Ricardo Lizcano was at a friend's house in Cleveland Sunday, watching a movie and considering that perhaps his dream of playing professional baseball was over.
Four days later, he found himself on the bench in Johnson City, Tenn., ready for his first professional game for the Johnson City Cardinals.
Lizcano, who signed a contract with the club Thursday, is serving as the Cardinals' backup catcher. Johnson City is a rookie league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, a team Lizcano followed growing up.
"I was more choked up than anything," Lizcano said after getting an offer from Cardinals' scout Brian Hopkins. "I don't even know how to feel. I still don't."
The 2012 Heidelberg graduate set program records for career homers (34), total bases (435) and walks (111), played just about everywhere for HU, but will be moved behind the plate by the Cards. His college coach, Matt Palm, experimented with putting the slugger behind the plate, but opted to play him primarily in the outfield.
Lizcano played a handful of games behind the plate for HU.
Palm said Lizcano was focusing on catching after graduation, since that was where the Cardinals had talked about playing him.
Lizcano is Palm's first player to sign a pro deal.
"It was a feeling of satisfaction and excitement I had for him," Palm said. "He's the best position player we've had in my 13 years here."
Lizcano, who hit eight homers, drove in 48 runs and hit .346 this past season, will have to get used to being a reserve. He started only 24 games his freshman year, but has been a fixture in the HU lineups since.
"Definitely new for me to be sitting," Lizcano said. "I'm playing professional baseball. All I can do is learn from here on out."
Palm said the type of pitching Lizcano will face in the pros shouldn't be entirely foreign to him.
"He's faced (it) in Division III, but not on a daily basis," Palm said, referencing Marietta pitcher Austin Blaski, a Pandora-Gilboa graduate who was drafted by the Brewers this year.
Lizcano was interviewed less than two hours before his first pro game, so he didn't have much time to enjoy the moment. Still, he said signing a contract was big not only for him, but for those at Heidelberg and elsewhere who believed in him.
"I feel like I made them proud," he said. "Not just Heidelberg, but everyone that's been with me. I thank them. I've had a lot of people doubt me, but everything worked out.
"It's a dream come true."
There's another benefit. Lizcano, whose favorite Major League player was Albert Pujols, already has plenty of Cardinals gear, despite Pujols recent defection from St. Louis to Anaheim.
Palm isn't so lucky.
"This is gonna cost me money," He said. "I'm gonna have to buy some Cardinals' gear."