By Greg Klein
---- — Cooperstown graduate Phil Pohl will begin his first full season in minor league baseball in a place called Pohlman Field.
Pohl has been assigned to the Beloit (Wis.) Snappers of the Class A Midwest League.
Pohl has started the season as the backup catcher to Bruce Maxwell. He did not play in the Snappers opener on April 4, a 9-7 loss to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He has played twice since then. In the Snappers’ April 5 loss to the Kernels, Pohl went 0-for-4 at the plate.
Pohl played again and got his first hits of the season in an April 8 loss to Peoria. He went 2-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Beloit started the season at Cedar Rapids and Peoria before playing a home opener on April 14 against Burlington (Iowa).
Pohl, a 2008 Cooperstown graduate, went through his first spring training with the Oakland Athletics. Pohl was drafted in June 2012, in the 28th round by Oakland after four years at Clemson.
After being drafted, Pohl played three games for the Vermont Lake Monsters in the Class A New York-Penn League, and then 32 games for the Arizona Athletics of the Arizona Rookie League. He batted .292 in those 35 games with 35 hits, 24 runs, three home runs and 18 RBI in 120 at bats. He was the catcher selected to the A’s 2012 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team by the website A’s Farm.
Beloit, which is on the Wisconsin-Illinois border, and about 100 miles from Chicago, is the only Class A affiliate of the A’s that plays in the spring. Beloit plays in the Western Division of the league. The closest Eastern Division teams to New York are in Ohio.
The New York-Penn League begins play in mid-June. It is possible that Pohl will be moved to Vermont when it opens its season, according to several sources, allowing his friends and family to be able to take in many of his games this summer. The NYP has upstate New York teams in Auburn, Batavia, Troy and Wappingers Falls, plus New York City teams in Staten Island and Coney Island and many teams in Pennsylvania.
Pohl’s hometown got him some attention from an astute A’s beat writer this spring.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle spotted Pohl the first time he was called to the major league camp to catch batting practice before an exhibition game. Shea wrote: “Most players dream of going from the big leagues to Cooperstown. Pohl dreams of going from Cooperstown to the big leagues.”
“Having the opportunity to grow up and play high school baseball in Cooperstown, it’s pretty much a dream,” Pohl said in the article. “When people ask where I’m from and I tell them, they light up. I’m proud to say I’m from Cooperstown. It’s the mecca of baseball.”