Alex Ryan signs

Lakeside Lutheran senior Alex Ryan signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, on Wednesday. Pictured here on the bottom row: Christine (mother), Alex and Olivia (sister). In the back row, Jeff (father), Phil Dretske (baseball coach) and Todd Jahns (athletic director).

LAKE MILLS — Alex Ryan remembers sitting in the back yard as a child begging his dad to play baseball.

The Lakeside Lutheran senior signed a national letter of intent Wednesday in the East Gym at Lakeside Lutheran High School to play baseball at Valparaiso University beginning in the fall.

“Picking up a bat just always felt natural, I guess,” Ryan said. “Tee ball, I loved it. I never wanted to go home. My dad and I would play catch in the back yard and I would sit on the ground and basically cry for a half an hour until he would come play catch with me more.

“That was really fun and all the support from my family has been great.”

Ryan intends to pursue a degree in business management. He caught the attention of the Valparaiso coaching staff at a Futures Game before his junior school year in Indianapolis.

“Their baseball program is up and coming and just moved to the Missouri Valley Conference, so they’re getting better facilities and upgrading everything,” said Ryan, who is originally from Lake Mills. “They have a bright future and I look forward to the possibility of playing there, winning championships and enjoying my time there.”

Ryan was a first-team all-Capitol North outfielder as a sophomore and a junior. Though he caught the attention of Valparaiso as an outfielder and as a batter, he pitched the Warriors into the WIAA Division 3 sectionals in 2019.

Ryan was in the presence of at least two dozen fellow Lakeside Lutheran students as he signed his LOI.

“It was important to have a lot of my friends and family here with me because they were there during all the years of hard work,” Ryan said. “They were always there for me and I really wanted to have all of them there for me. It meant a lot for them to be there with me today.”

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