Joyner completes run as a Claflin Panther
By: DALLAS YOUNG
May 04, 2022
Steve Joyner is the longest tenured Panther on this year’s baseball team.
Saturday, April 30, marked the last time Steve will take the field at Claflin University, as he will be graduating and moving on.
Joyner has been playing collegiate baseball for five years, and it has been a journey.
He played his first two seasons at the junior college level. After those two years, he had several schools interested in him and ultimately, he chose Claflin University.
From day one, Steve took the role as captain of this Panther squad.
“I just wanted to be myself when I walked through those doors,” Steve said. “Everything I do, I’m just me.”
Steve is more than a baseball player at Claflin. He keeps his academics up so he can take the field every day.
Steve earned honors on the All-Academic team all three years, as well as being known to help students and newcomers find their way around the school.
His season got off to a great start as he was leading the Peach Belt Conference (one of the toughest Division II conferences in the nation) in hitting at a more-than-impressive .500, which means he was getting hits in more than half of his plate appearances.
“I just like to keep things simple and have fun,” Steve said.
“It’s a game, we need to have fun and trust the work we put in, and when we do that the results kind of just speak for themselves,” he said.
The season came to a hard pause for Steve when he got injured in a game in mid-March while going after a fly ball in the gap. He ran into a brick wall, causing bruised ribs and a concussion. He was forced to miss many weeks as he watched his team slip further and further from playoff contention.
“It was tough sitting out, I didn’t want to eat, I couldn’t sleep, I was really kind of depressed, honestly,” Steve said.
After getting treatment and rehab to get back on the field, Steve joined the team three weeks later and picked up right where he left off. Along with a re-energized Panther team, Steve played well in the second half of the season, but he and his team came up short and missed the playoffs.
Steve ended his senior season in the top 5 in batting average at .359.
“I don’t regret a thing here at Claflin, I just can’t believe it’s over. It went by fast,” Steve said.
While his career as a Panther is over, he is looking to take his opportunities and go play professional baseball. Steve will be traveling to California to participate in various tryouts and workouts.