Class of '18: No. 7 Santiago (Corona, Calif.) shortstop Brice Turang

Photo: Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY Sports

Class of '18: No. 7 Santiago (Corona, Calif.) shortstop Brice Turang

The Class of 18

Class of '18: No. 7 Santiago (Corona, Calif.) shortstop Brice Turang

USA TODAY High School Sports is publishing a series called “The Class of 18,” highlighting 18 members of the Class of 2018 whom we will be watching in the coming year. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff. 

ATHLETE PROFILE:
Name: Brice Turang
School: Santiago (Corona, Calif.)
Sport: Baseball
Position: Shortstop
College: Committed to LSU

MORE CLASS OF ’18: See all the athlete profiles here

Watching his son play Redskins punter Tress Way in pingpong, former major league outfielder Brian Turang marvels not at his son’s evident athletic ability, but in his competitiveness.

“Anything that kid does, it becomes a competition,” said Brian Turang. “Tress and Brice are always playing pingpong and it’s hard core. That’s just a natural thing here everyday.”

It would have been odd for Brice not to become an athlete. Besides his father, mother Carrie played in two softball College World Series at Long Beach State, and Brice has four sisters who played college sports. His oldest sister Brianna, the wife of Way, played in three softball College World Series at Oklahoma and also played for the Sooners’ soccer team. His second-oldest sister, Carissa, played soccer and softball at Oklahoma City University. Another sister, Cabria, played soccer at Utah and Bailee, who is just two years older than Brice, is a sophomore volleyball player at Southern Nazarene.

Turang’s mother and father were so busy coaching his sisters, he grew up hanging around their practices.

“Our whole family are athletes,” Brice said. “I had a choice whether I wanted to play, they didn’t force me, but I love the game, so that’s why I’m playing. We all hate losing in our family, but I like to say I’m the most competitive because I can’t let my little cousins win. Especially since I was younger, I always trying to compete with my sisters, so it carried me to where I am now.”

Turang, one of only two juniors on the American Family Insurance ALL-USA baseball Second Team this past season, got a lot of attention for only striking out once in 101 at-bats last season. But his ability to put a barrel on the bat is what is attracting pro scouts, who see him as a likely first-round draft choice next year. He hit .465 with a .526 on-base percentage and while he could play several positions, he has come into his own as a shortstop.

He made USA Baseball’s U18 team last summer and helped the team win a gold medal at the COPABE Pan Am “AAA” Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. He’s been invited to this year’s U18 Team Trials that start Saturday in Minneapolis.

“You always learn something when you’re playing with older guys,” Turang said of making the U18 team last year. “It definitely helped me and I made a lot of friendships others a lot of people don’t get to make. I’m not a nervous guy, but I’m very excited (about the trials). I’m not going to take it easy because I made the team last year.”

His father, who was drafted in the 51st round and played two seasons for the Seattle Mariners, said people err when they say his son’s genetics have led to his success. Brian helps run the Turnin 2 Baseball/Softball Training Center in Corona and Brice’s second home is the facility’s indoor batting cage.

“A lot of people discount his work ethic,” Brian said. “He’s in the cage every day. He’s also making sure he’s working his core and on his speed. People don’t see what he does behind the scenes. If you don’t work hard, in this day and age, you won’t make it.”

Brice said he spends five or six days a week in the batting cage during the offseason.

“I just get my work done, so it depends on how I feel,” he said. “If you don’t put in the work, you’re not going to be able to do what you want to do. I’m always in the cage, it’s all about hand-eye coordination and timing. Everybody tweaks something in their swing. You never have the perfect swing. If it was all from my dad and my mom, I wouldn’t have to work for it. People just see what you do on the field, not all the work you do off the field.”

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