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Late bloomer

Bryce Stiff, Sports editor

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Senior Kyle Salley has been touted as a “tremendous” athlete by Duke University head coach Chris Pollard.

With his commitment to Duke, he joins another respected class produced by Chicago.

Chicago has become a premier city for talent in all sports for the past few years, especially in baseball.

With the rise of the White Sox ACE program, players have been exposed to high end Division I schools and are earning scholarships to play for these universities.
Alumni Bryce Gray, Percy Walters and Tylon Ross all went Division I with this program playing a large role; However, Salley has evolved into a transcendent talent and is looking like one of the biggest recruits to come out of H-F in years.

“I try not to pay attention to the hype,” Salley said. “I know I still have a lot to work on and a lot to prove, but I’m proud to represent my family and the H-F community in a big way.”

Duke is ranked No. 25 on D1Baseball.com’s Preseason Top 25 and No. 9 in National Universities said the U.S. News Best College Rankings.

This type of commitment to such a prime time school hasn’t been seen in a few years for this community. He was also accepted into the university based off of outstanding academic scores.

Academics and community service are indeed very important pieces to the puzzle of his life.

“I want to leave a legacy of someone who was a good person; who impacted my school and community in a positive way,” he said. “I participate in a lot of community service, and I like helping others in any way I can. I want to be remembered as a true student athlete.”

He wants to leave a legacy in the area that hasn’t been touched before, and set an example for future kids that will follow the same footsteps.

“I was so proud of Kyle,” Viking head coach Todd Sippel said of his commitment. “That is a great opportunity to pitch for Duke in the ACC.”

It goes deeper than just hard work and dedication. He made this a lifestyle.

“What prepared me most was the hard work I put in the offseason and during the season,” Salley said. “I worked on my pitching mechanics and the little things I needed to make myself better. I gained 25 pounds over the course of a few months and went from throwing 84 to 92.”

Not getting many looks coming into 2017, he had to level up his game and he did everything he had to do.

“Kyle was so impressive when he came to campus on the visit,” Pollard said. “I really enjoyed the meeting with him and his mom and dad. I knew from our very first meeting that he would really connect with the culture of our program.”

It motivated him and he took up the role of the underdog.

“All I needed was an opportunity,” he said.

His big break came in the fall of 2017 at a tournament in Florida. His performance in front of 30+ MLB scouts and hundreds of college scouts opened a lot of eyes and gained him some looks. But Pollard and his scouting team took notice before the pack.

“We saw Kyle pitch out in Nashville in the early summer and were very impressed with his ‘easy effort’ delivery and high spin rates,” he said.

Although he will most likely be drafted, that is not what he is looking for directly out of high school. This time of his life is where his education matters most to him.

“I may be drafted, but I’m not strongly considering it,” Salley said. “I do want to go to college and get my education to set myself up for life after baseball. I also want to take a few years to learn more and develop.”

These college years will be a key factor in his future with the sport.

You can catch H-F baseball starting March 22 versus Joliet Catholic at home.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Late bloomer”

  1. Elizabeth Jackson on April 5th, 2018 9:37 am

    Have you ever experience an open mind on the game of pitcher, reason being, a movie film, “Homerun”. Dedication to misunderstanding.

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Late bloomer