After a banner senior season on the mound for the Westminster Owls this spring, hard throwing left-hander Chris Archambault figured he might just as well carry his fortunes into the summer.
Going into his final year, Archambault had a pretty good idea he would be a big part of the Owls' pitching staff after they lost a number of key starters.
After winning a county-high seven games to lead the Owls to a county championship, Archambault, The Baltimore Sun's Player of the Year in Carroll County, had an opportunity to showcase his talents in a number of all-star games this summer.
Sunday, Archambault capped off his summer when he got to pitch in the Crown High School All-Star Game at Camden Yards. In two innings of work, he allowed one run on one hit with four strikeouts to help lead the North to a 12-5 win over the South and earn the team's Most Valuable Pitcher award.
"You get out there and it looks like a regular field and then you look up in the stands and they just keep going up," Archambault said.
"You look over at the shortstop position and realize Cal Ripken was just standing over there a half-an-hour before. It was pretty exciting."
It wasn't the first time the 17-year-old Westminster resident was a most valuable pitcher for an all-star team this summer.
Shortly after the end of the high school season, he was one of the top 80 players in the state to participate in the Maryland State Association's Baseball Coaches Classic. He pitched three scoreless innings, striking out four, to earn the top pitcher award and with it gained a spot on Team Maryland, which played in a tournament in Oklahoma.
After not knowing whether he would play at the college level, Archambault has earned a partial scholarship to pitch at UMBC. He is looking forward to the challenge.
"A lot has changed. Going into this past season, I hadn't played a whole lot and didn't really know what to expect," he said. "I met three or four friends from the Team Maryland team who are going to UMBC and [fellow Westminster grad] Todd Dorsey is going there too so I'm really looking forward to it. We have a pretty good freshman class coming in."
Archambault began playing baseball when he was five, but didn't begin to pitch until he played Babe Ruth ball at the age of 13. He said the coach saw he was left-handed and immediately put him on the mound and he's been there since.
Sunday was an exciting day for Archambault. He trotted along the first-base line as Rex Barney announced his name to the sellout crowd. He shook hands with Orioles outfielder Mike Devereaux, who gave each player a black bat with the player's name engraved in gold. He then tipped his hat and took a moment to stop and dream.
"Every little kid has a dream about playing in the majors," he said. "Being there Sunday made you believe. Every goal gets me that much closer. I didn't think I'd be playing college ball, now I'm there."