Kamloops, BC—Ever since he was in grade three, Eric Turner told his mother he wanted to be a baseball player. Turner has taken another step in that evolution.
The 6’3” soon-to-be graduate of Grande Prairie Composite High School has become the first committed recruit of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack baseball team for 2017-18.
Turner played last season in the Baseball Alberta NorthWest Midget “AAA” league for the Northern Lights Baseball Academy “Lights”. He plays the outfield, third base and pitches.
“TRU was recommended to me by one of my councilors (former University College of the Cariboo Soccer/Basketball player Travis Duncan). “ Turner said. “ I also lived in Fort McMurray growing up and remembered current WolfPack players Tyler Hodder and Joe Iannetti.”
Turner will taking courses aimed at earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Thompson Rivers University.
“Thompson Rivers University was a very attractive school academically, ‘he says. “They offered all the courses I wanted and the minors and majors that I wish to pursue. Kamloops is a very beautiful city. I have visited there in the past and really enjoyed it.”
He was looking at the University of Calgary, UBC and junior colleges in the United States before deciding on TRU.
Turner believes his main strengths are his versatility, strong defense and power at the plate. He believes he will need to improve his control and mix of speeds as a pitcher along with developing his approach at the plate in order to be successful at the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference level.
WolfPack head coach Ray Chadwick sees Turner playing both first and third base when he comes to TRU. Turner comes with a good pedigree. “He is the product of the Baseball Factory, a high level baseball academy that has competed the last few years against our TRU players from Fort McMurray during the summer. They have also had success at the provincial level as well. “
Turner’s coach full time the last two years is Bryan Casey. But he has worked with him at baseball camps in Northern Alberta the last six or seven years. “Eric has a true passion and love for the game,” he says. “We are expecting him to be a big part of our success this coming summer, he is one of the team leaders and most importantly wants that responsibility. Last season was an up and down year for him but I do believe he has worked hard this off-season and I believe he is ready to surprise some people throughout the league. As far as meeting expectations, I expect a lot of my players and I think Eric strives to better himself everyday he steps on the field. The road to this point has not been easy for Eric and he has come a long way, he has learned how to become a better teammate and he has learned how to become a more coachable ball player over the years. I believe if he continues to work hard and be coachable his ceiling on the baseball field is very high.”
Casey adds: “To compete at the next level Eric needs to continue to grow as a ball player/teammate/young man, remember that he has no room for complacency and stay positive. Eric has the physical strength, make up, and ability to continue on to the next level if he can control emotions and continue to grow with the mental aspects of the game. The WolfPack is gaining a good student athlete with Eric. His best day’s on the ball field are still to come and I am looking forward to this summer with him and following his progress at the next level. “
PITCH OUTS: Turner won the Baseball Factory Recruiting Classic in 2015 and the Pirate City College Prep camp in 2016. As the lone Canadian, he was clocked at 89 MPH velocity. He has played in the Alberta and Western Canadian baseball championships as well as the Alberta Summer Games. He is also a multi-sport athlete excelling in volleyball: “I have played provincial level volleyball, Alberta Winter Games, won a gold medal at the Arctic Winter Games for men’s volleyball and a silver Provincial volleyball medal.”
He added: “During grade 11 and 12 in high school, I was the captain of my team. I received the coaches’ award in volleyball from 2014-16: the first three time winner in school history.”
Turner was also the volleyball team’s most improved player in 2014.