Softball's Brightest Star For Two Decades
Joyce interrupted her stretch with the Brakettes to attend Chapman College in Orange, California. During her three years there, she played softball for the Orange Lionettes, leading the team to a national title in 1965.
She compiled astounding records during her amateur years—507 pitching wins with just 33 losses, 123 nohitters, 33 perfect games, and a 0.19 ERA (Earned Run Average). She led the Brakettes to the world championship title in 1974, the first time a team from the United States won. But she was not just a great pitcher. She also was a skilled fielder and batter, with a career batting average of .327, good enough to lead the Brakettes in batting six times. Joyce's success was well recognized—she won eight Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards in the playoffs, the Brakettes won 12 national championships, and she was named an Amateur Softball Association All-American 18 times.
Her amateur success prompted an attempt at a professional career. In 1976, she co-founded the International Women's Professional Softball Association along with tennis star Billie Jean King, golfer Jane Blalock, and promoter Dennis Murphy. Joyce was the star player, manager, and part-owner of the Connecticut Falcons, as well as the league's commissioner. Nearing forty, she compiled a 101-15 pitching record, threw 34 no-hitters, and had eight perfect games. Only her .290 batting average hinted at her advancing age. The league folded after four seasons due to inadequate financing and marketing, but Joyce led the Falcons to the World Series title all four seasons.