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December 27, 2012

Small-townies grew up to do big things

(Continued)

As a young athlete, Pohl was drafted by the Tampa Rays out of high school, but denied the offer. Instead, he has spent the last four years playing Division I baseball for Clemson University and was drafted in June in the 28th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft by the Oakland Athletics.

Why did he turn down the offer? He said it was not the way he was raised.

“Education was always viewed as very important in my house when growing up,” he said. “It was not like it was a first-round thing. I had the opportunity to play for Clemson and still get an education.”

The ballplayer, who picked up his first baseball at the age of 4, said his first really difficult challenge was moving to Cooperstown. Pohl said he did not want to leave his home and friends back in Bakersfield, Calif.

“I was 10 when my parents told me we would be moving. I was devastated of the thought of having to start over,” Pohl said while speaking to an auditorium full of middle and high school students. 

Pohl said he is now proud to say he is from Cooperstown – known to be the home and mecca of America’s pastime.

“I was 13 when I really sat down and decided I wanted to be something more than an average high school athlete,” Pohl said.

Pohl said he was never anything out of the ordinary — just somebody with a dream who went for it.

“I was never the biggest or the fastest, so I always had to outwork my opponents,” he said.

The high school standout did admit that he thought he would go to college and “run the show” to speak, but was hit with a rude awakening. He began to struggle.

“I had never struggled on the baseball field before and started to doubt myself. I wasn’t going to give up, though.”

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