There was one moment in the dugout earlier this season that Woodbury softball coach Devon Debellis said perfectly summed up Nora Campo.
It was late in what Debellis described as “the longest game ever,” and Campo turned to her — when almost everybody at the field felt like going home — and said, “I can’t wait to go to the gym after this is over.”
At least 150 swings per day is Campo’s goal. And it’s true that the senior, one of South Jersey’s premier power hitters and a star catcher for Woodbury has made a habit of going to the cages after almost every game and practice, not getting home until after 10 p.m. on some nights.
Debellis said Campo’s mentality is unlike any she has seen in her years of coaching high school players.
“She wants to be the best, and that’s why she’s been so successful,” Debellis said.
Campo just shrugs it off.
“I think anyone who wants to be really good at this level has to be putting in this kind of effort,” Campo said.
The formula has worked.
Campo said one of her dreams since she was little was to play big-time college softball, and now she’s committed to play for Georgetown next season.
For Woodbury, her home run total doubled, from 6 to 12, from her sophomore to her junior year.
And she opened this season with four long balls in Woodbury’s first six games.
“There’s not really a pitch that I can tell you she struggles with,” Debellis said. “That’s the reason she’s such a threat. Nobody knows what to pitch her. She’s a taller girl, so some pitchers try to keep the ball low. But I’m telling you. I’ve seen her golf balls out of the dirt and hit it over the fence. That’s why she’s so lethal. Everyone is questioning what to throw her. And there really isn’t a strategy for facing her.”
For Campo, one key to being a great power hitter is not trying to be a power hitter.
“Don’t be too eager. Don’t press,” she said. “Just try to make contact. Don’t try to do anything too crazy.”
Campo has been a centerpiece for an overall potent offense for Woodbury. The team, led by six senior starters, including four set to play softball at the next level, is off to a 6-2 start and averaging more than nine runs per game.
“We’re working harder this season than we ever have,” Campo said. “Ever since Little League, we’ve always had the same core group of girls. And ever since then, we’ve been developing together. We’ve always been close. We’ve always understood each other.”
As a catcher, Campo has shown chemistry with both of Woodbury’s regular pitchers, Kendall Harvey and Rachel White, both seniors. She’s worked with both for years, and the results are evident in every game.
Debellis praised all of them for their high softball IQs, for being students of the game.
“I think all of them are going to be coaches some day,” Debellis said.
In some ways, Campo sees it as just a group of friends working hard at a sport they love.
“Being able to have the kind of relationship where I can really tell my pitcher what’s going on, and we can both be honest with each other, makes it so much easier,” Campo said.
As an integral piece of her team’s offense and defense, Campo said she relishes the opportunity to be an overall leader on her team, to help take her team as far as she can.