ST. JOHN | Ryan Burvan was so sure he wouldn't play baseball in college, he's already enrolled as a student at Alabama.
Then came the season that changed his life.
Burvan is hitting .495 for Lake Central. He was .588 in the Duneland Conference season. He set a school record with 50 runs and 54 hits.
He also has 38 RBIs.
Last year, he hit .352 with 11 RBIs.
"We've had Purdue out to see him, UIC out to see him, we're in contact with Central Michigan," Indians coach Jeff Sandor said. "Everyone is just waiting on roster spots because he only decided a month ago he wanted to play in college."
After the hits started coming, Burvan wouldn't deny the chance to continue his career.
"Last year, I was thinking I'd do what I can to enjoy my senior year and have some success," Burvan said. "Now I know I can compete.
"It was just a matter of getting those first few hits. Then I got some confidence behind it."
After those first few hits, the school records started falling.
"It's nice to be a part of something that will hopefully stand for a while," Burvan said.
Burvan already has his name on something that will stand for a while. He scored the only run in Lake Central's 1-0 state championship win last season.
Though the Indians (22-8) are not duplicating their regular-season mark from 2012, they hope to match the trip to Indianapolis.
For a speedster like Burvan, who also hits in the leadoff spot, that means doing what he can to score. He is a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases.
It also means he's willing to sacrifice a hit for someone else to score.
"He doesn't care if he hits .500 or .300," Sandor said. "If we need him to hit a ground ball to the right side so we can move someone around, he'll hit the ball to the right side.
"He's as selfless a teammate as you can get."
Burvan's natural position is at shortstop, which is where he's marketing himself to college teams. But, he's playing second base for the Indians — whose season continues at today's LaPorte Regional against Portage — because he is more multitalented.
"He did a real huge team thing this year staying at second base," Sandor said. "He's probably more recruitable as a shortstop, but we need him there. We're more or less playing to our strengths, and he's doing that for us."
Burvan is happy to make whatever move is necessary. When he entered the season, his future was already decided and he was prepared to enjoy college and a sports management degree in the SEC. Anything else is just extra.
"I'll go wherever I can, as long as anyone needs me," Burvan said. "I'll do whatever my team needs me to do."