Being named second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball doesn't just represent one year of hard work from LSU junior shortstop Kramer Robertson. It's the result of the hard work he put in over the last year to recover his body and reclaim his place on the field.
His 2015 season came to a frustrating end with an elbow injury that kept him from playing with his team in the postseason and being in the dugout in Omaha.
"At this time last year, I guess you could say my career here was hanging by a thread," says Robertson. "I didn't know what was next for me. I didn't know if my elbow was ever going to heal up like I wanted it to. I didn't know if I'd ever come here and be able to have success."
But now, success hardly begins to describe Robertson's season with the Tigers. He's as clutch as they come at the plate in late-game situations and leads the team with 17 doubles to go along with 36 RBI.
"It didn't just happen," says Robertson. "I dedicated myself to getting back on the field, and I told myself that if I had the opportunity to have a starting job, I was going to everything I could to keep it. That's what I've done. I've done whatever I can to help this team win, and it's paid off for me this year."
"We wouldn't be in the position we're in right now if it wasn't for him, his defense, his offense and his leadership," says LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri. "He's grown by leaps and bounds as a person and as a player."
Robertson's growth is almost parallel with that of the team around him. It wasn't always pretty, like taking baseballs to the face or frustrating series losses to Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Alabama, but it's made Robertson and this team into the national seed they are today, poised for a second straight trip to the College World Series.
"Everyone talked all year about how young we were," says Robertson. "We were young, and we were inexperienced, but we're not anymore. We've played in a lot of big games here against top-ranked teams in front of sell-out crowds. So I think the more we all experienced that, the better we got, and the better we were able to handle those situations."
He's gone from a promising young talent searching for consistency to the foundation of the Tigers' infield and symbol of resiliency, and the story's not done yet.
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