MOREHEAD, Ky. — The dream is coming true for Dalton Stambaugh.
The former Highland pitching star was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 30th round of the Major League Baseball draft Wednesday.
“It’s exciting. It’s everything I’ve always worked for and hoped for,” Stambaugh said. “To have it finally happen is a dream come true.”
Stambaugh recently finished his junior season with Morehead State University, going 7-4 with a 3.84 earned-run average for the Eagles. He recorded 104 strikeouts in his 18 appearances, which included 16 starts, and was named first team All-Ohio Valley Conference this year.
The lefty was redshirted his freshman year after absorbing a season-ending injury. And after a tough year as a redshirt freshman, he began finding his stride as a redshirt sophomore. The confidence he got from good outings that year led to bigger and better things his redshirt junior year.
“My sophomore year I started the first half strong, but then I hit a speed bump and didn’t have many good outings for about four weeks. It was a confidence thing. I just needed to understand I was there for a reason. I flipped the switch at the end of the year and it carried into this year,” Stambaugh said. “(Morehead) gave me the opportunity to put in the work needed — to throw and prove myself. After proving myself, I was able to grow. The coaching and guidance really helped me. It was a confidence thing with me.”
Stambaugh also felt the coaching he received while at Highland helped him both on the on mound and off the field.
“I had two really good coaches at Highland — Travis Church and Donny Kline. My first three years were with Travis. He taught me not just to be a good baseball player, but to be a good person and man. They both taught me how to prepare myself for the future,” Stambaugh said.
The Orioles called Stambaugh prior to taking him with the first pick of the 30th round, talking money and a contract. Then, about an hour later, they called back with the news they had drafted him.
Now, he will be completing the paperwork and contract and head off to Sarasota, Florida, where he will pitch in the Gulf Coast League.
“I was excited any professional club was interested in me. I’m not picky. I’m blessed the Orioles took a chance with me,” Stambaugh said.