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Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey having a ball rooting for her son, Kramer, and his Louisiana State baseball team

Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey having a ball rooting for her son, Kramer, and his Louisiana State baseball team that plays in the College World Series finals that begin Monday

Mulkey has won two national titles and is hoping Kramer and the Bayou Tigers can deliver against Florida

Arnie Leshin

By Arnie Leshin 

Hall of Famer Kim Mulkey sat among the Louisiana State faithful, rooting for a national championship. She had already won twice as head coach of the Baylor women’s basketball team, but this was different.

No standing on the sidelines yelling at her team and differing with the officials. It was instead a different role, one that involved her son, Kramer Robertson, a senior and starting shortstop for LSU.

This time, it was more of an off-season break for Mulkey. It was a time to be   a Bayou Tiger fan, a time to support her son at the 71st annual NCAA College Baseball Division I World Series played at TD Ameritrade Park.

She cheered, she high-fived her daughter, Makenzie, sitting alongside her, she did the same with LSU fans in her area. She was having a ball as the Tigers went on to win and gains the best-of-three finals that begin Monday.

And she’s quite familiar with the state of Louisiana. She attended Hammond High there, was All-State three times and paved the way to the school’s four-straight state titles. Then she was an All-America at Louisiana Tech. She coached Baylor to NCAA championships in 2005 and 2012.

“Since Kramer became an LSU Tiger, I’ve followed them every year,” she said, “and now I’d love to see him celebrate with a championship his final season. I assure you, it’s a lot different than being on the sidelines coaching my team. Here, I can support Kramer and have a fun time. It’s much more relaxing.”

She said she really got a kick out of seeing her son’s new hairdo. His blonde hair was shaggy now, longer, and stood up on top. It was said that it was Kramer’s idea to organize a hairdo party after LSU lost to top-ranked Oregon State, 13-2, on Thursday.

“I suggested it,” Kramer said before the game, “and the other guys thought it was a great idea. We had a good time doing it, it was a fun thing, and all we need to do now is win today and take our new look to the finals.”

The Tigers have won six national titles, but the last one was in 2009 when Kramer was a senior in high school and riding around in the new car that mom and dad gave him.

“My mom never tried to get me to play at Baylor,” he said. “They did recruit me, but I was stuck on LSU because of its awesome baseball history. I preferred staying for my senior year rather then going into the college draft.”

A First Team All-SEC selection, he was still selected in the fourth round to the Detroit Tigers, but his mom said he would have gone earlier if he wasn’t a senior.

“No doubt about it,” Mulkey said. “The teams would rather sign younger players. That became the path to take when so many elite high school and college freshmen were out there. But Kramer doesn’t mind, and looks forward to it.”

He’s also zeroed in for what lies ahead, a possible national championship with his family looking on. He often waved to where they were seated, and his mom often gave the No. 1 signal and applauded him.

He’s a good ballplayer. He came into the tournament with a .347 batting average. He’s hit 11 home runs, has batted in 48 runs, has stolen 22 bases, and has been a quality shortstop making some stellar plays in the field. He has displayed good range and a strong arm.

“He’s the team leader,” Mulkey said, “a good student, and I’m proud of him becoming a college graduate.”

As for the World Series itself, it’s one-eighth joy and seven-eighths pain. Only a single team leaves here truly happy, and one of them will be LSU or Florida.

As for the others, they have come and gone.

Said Texas Christian head coach Jim Schlossnagle after losing to the Gators: “As you sit in that dugout when you lose as a coach, all you think about is how hard it is to get here. And you never know if you’ll get to be back because it’s that hard. And to have been here four years in a row is an incredible accomplishment. But we never take it for granted.”

He added that it’s literally the greatest event the NCAA has to offer, and that he’s lucky to be a part of it. But it’s no fun when your program still hasn’t made it to the finals.

Totally disappointed was Oregon State head coach Pat Casey following the back-to-back losses to LSU.

“I think to a man they’d tell you that we’ve played better baseball,” he said, “and that’s for sure. But I told my team that there comes a time rather shortly that you’ll realize what you did and how amazing a season it was, and that they fought through so many things.”

He added that he knows they are not satisfied, but that they will feel better about it in a few days, and said it’s a team he’s very proud of.

Once again, it was no go for Florida State head coach Mike Martin, now 73 and in his 38th season with the Seminoles, and no titles.

“We gave it our best shot,” Martin said. “We never felt sorry for ourselves, and we kept battling. But we didn’t come here to make a good showing, we came here to win a college world series, and fell short.”

So did 62 other schools.

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