Before she was the second overall selection in the 2012 National Professional Fastpitch draft, Kimi Pohlman was a student at Bear Creek School in Redmond and standout for the Eastlake fastpitch team as a senior.
Pohlman went on to have a stellar University of Washington, with too many team, conference and national honors to list here, including starring for the program’s World Series winning team in 2009.
After recently signing with the Chicago Bandits a year after being drafted, Pohlman took some time with the Reporter to talk about her future in the game, softball in Sammamish and the next generation on the diamond.
ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER: How did the Sammamish community and Eastlake’s program help you grow as a softball player and foster the environment a young athlete needed?
KIMI POHLMAN: I started my career in Little League and have a ton of great memories. I only played one year of high school softball as a senior. To go from playing Little League with all those kids and then leaving for a private school and just playing select, that year everyone was unbelievably accepting and welcoming. They didn’t have to do that and the community on the Plateau has been incredible.
REPORTER: You had an amazing career at UW. What memory stands above the rest?
POHLMAN: Definitely winning a National Championship. That was an experience unlike anything other. We had such a great team and a great program.
REPORTER: You were drafted in 2012, but only signed this month. What was the last year like and what led to the delay?
POHLMAN: I was drafted during the middle of my senior year. For a long time I thought I as going to go play. I had offers from the national team and turned those down because I thought I was going to be playing. For personal reasons I decided to stay home and then they weren’t really an issue now. I just really miss the game and the contacts from Chicago still had my rights and they were incredible with offering me another opportunity. I miss the competition and am very grateful they still wanted to offer me a position.
REPORTER: What have your former teammates who are now professionals told you about the experience?
POHLMAN: Four of my teammates at UW are still playing in the same league on the Florida team. It will be a little weird when we play them. They love it and it is great to see there is a professional avenue for this sport. People are trying to grow our sport and get it back in the Olympics and give young girls that chance. It is really cool just to be a really smart part.
REPORTER: How long do you anticipate playing?
POHLMAN: This past year I had the opportunity to work with a handful of players and I really loved that. I know if I want to be a good coach and good mentor, I need to learn more. That is something I’m looking forward to. I have no idea how long I will play. If it’s a year, it’s a year and if it’s five, it’s five, but I’m excited to learn more about the game. I think it is a huge opportunity for me to learn and continue to grow and see where it takes me.
REPORTER: What do you expect when you join the team and get on the field?
POHLMAN: I will be competing against some of the best players in the world every day. I just need to know my role and contribute however I can and however Chicago wants to use me. Training has been intense so far. We have been in there every day doing what we can to get where we need to be. Who knows once I get there…I have no expectations except to go and work hard.
REPORTER: As a coach, what is your message to young female athletes?
POHLMAN: You have to work hard and have a purpose every time you step on the field or in the cage. What are you working for? What are your goals? It’s all about a good attitude and hard work. If you do that, you will be successful. I just finished working with Eastlake’s winter program and am really involved with the team. It’s a great program and I have nothing but amazing things to say. I really preach being intentional and having a purpose.