Bryan County softball coach Jason Roundtree is as excited about the upcoming season as a kid at Christmas.
And, it’s hard to blame him. A talented Redskins team, headed by seniors Bekah Johnson and Hayden Joyner, open what is expected to be a banner season at 4 p.m. Friday at Savannah Christian.
“It could be a special season if nothing crazy happens,” Roundtree said. “I told the girls I have looked forward to this season but I also have dreaded it.”
Roundtree has plenty of reasons to look forward to what will be the final season for a group of seniors who in their four years have posted an overall 65-20 record and earned a third-place state tournament finish in their sophomore season when they posted a school record 31 wins.
The dread comes from the fact this will be Roundtree’s final go round with seven seniors who have, he said, been a pleasure to not only coach but to be around on a daily basis.
“We’ve got some good athletes,” Roundtree said, “but what I’m going to miss most is just being around them, the conversations we have every day. I can’t wait for practice every day and it’s been that way the last four years. These are great kids.”
Johnson, who has committed to Troy University, has developed into one of the top players in the state regardless of classification. Based on box scores posted on Game Changer she enters the season with a career batting average of .508.
With a career record of 44-13 and 379 strikeouts in323.1 innings Joyner is getting attention from college recruiters in establishing herself as a pitcher who gives her team a chance to win every time she takes the circle.
Another highlight of the season for the Redskins will be playing their home games on a new field. Last season Bryan County had to play at Hendrix Park while their field at the high school was under construction.
Roundtree said the wait was worth it.
“We’re going to play our first game on it against Savannah Christian (Aug. 10),” Roundtree said. “It’s beautiful. We’re really looking forward to playing on it.” Xandria Dean, Presly Carlucci, Maegan Beck, Pascal Ellison and McKensie Mobley are all seniors who give the Redskins a blend of experience and talent. Mobley was an all-state shortstop with seven home runs as a sophomore but played only two games last year before missing the rest of the season.
Skylar Lee and Amber Gray are two juniors who made significant improvement in last season’s 15-7 season which was hampered by COVID.
Bryan County lost to ACE Charter in the second round of the state playoffs with ACE going on to win the Class A state championship and finish as the state’s only unbeaten team. “We won’t have a starting lineup set until we open region play against Metter (Aug. 23),” Roundtree said. “We were short on depth last year but this year we’re deep.”
Aug 5: at Savannah Christian, 4 p.m.; 10: Savannah Christian.; 12: at Richmond Hill, 5:30 p.m.; 17: Bradwell Institute; 19: at Statesboro, 5:30 p.m.; 20: Stratford Academy, noon; 22: Richmond Hill; 23: *Metter, 4:30 p.m.; 27: at Schley County (DH), noon; 30: *Claxton, 4:30 p.m. Sept. 1: at Calvary Day, 4:30 p.m.; 6: at *ECI, 5:30 p.m.; 8: * Screven County; 13: at *Metter, 4:30 p.m.; 14: at Bradwell Institute, 6 p.m.; 19: Swainsboro; 20: *at Claxton, 4:30 p.m.; 23: Islands; 27: *at Screven County 5:30 p.m.; 29: Long County (DH), 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3: at Portal, 5:30 p.m.; 5: Statesboro; 6: Portal; 11: at Southeast Bulloch, 5 p.m.; 12: St. Vincent’s Academy; 14: at ACE (DH) 4:30 p.m.
*--Region game. All home games start at 5:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.