The Northwoods League has become a summer destination for players from power five conferences.
Three players from Duke University are currently donning Kalamazoo Growlers uniforms.
"A coach of mine recommended the league," third baseman Luke Storm said. "It is the best opportunity for me to get a bunch of at-bats and I have been playing every game."
Storm is a freshman with the Blue Devils and while he didn't get playing time in Durham in the spring, he's currently leading the Growlers in runs batted in.
Damon Lux, another Duke player, played in the NWL two years ago with the Bismark Larks.
"Do the same thing," Lux said about what he was hoping for this time around. "Just get a lot of reps, play in front of crowds that love their team, so I just wanted to come back here in any capacity, really."
A third Blue Devil, pitcher Kyle Salley, started the summer on a temp in the MLB Draft League.
When his time was up there, he knew what to do.
"I actually texted Luke Storm and Damon Lux to ask them what they thought about it," Salley said about playing in Kalamazoo. "I ended up coming here."
Salley is from Illinois, Lux from Indiana, Storm from Pennsylvania and all three are far from school.
It helps to jump into an adventure such as summer collegiate baseball with a couple of familiar faces.
"That was something I was definitely looking for," Salley said. "After a few days you end up becoming best friends with everybody, but it's good to have guys like Luke and Damon that immediately I knew and could talk to."
"It definitely eases the process of meeting the rest of the guys because you already have a background of a couple guys that you know from school ball around you," Lux added. "It definitely makes that process a lot simpler."
"It is definitely nice having those guys around to get to go through the same things together that we are all going through," Storm said. "I think it is great and I think it will be a lasting memory."
All three will hope to help Duke build off a 13-2 finish to the 2021 season and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances when they get back to campus.
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