Camp, Wilkerson named to all-state team

Both Kierra Camp and Carri Wilkerson will graduate from Heritage High School next spring. But before they go, the former Patriots’ softball players received one more huge honor.

Camp and Wilkerson were named to the Class AAAAA all-state team recently, capping memorable senior seasons and careers.

Camp, a Georgia Southern signee, received her second all-state selection in as many seasons. In 2013, Camp went 14-6 with an 0.52 ERA and 185 strike outs in 132 2/3 innings pitched, and hit .404 at the plate in leading the Patriots to the program’s first region championship since 2001 and another berth in the state playoffs.

“Kierra has been a force in the circle for four straight years,” said Heritage coach Jason McBay. “She is a different person on practice days and on game day (and) she is able to get into a zone where there is nothing but her and the catcher.”

Camp will leave Heritage in the conversation as the finest pitcher in the program’s history, along with Brittany Shepherd and Katie Griffith, as the right-hander was Region 8-AAAAA player of the year in both 2012 and 2013.

Now, Camp will head south and start her collegiate career with the Eagles of the Southern Conference.

“(Camp) is a great player and an even better student. We will miss her and wish her nothing but the best,” McBay said. “I have no doubt she will continue to dominate in college because she is willing to put in the work.”

Wilkerson followed a Region 8-AAAAA player of the year honor with her first all-state nod after a phenomenal senior season.

The outfielder, who has yet to sign with a college, hit .452 (43-for-95) with 35 RBIs, was 39-for-40 in stolen base attempts and set the Heritage record for triples in a season with seven.

The amazing thing about Wilkerson is, the summer before her junior season, in which she capped with a second-team all-Region 8-AAAAA honor, she hit .100 in the Patriots’ summer league. That’s when things began to change, and Wilkerson went from the team’s No. 7 hitter to the biggest threat in the Heritage lineup and the region’s top player.

“I challenged her then with the idea that she was the key to our success,” McBay said about that summer, which was his first as Heritage’s head coach. “I knew she had the leadership skills neccesary to be a team captain and role model for the other girls, but at that time she lacked the tenacity and technically the numbers to back it up. She took my challenge to heart and I never imagined how far it would carry her.”

Though Wilkerson hasn’t decided whether softball is in her future, the final two years at Heritage were as memorable as it gets at the Conyers school.

“I could not be more proud of Carri,” McBay said. “She is irreplaceable and will be sorely missed…I wish her nothing but the best of luck because she deserves it.”