Seniors and culture guide Lopes to another successful season
By: Garrett Osterode/GCU Staff
A season built upon the promise of last year’s national runner-up finish ended with many questions left unanswered.
The Grand Canyon University Club Baseball team came into the 2019-20 season with expectations that had their eyes solely set on Holly Springs, North Carolina and the National Club Baseball Association Division I World Series.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the team did not get to live out their potential and ended their season, especially the last two conference series, much earlier than anticipated. In many ways, though, the games taken away may not be their biggest loss, but the loss of the Lopes’ two seniors, infielder Taylor Brooks and outfielder Reid Magnaghi, could prove much more significant.
“This year, these [seniors] were on our leadership team,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Rich Warnol. “They had impact on the other players – on and off the field – and were major factors to our two World Series appearances.”
Both Brooks and Magnaghi transferred to GCU after a year playing junior college ball at Walla Walla Community College in Walla Walla, Washington. Brooks, the steady leadoff man, led the team with a .471 batting average in NCBA play this season. Magnaghi, on the other hand, had a team-high 10 hits and three doubles.
“These two guys had an awesome two-plus years with our program,” said Warnol. “This will be a different team without them next year.”
Despite the shortcomings of the season, the Lopes did see an early highlight at the inaugural Canyon Club Classic a preseason tournament in November. GCU hosted a field of 12 teams, including the likes of Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University among others. The Lopes walked away from the three-day weekend series claiming the trophy in the tournament’s inaugural year.
“It was satisfying for our guys in many ways,” said Warnol. “We proved that we were still a force in the NCBA – especially within the state of Arizona.”
There are countless on-field highlights that can be taken away from this season, but it was the culture built off the field that was significant to Warnol and Lopes’ Team 2 Head Coach Kim Carpenter.
“We pride ourselves on having a great team culture and adding Kim to the mix this year only amplified things,” said Warnol. “It isn’t about only excelling on the diamond, but about excelling in life and that is what we are trying to build.”
With all but two players anticipated to return for the Lopes, the 2020-21 season looks to bring the same type of excitement and intrigue, with sights set upon the NCBA World Series once again.
Want to become a Lope on the diamond? Visit the team page to learn more!