Bryan County softball standout Shelby Barfield signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play softball at Georgia Southern, fulfilling a dream years in the making.
“It didn’t feel real until I got the actual letter in an email and printed it out,” she said. “But from the first time I visited there, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”
Barfield committed to the Eagles following her sophomore season in Pembroke.
Georgia Southern was 24-29 overall last year and 14-14 in the Sun Belt Conference. The Eagles look to the 2018 season under new coach Kim Dean, who led the Armstrong State softball team to a third-place finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships this past spring and a 38-14 overall record.
Dean was hired in June after Armstrong State dissolved its athletics program as part of a merger with Georgia Southern.
“I’m excited to play for her,” Barfield said. “She definitely know how to get the most out of her players.”
Also new at Georgia Southern is Logan Harrell, Armstrong’s catcher and a former Bryan County standout who Dean brought with her.
“That’ll be nice playing with her again,” Barfield said. “There are a few girls from my travel team who have committed, too, so it will be very familiar playing there.”
Although the schedules have not yet been released, Barfield hopes at some point Georgia Southern will play Georgia Tech, where her older sister Brooke is a sophomore pitcher.
Barfield was a first-team pick in Region 2-AA again this season, the same as last year. She hit .460 with 39 hits and amassed 23 RBIs. Working primarily as a pitcher for the Redskins, she threw 136 innings and gave up less than one hit per inning pitched.
“I’m going there mostly as a utility infielder, but there might be a chance to pitch,” she said. “I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do.”
Barfield was the lone senior on a Bryan County team that finished the year 15-11.
“Georgia Southern is getting one special kid whose attitude for softball is contagious,” Redskins Coach Al Butler said.