if I don’t get a hit, I get right back up, so I think that’s what I am best at. Even on defense, being able to pick people back up and help pitchers out, that’s the best thing and I love doing that.”

His potential five-tool profile caught the eyes of College World Series participant LSU. A visit to the campus and Alex Box was all it took.

“I am not going to go to a school just because I like it,” said Turang. “I fell in love with LSU. The coaches are awesome, it can’t get any better.”

Aside from the atmosphere inside Alex Box and enthusiasm surrounding the program—including the tailgating outside which could rival some schools’ football game day—head coach Paul Mainieri and LSU have some experience in producing top talent up the middle of the Tiger infield.

While Turang agrees it would be nice to follow a similar path of success to some of those players, he is set on staying true to what has made him the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation.

“I don’t like being compared to other players because I am not them. I am Brice Turang. I am going to be my own player. I want to be myself and play like who I am.”

While sticking to staying true to his game on the field, Turang does have role models playing at the next level.

“There are players who I like, my biggest thing is who they are, what kind of person they are and not what kind of player they are. I look up to Daniel Murphy because he’s a strong Christian and that’s me, I am a strong Christian. And he’s a fantastic baseball player. But I look up to him more for what he does off the field.”

The PG All-American Classic will give Turang the opportunity to make an impact off the field as well, through Perfect Game’s partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital.

“It’s awesome that they do that,” said Turang about PG’s relationship with Rady Children’s Hospital. “It shows not only how much they care about other kids who have cancer, but the families, it’s not just helping one kid, but families, and that means a lot.”

Turang already has a connection at Rady’s, as well as an understanding of the impact the Classic has for raising awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research and treatment. Three of his sisters are nurses or in nursing school.

“My sister is a pediatric oncology nurse, she sees what those kids go through. My motto is, ‘play for people who can’t.’ I met a girl, who is not doing very well right now, she’s at the Children’s Hospital, and she’s going to keep fighting and beat it again for the third time. I am excited to meet new kids and talk to them and tell them life is a fight no matter what you do, you have to fight through adversity and keep going.”

And while the PG All-American Classic is one of the unique opportunities to play with some of the top stars of tomorrow’s game, for Turang it is all about enjoying the moment.

“Being able to get this opportunity is awesome, I can’t ask for anything else. The guys are great, the people who run it are great, and do a fantastic job, so I am very excited to play for PG. I am going to have fun out there. [I am looking forward to] playing against some of my friends and meeting new people. That’s the biggest thing is making friendships, I am excited to play with the best players around.”

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