Photographs by Ben Goff
Jordan Gartman (24) and her Bentonville High teammates return to the Class 7A state championship game against North Little Rock today at Bogle Park. Gartman had a two-run double in last year’s 12-1 victory over North Little Rock in the championship game.
Friday, May 19, 2017
BENTONVILLE -- Jordan Gartman is a country music fan who is just as comfortable in cleats as she is in cowboy boots.
Gartman is looking forward to a senior trip to Nashville on June 7, where she'll attend the Country Music Awards and concerts the following days. The trip is on the back burner for now while Bentonville High's senior third baseman and her softball teammates take care of some unfinished business.
Arkansas State Championships
At Bogle Park, Fayetteville
Bentonville vs. North Little Rock, 10 a.m.
Bald Knob vs. Rose Bud, 12:30 p.m.
De Queen vs. Valley View, 3 p.m.
Nashville vs. Pottsville, 5:30 p.m.
Spring Hill vs. Rison, 10 a.m.
Sheridan vs. Greenwood, 12:30 p.m.
Scranton vs. Taylor, 3 p.m.
It happens today when the Lady Tigers will attempt to defend their Class 7A state championship against North Little Rock, the team they beat last year to win the title. The rematch is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Bogle Park in Fayetteville.
Bentonville (29-1) followed a sluggish performance against Bentonville West with a dominant 10-0 victory over Cabot in the state semifinals last Saturday. Gartman had two doubles and a single for the Lady Tigers, who led Cabot 7-0 after four innings. North Little Rock (21-6-1) outscored Bryant 17-9 in the other semifinal to earn its fifth consecutive appearance in the championship game.
"North Little Rock has a good team," said Gartman, a four-year starter for the Lady Tigers. "We know we have a good team as well and with a dominant pitcher. We're confident, but we can't be overconfident. We just need to have fun and stay real."
Gartman played a big part in last year's championship game when Bentonville beat North Little Rock 12-1 in five innings. She put Bentonville ahead for good with a two-run double, then recorded the final out before celebrating with her teammates.
"I remember telling the ball 'get up, get up' because I thought it had a chance to get out," Bentonville coach Kent Early said. "The ball ended up hitting off the top of the wall, and it was that double that broke the tie and put us up 3-1."
Gartman will carry a .342 batting average with three home runs and 28 RBIs into today's championship game. She also is a standout defensive player at a position where batted balls often arrive very quickly.
"I told Jordan she's probably the best third baseman that's ever played in the history of Bentonville High School," Early said. "Her hands are unbelievably quick and she has a knack for the ball. It's not a question if she's going to make the play, because you know she is. It's a question of how well she's going to make the play."
Gartman is one of five seniors who'll play their final game today for the Lady Tigers. But she'll continue her education and softball career at Missouri Southern, a Division II program in Joplin, Mo.
The move, of course, will come after her trip to Nashville, where she hopes to see all the stars.
"I love country music," Gartman said. "My playlist is the same as coach Early's playlist."
Sports on 05/19/2017
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