Bryar Johnson did not know whether an opportunity like this would come around again, so the recent Carolina Forest graduate followed his heart.
Selected by the Kansas City Royals with pick No. 600 in the 20th round of the MLB Draft this past Wednesday, Johnson has signed on with the major league ball club.
Previously, the local baseball standout had signed on to play at Florence-Darlington Tech, with an eye further to the future playing at Spring Brooks Stadium and Coastal Carolina.
“I’m thankful,” he said. “This is a dream come true. I have been waiting (to be drafted by a MLB club) since I was 10. It is absolutely amazing and exciting.”
The former Panthers ace said via text message Friday morning he was to report to the Royals’ facility in Arizona later in the day.
Johnson is the second Carolina Forest baseball talent selected in the MLB Draft in as many years, this after catcher Ryan Gold was picked by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016. In addition to them two, former Panthers Erich Knab and Paul Hazeres also were drafted directly out of high school.
In his senior season at Carolina Forest, Johnson finished with a 4-3 record. In 40 1/3 innings on the mound, he struck out 65 batters as opposed to 24 walks, winding up with a 1.56 ERA. For his work, he was an All-Region VI-5A and All-State 5A selection, in addition to being picked as a S.C. Select All-Star.
Along with being virtually unhittable, the Panther standout has been clocked at better than 90 mph on a radar gun.
His baseball coach at Carolina Forest, Joey Worley, said he fully expects Johnson to be successful at the next level.
“He has a great head on his shoulders, and is committed to doing the work to make him successful,” Worley said.