Like the shortest distance between two points, straight, as in straight A's, is how one might describe T.J. Laurisch's grades.
Not many students have the opportunity to decide whether to go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Harvard. Laurisch chose Harvard, and the Mount Carmel pitcher will study chemical engineering at the Ivy League school.
Laurisch was recently named to the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association's Class 4A all-state team and won the Lawless Award, which is given to the top senior in the Catholic League.
His next challenge may be to learn Spanish, because he is fluent in Greek and Latin.
"I thought about taking Spanish, and it would be nice to learn another language," Laurisch said. "I don't know what I will minor in."
Laurisch is Greek on his mother's side and learned the language by going to Greek school. His maternal grandmother taught the language, and he studied it. He also decided to learn Latin, because he figured he would need it if he went into the medical profession.
The valedictorian got a perfect math score on his ACT and had a 5.09 GPA.
His toughest choice was where he would go to school.
"I kept weighing my options, and both schools are excellent," Laurisch said. "I felt Harvard would be best for me, and I am certainly excited to play baseball at the Division I level. Actually, I am very fortunate to have the opportunity."
On the field, Laurisch finished with a 10-3 record and 2.30 ERA. He batted .377 and has played multiple positions, something coach Brian Hurry said is typical of Laurisch's leadership abilities.
"Outfield, infield, on the mound, T.J. has been willing to do whatever it takes to help the team," Hurry said. "We preach the team first mentality, and he is proof of that."
The Caravan's season ended Saturday with a 9-1 loss to Lyons Township.
Laurisch said it was important for he and his senior classmates to step it up as Mount Carmel lost three Division I players in Times Player of the Year John Kravetz (Illinois), Times Male Athlete of the Year Chris Sujka (Indiana) and Jeff Boehm (Kentucky).
"As seniors, it is our turn to lead and get the job done," Laurisch said. "All of our seniors and the younger players all stepped up all year."