Why Abbey Pochie Chose DePaul University
Abbey Pochie, a 2022 high school graduate and incoming DePaul University freshman, is currently gearing up for her collegiate playing career with the Blue Demons.
Pochie, who pitched in travel ball for Sparks Premier 18U Tholl, was a top recruit in her class.
She caught up with Softball America about her softball journey to date and how she ended up committing to play Division I softball at DePaul.
Softball America: Why did you decide to commit to DePaul?
Abbey Pochie: The top reason I decided to commit to DePaul was for the family-like atmosphere. There are two Sparks alums currently playing there, and I have heard nothing but the best from them. Out of the schools that offered me, DePaul would be the one to push me to my full potential, while still having fun.
It is also close to home where my friends and family can come see me. DePaul has a competitive program, and I am excited to be pushed as an athlete and in the classroom. The coaches there are knowledgeable, and I will learn plenty in the years I spend there.
SA: What was your recruiting process like?
AP: My recruiting process went very smooth, and I don’t believe I had any bumps in the road. The thing I remember being the hardest was sitting down and trying to decide where would be the best fit physically and academically. I was scared at first, when September 1 came, but looking back at it, people shouldn’t be worried. It’s a fun process and should not be stressed over like people assume.
SA: At what age did you start playing softball and why did you continue to play?
AP: I started playing softball at the age of seven on a local, part-time travel team called Oak Lawn Gems, and then from there, I played for the Beverly Bandits for 10U. I believe my coaches from 10U, Coach Jesse Spain and Coach Chow, were my influences to continue playing. They made softball fun alongside the drive and commitment my parents also put into the sport. They loved watching me play, watching me compete, and I wanted nothing more than to make them proud.
SA: How did travel and high school softball prepare you to get recruited?
AP: Travel softball prepared me for recruitment in so many ways. The Sparks organization—competing in top tournaments like IDT, Easton-Rawlings and Top Gun Invite—allowed me to get in front of some good coaches while playing phenomenal competition. Playing these teams from different states as a team from Chicago really pushes you mentally and physically. You’re playing against girls that play year-round, and it is fun to keep up the same pace as them. Jill Harvey, my 16U coach on the Sparks, was a huge part of my recruiting process. She helped me understand what schools were interested in me, helped me write to those schools, and with her knowledge, understand what college is the best fit for me. I couldn’t have asked for better people by my side during the process.
SA: What are you looking forward to the most when you get to DePaul, academically and athletically?
AP: Academically, I am going into cyber security, so I am very excited for those classes relating to that and learning more. Athletically, I am so excited to play with these athletes under the coaching staff there. They truly look like they work hard along with having fun, and that’s the most important part, having both of those aspects within a team, and I am honored to start being a part of this program.
SA: Who are the most important people in your softball journey to date?
AP: I would have to go with the simplest answer and say my parents. Without the time and money they spent on pitching and hitting lessons, food, hotels and travel costs, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would also like to thank my current pitching coach, Jay Bolden. He never doubted my abilities for a second and truly made me a better player in so many aspects.
So, girls around the Midwest, if you are looking for a change, Bolden is out of Indiana. My last thanks would be to everyone in the Sparks organization, especially Joe Tholl and Jill Harvey. They always pushed me to be the best player and teammate I could possibly be, and I wouldn’t have wanted my last years of travel ball to be with any other coaches.
SA: Do you have any tips for players currently getting recruited?
AP: Honestly, sit back and enjoy the ride. If you are worried about getting calls or texts on September 1, don’t be! It doesn’t happen for everyone. Keep calm and keep playing your game. It is a process, so let it happen. Most of my travel team didn’t commit until the summer going into senior year, or winter of senior year. Again, let the process happen and just enjoy it. Let your options come and don’t be so quick to jump the gun on your first offer either. You never know who’s going to come knocking at the door of opportunity.