Kierra Camp had a strong sophomore year and set about trying to make it even better for her junior campaign.
After posting astounding statistics in 2012, all Camp’s hard work was rewarded last week as she was named to a first-team All-State pitcher.
Camp was 18-3, with 14 shutouts, three one-hitters, a perfect game and 178 strikeouts in 21 games. The junior pitcher had an ERA of 0.39, while winning 21 games.
“Her motivation is always for something bigger and better,” Heritage coach Jason McBay said. “She’s such a hard worker in everything, being a good person and being a good softball player. She always strives for the best. She’s starting to reap what she sowed; she’s starting to see the awards and honors.”
Camp had already received the honor of being named Region 8-AAAAA Pitcher of the Year, a member of the All-Region first team and Heritage’s top academic performer, and she can now add a top state honor to her trophy case.
“She’s so humble, that’s the biggest thing she’s really kind of shy standoffish person,” McBay said. “When I told her she wasn’t overly excited even though she was excited and honored.”
Behind Camp, and freshman pitcher Kamryn Toney, Heritage amassed a 30-5 record this season, a region runner-up and a second round appearance in the state playoffs, in which they fell to eventual state runner-up Pope.
“I think having a viable No. 2 in Kamryn Toney stepping up as a freshman took a lot of pressure off Kierra, knowing that she didn’t have to go up there every day. That took a lot of pressure off her as well.”
Camp handled much of the pressure that was thrown at her this season, starting from the beginning of the year when Heritage’s starting catcher was injured.
Camp settled in with a new catcher, only to see her go down with an injury as well and have to incorporate a freshman as her new battery mate.
But that was just one example of how she handled both the biggest and smallest challenges with ease. The season’s biggest example of Camp’s focus and perseverance came in one of Heritage’s biggest wins against a fellow state competitor, but at the AAAAAA level.
“In the sixth inning with bases loaded and nobody out, she just went with the flow,” McBay said. “We made a great play behind her for a double play and she struck the other girl out.
“The more you’ve gone through something, then when you think you can’t get through it; you will survive on the other end. You’re more apt to handle the next thing that comes along.”
For Camp, the next thing to come along will be Georgia Southern, where she has committed to play in college. As the upcoming season approaches, McBay will not only work on preparing Camp for her senior year but also her freshman year at Georgia Southern.
“My goal is for her next year that I want to do as much as I can to prepare her for Georgia Southern,” McBay said. “I want to give her a year of high school where she can start doing those things. Where they want her to throw a curveball more often, whatever the coach is looking for.
“I want to partner with her and get her ready for that.”
Prior to her All-State junior season, Camp worked on her changeup and improving in pressure situations. McBay said Camp will continue to work on improving, despite the successful 2012 season.
“To say that she would improve again as much as she did between her sophomore and junior years, then everybody better look out,” McBay said. “But she will improve because she works that hard.”
Camp also has something left to achieve, a state championship.
“Our expectations will be the same as they were this year, we want to go to Columbus and we want to win state,” McBay said. “While we’re proud of the season we had winning 30 games, Kierra making first team All-state and six or seven other girls make first team All-region, ultimately we would trade all that for a chance to bring home a trophy. That’s the goal next year, they’re already talking about it.”