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Taylor brothers find a new baseball home

Arizona Christian welcomes talented duo from Forest Lake
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Correspondent
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Ryan and Luke Taylor found themselves in transition last year when Bethany University announced that its baseball program was folding. So it only seems fitting that the brothers who once played side-by-side for Forest Lake Christian School’s infield are at another school going through a transitional period — in the opposite direction. The Taylors are now playing for Arizona Christian University, formerly known as Southwestern College. In fact, the NAIA Division I school’s name and sports nickname — the Firestorm — are so new that Arizona Christian’s roster and player statistics must be found on Southwestern’s old website. When the school decided to change names, it decided to add a baseball program as well. The prospect of playing for a brand-new program was part of what attracted the Taylor brothers to the school. “When we heard about it, we thought, why not be part of a new thing?” Ryan said. The brothers also chose to attend ACU because their coach from Bethany, Thad Bosley, to Arizona Christian, was originally hired as the school’s first head coach. Bosley left before the season started when the Texas Rangers lured him away to become their hitting coach. “He couldn’t pass that offer up,” Ryan said. Going to Arizona was a homecoming for the Taylors. The two spent over a decade there before moving around the country because their dad changed jobs, and they eventually landed in Auburn when Ryan was a senior in high school and Luke was a junior. Like most first-year teams, Arizona Christian has struggled on the field, going 14-30 overall. Still, the Taylors feel they chose the right school. “It’s nice in some ways to be a part of something new,” Luke said. “You’re setting a foundation.” Although neither Ryan nor Luke nailed down a full-time starting position – no Firestorm player did, according to Ryan – both saw plenty of action, appearing in at least 30 games apiece. The brothers put up similar numbers, too. Luke, who plays second base, has one more hit, RBI, and stolen base and three more runs scored than Ryan does. However, Ryan is the only one of the brothers who has a home run this season. Off the field, the Taylors are both business administration majors with 3.8 grade-point averages. If they don’t get the opportunity to pursue pro baseball careers, the two eventually hope to go into business together, perhaps in the health and fitness industry, Ryan said. Going pro, however, is the brothers’ immediate goal, according to Luke. The Taylors have rarely been apart on the diamond in the past 12 years, but they recognize the possibility that they could get drafted by different major league teams. “We’d definitely miss each other because we’ve been playing together for so long,” Ryan said. “We both understand each other’s style and we know what to expect. It would be interesting to play each other because we’re both really competitive.” For now, though, the Taylors expect to enjoy two more seasons as teammates. “It’s not like we’ve told schools that if you (sign) one, you’ve got to have both,” Luke said. “It’s just kind of worked out that way.”