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January 3, 2013

Cooperstown graduate making it on the diamond

Phil Pohl shares his ups and downs along the way

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“My mom and dad were very big on education ... They really wanted me to go to college and pursue my education,” he explained.

Pohl was on his senior trip when he received a call telling him he was selected in the 44th round of the amateur draft.

“It was not like it was a first-round thing where there was a lot of interest invested in me. And I had the chance to go play for Clemson, which is one of the best Division I baseball programs in the country. I laid out my options and decided I could still play baseball and go get an education.”

Pohl graduated with a business management degree.

College was anything but fun and games for the aspiring athlete. In fact, he struggled on the field, something he really had not done before.

“I thought I would go to college and run the show, but I was hit in the face with a rude awakening,” Pohl said. “I had never struggled on the baseball field before and started to doubt myself. I wasn’t going to give up, though.”

Pohl said he did think about transferring to a smaller college, but thought he owed it to Clemson to stay since he was given a scholarship. During his sophomore year Pohl had to deal with the setback of a freshman getting the starting catching position instead of him.

“I was not having a bad day; I was having two bad years in a row,” Pohl said.

According to Pohl, his mother said something that helped turn things around.

“She said, honey — she always called me honey — you are there for a reason and you have to believe in yourself,” Pohl said.

The young athlete said he realized he hadn’t really had much faith in himself and needed to do so.

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