Hayden Joyner and Bekah Johnson both enjoyed stellar softball careers at Bryan County High School as they etched their names into the school’s record books.
The two Redskins standouts were rewarded for their hard work and dedication to their sport when they signed letters of intent in the school’s media center to continue their careers at the college level.
Johnson signed a national letter of intent to play at Troy University of the Sun Belt Conference and Joyner signed to play at Georgia Highlands College.
Johnson is a power hitter who set a school record with 22 career home runs while batting .504 for her four seasons. Joyner was equally impressive in the circle as she rang up a 61-20 record as they led the Redskins to two region championships, a Super Regional title and two trips to Columbus while going 85-28-1 overall.
During their sophomore season Bryan County finished third in the state in Class A while posting a school record 31 wins. This year under a new GHSA format which saw Super Regional winners converge in Columbus they reached the Elite Eight before being eliminated.
“Bekah’s career batting average meant every other time she came to bat she got a hit,” Coach Jason Roundtree said. “Hayden’s career ERA was 1.85 which meant every time she pitched, we had to score just two runs to win.
“They’ve done a lot in their four years,” Roundtree said. “Every time I wrote down Hayden Joyner’s name in the lineup, I knew the game was going to be well pitched.
“And when I put Bekah Johnson’s name in the lineup, I knew we were going to have three hits. It’s just unbelievable what they’ve done.”
Johnson is joining one of the top softball programs in the Sun Belt as the Trojans consistently rank among the conference leaders. They won the conference and played in the NCAA tournament two years ago and will be one of the favorites next spring.
“It’s exciting,” Johnson said. “I look forward to making new friendships and this opportunity.
“My four years at Bryan County mean a lot to me. I’ve created a lot of relationships with my teammates and my coaches who have helped me so much in my life’s journey.
“I think we’ve made a great impact on those that are coming up. I think they’ll be right there when they’re seniors.”
Joyner didn’t let her 5-foot-3 stature stop her from becoming one of the state’s top Class A pitchers. She set school records for wins in a season with 20 in 2020 and this year had 198 strikeouts in 140 innings.
Brooke Barfield, who went on to play at Georgia Tech, was 18-5 in 2015 for Coach Al Butler’s team that went 29-12 and finished third in the state. Barfield had 193 strikeouts in 160.1 innings. She had a 1.18 ERA that season which remains the single season mark.
“This is a huge day,” Joyner said. “For a little girl it’s a dream come true. I had the opportunity to play with some great coaches and great girls in a really good program.
“Some people will say ‘she was lucky’ but it was a lot of hard work and a lot of time spent,” Joyner said. “I’m glad to get this opportunity to play in college. It shows my hard work has paid off.”