Simon Turner’s baseball journey will continue to Division I Bucknell University after the Shasta senior committed to the Pennsylvania school on Tuesday.
From Little League days at West Redding to club ball with NorCal Prime and high school baseball at Foothill and Shasta, Turner now heads east to pursue a degree in computer science and compete for an outfield spot for the Bison.
“When I was young, I just wanted to have fun, play and win,” Turner said Wednesday. “When you get older and keep developing, you see that playing (at the next level) is possible.
“That’s what I’ve been working for in the last five or six years.”
Committing to the Bison, Turner said, takes a little of the sting from not being able to play his senior season with the Wolves.
“I wanted to play with those guys; we had a team with some potential,” he said.
The 6-2, 210-pound Turner hit .290 for the Wolves as a junior and .333 as a sophomore for Foothill.
He was off to a hot start this season, hitting .438 with six RBI in five games for Shasta.
Turner said he’ll be looked at for an outfield spot at Bucknell, which had nine seniors on the roster.
“They lost a few outfielders and some impact guys,” he said, adding coach Scott Heather made him feel like Bucknell was the right fit. “My conversations with the coach were great.”
Turner’s promise has been on display since his bomb-dropping days of Little League, but he’s kept working and grinding. With school out due to COVID-19 shutdown, he said a typical day is throwing for 90 minutes and then hitting for another 60 to 90 minutes. Depending on the day, he added, he’ll either hit the weights or work on fielding or mechanics.
“For me, working is fun because I love the process; building the swing so it’s consistent,” he said. “I love the thought of getting better and competing at that higher level.
“I have the drive to put that work in.”
Shasta coach Travis Bassham said it’s no surprise Turner is headed to a Division I program.
“He’s one of the most dedicated, drill-oriented, spend-time-after-practice kind of guys I’ve been around,” Bassham said. “And he does all that with a 4.0-plus GPA.”
He pointed to fellow Shasta alumni Dallas Chadwick (Sac State), Wade Gulden (Utah), Aaron Westlake (Vanderbilt) and now Turner as standard-bearers for future ball players coming through the program.
“It takes a pretty special athlete to be a D-I guy,” Bassham said. “He’s got the GPA, the physical size and strength, and true dedication to the sport.
“He’s one of those guys you ask others ‘Do you want to play D-I? Well, emulate them.”
Moving across the country will be challenging, Turner admitted.
“It’s a big thing in growing up,” he said. “It’s hard to leave my family behind; my brother and sister and grandparents are all so close.”
But he said he was excited for the “new chapter.”
And while he’s kept advancing to the next level, Turner said he’s not concerned about anything other than school and baseball.
“I’m going to work hard as I can to be the best player I can, but the degree and education I’ll have at Bucknell are of the highest priority,” he said.
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