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Softball roundup: Joyner signs, local teams aim for postseason

Bryan County pitching standout Hayden Joyner had several choices when it came to playing college softball, primarily with Division II and Division III schools, but she decided to go the less conventional rout.

The Redskins righthander said she has committed to play at Georgia Highlands College which is a junior college located in Rome. It plays in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association which is made up of the state’s two-year schools.

Joyner made her final official visit to Reinhardt College and after weighing her options she decided to go with the Chargers. Former Richmond Hill player Avery Fisher is a freshman at Highlands. A major factor in deciding to go the juco route was Joyner will get an opportunity to pitch against four-year schools, including several Division I teams, in a fall schedule designed to give the players an opportunity to showcase their talents. Highlands, for example, will play two games at Georgia Southern on Oct. 1.

Joyner (8-2) had a career mark of 52-15 going into a Wednesday game at Calvary Day School but she was overlooked by bigger schools who were skeptical of recruiting a 5-foot-3 pitcher.

The Redskins (10-3, 4-0) will be looking to clinch the Region 3A-DI title when they host Screven County (7-8, 3-1) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

“You wouldn’t recruit her getting off the bus,” Roundtree said alluding to Joyner’s height. “I know everyone likes tall pitchers but if I was at a school like Savannah State, for example, I wouldn’t hesitate to recruit her.

“She’s really talented, has a great understanding of the game and I’ll guarantee you no one will outwork her,” Roundtree said. “As soon as we finish a game she’s off to a lesson or to work on something.

“She’s a tremendous competitor. She gives us a chance to win every time she’s out there.”

While the Redskins will be playing for a region championship when they face the Gamecocks there will also be a pair of big games on Thursday at Richmond Hill.

The Wildcats will be hosting Valdosta in a Region 1-7A doubleheader looking for a chance to keep themselves in the playoff mix.

Richmond Hill (6-8, 3-1) opened region play by taking two out of three from Camden County and then knocked off the Blazers, 11-2, on Tuesday.

Sophomore Addy Brooks had what may have been her best game of the season when she gave up only three hits to the Blazers. She got excellent support as the Wildcats pounded out 12 hits and scored in every inning beginning with a five-run first.

Brooklyn Meyer led the onslaught as she was 3-for-3 while Daisy Avery, Aliya Williams and Kamdyn Richbourg had two each. Williams drove in three runs and Richbourg, the Wildcats top power hitter, had a triple as part of the first inning outburst.

Lucy Tuttle scored three runs from her leadoff spot as she had a single and two walks while stealing three bases. Tuttle, Avery and Williams, the top three hitters in the lineup, combined to go 5-for-7 and scored six runs.

Bryan County put itself in position to clinch a Super Regional host spot by beating Claxton, 11-7, on Tuesday in a game that nearly got away.

The Redskins had beaten the Tigers, 15-0, earlier and had a 5-0 lead going into the fifth when Claxton erupted for seven runs against starter Amber Gray.

Joyner came in to put out the fire and got the win as the Redskins scored four in the sixth and added two in the seventh. Bekah Johnson and McKenzie Mobley had RBI singles in the sixth and two runs scored on errors.

The Redskins pounded out 13 hits with Johnson going 5-for-5 with four RBI. Skylar Lee and Mobley had two RBI each.

Johnson is 12-17 in her last five games in raising her batting average to .545. Mobley is hitting .432 and riding an 11-game hitting streak.

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