Augusta State softball coach Melissa Mullins is almost glad her standout freshman didn't earn All-American honors this season.
If she had, there would be little left for Kacee Camp to shoot for the next three seasons.
Camp, a former Harlem High standout, grabbed almost every accolade possible her first season with the Jaguars.
The shortstop was named the Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and earned first-team all-conference honors. She was also named first-team All Southeast Region by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. That honor nominated her for All-American status, a nod she'll have to wait for.
"I would expect that she probably will (get it)," Mullins said. "I think it's not necessarily a bad thing that she didn't get everything in her first year. It gives her something to shoot for."
Camp insists there is plenty to work on during the summer, except her grades. She pulled a 4.0 GPA each of her first two semesters.
Camp said she could work on all aspects of her game and surpass last season's numbers.
That could be a tough task.
Camp led the Peach Belt in hitting with a .421 average during the regular season. She led the Jaguars in seven offensive categories.
The Freshman of the Year nod was particularly special, Camp said, because she kept the award in Columbia County. The conference's top freshmen the past three seasons are from the county.
"The pressure was on," said Camp, who became the first ASU player to win the award. "That was in the back of my mind the whole season."
Camp played shortstop at Harlem. She was afraid Mullins would try her in the outfield at Augusta State, Camp said. But the Jaguars' previous shortstop was graduating, and it was quickly apparent to Mullins where Camp belonged. She pointed to Camp's all-conference nod as confirmation.
"All-conference is a huge deal," Mullins said. "That's saying that she's not just a great player, but she's the best shortstop in the conference."
Camp wants to eventually be considered among the best in the nation, but said that wouldn't be her primary focus in the coming seasons. That focus would probably be beating North Georgia.
North Georgia beat the Jaguars five times, including once in the Peach Belt Conference tournament and twice in the NCAA Regional.
"You're not really supposed to lose to a team five times," Camp said. "I expected to go in there and at least give them a run for their money"
Camp was instrumental in the Jaguars' run to the NCAA Regional, only the school's second trip there. She said she expected she might do well as a freshman, because of other freshmen she had seen "who have that fire."
Camp wants to keep her hot streak going next season.
"(I want to) just go out there with a fresh new plate and work hard -- work harder actually," Camp said.
"I want to do better. I always want to do better."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.