Kinder senior Sarah Gartman has been the face of Yellow Jacket softball for the past three years. With her in the circle, Kinder has reached the state tournament in Sulphur each season.
"Sulphur is a great atmosphere and there are a lot of fans and there’s a lot going on," said Gartman. "There is a step where we want to be and being in Sulphur, but that’s not the finish. We want to get to the state championship and win the title."
If the Jackets are to hoist the state title on Saturday, they'll need Gartman to continue her hot streak.
As the ace of the pitching staff, she is 19-3 with a 1.53 ERA and 141 strikeouts. Gartman also has a pair of perfect games under her belt.
At the plate she's been just as dominant. Gartman leads the way with a .463 batting average, 39 RBIs and three home runs.
"She doesn’t just do it on the practice field or the game, she does it every day," said Kinder coach Skip Pickle. "Sarah has earned the respect in that manner as well as on the field."
The players believe in Gartman as well.
"I think we are all pretty confident in what Sarah does because we have all been playing with her since three and four years old. She has always been there and stood her ground in the circle and done what she has needed to do," said senior outfielder Haley Hillman. "She has pitched 22 games now, I think she can pitch a couple more."
Gartman will get the start on Friday as Kinder faces off against Rosepine. While the Jackets have beaten the Lady Eagles twice this season, Rosepine was the team that eliminated Kinder a season ago.
"Last year we just didn’t compete as hard and this year I think we are mentally and physically ready," admitted Gartman, "but all we have to do is go out there and play our best."
"They knocked us out last year, so we are coming back for what we deserve," Hillman added.
Kinder's season will come to an end this weekend and with it, the high school careers of seven seniors.
"It’s kind of upsetting, but at the same time it’s a good thing to be there and just go all out and do your best," said Gartman.
Pickle added that despite the joys of making it back to Sulphur, it'll be tough to see his senior class play their final game in a Kinder uniform
"Whenever they get the rewards they deserve, it makes you proud as a coach to actually witness that."
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