A lifelong journey for Valpo's longtime ace came to a climax Saturday.
The Detroit Tigers selected Dalton Lundeen (Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood) in the 30th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
"Honestly, it's a dream come true. I'm on cloud nine. If four years ago you would've said I was going to be drafted, I probably would've laughed," Lundeen said.
Lundeen departed Valparaiso as a perennial workhorse atop the Crusader rotation for the past three seasons. He was named Horizon League Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2014 after posting a league-best 1.94 earned run average. Lundeen won at least five games each of his four seasons with the Brown and Gold, including seven victories this past campaign.
"I'm extremely happy for him. With the adversity he faced in his time here, to see Dalton get rewarded is awesome. It's just awesome," head coach Brian Schmack said.
Lundeen recorded career podium finishes in all three major pitching categories. His 347 1/3 innings pitched are a program record. His 22 wins tied him with John Grippi for the third-most in Valpo baseball history. Lundeen's 275 strikeouts also rank third in the program's long-standing tradition of pitching excellence.
Valpo advanced to the 2013 NCAA Regionals thanks in large part to Lundeen's eight-inning masterpiece in the Horizon League Championship-clinching contest versus Wright State. As a freshmen, he spotted the Raiders two hits while punching out six batters before handing the torch over to Karch Kowalczyk, who worked a perfect ninth inning in the Crusaders' 3-0 triumph over WSU.
From that point forward, Lundeen took the ball on Fridays and served as staff ace. Twice he was elected First Team All-Horizon League. This past season, he logged a career-high 98 innings while helping the Crusaders to just their seventh 30-win season in program history.
Lundeen represents Valpo's seventh MLB draft selection in the past seven years. The Chicago White Sox tabbed Drew Hasler in 2015, a season after the Los Angeles Dodgers selected Karch Kowalczyk. The Minnesota Twins chose Tanner Vavra with their 30th round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. Kyle Gaedele (2011, San Diego Padres), Bo McClendon (2010, Detroit Tigers), Bryce Shafer (2010, Chicago Cubs), and Dallas Cawiezell (2007, Cleveland Indians) have also been selected since Schmack has been on staff at Valparaiso.