Erik Rabin isn't just playing for three baseball teams, he's doing so at the most physically demanding position on the baseball diamond.
The St. Charles North junior is squatting triple time this summer for North's summer team, St. Charles American Legion Post 342 and the Schaumburg Seminoles travel team.
Rabin caught part of two games Monday for North in a wood-bat tournament, just another day behind the dish for Rabin and his resilient knees.
"I ice a lot," Rabin said. "I've been holding up pretty well. I've been icing, lifting, doing band work. I think every game I'm catching, I'm getting better."
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound 16-year-old is coming off a strong weekend tournament with the Seminoles at Notre Dame in which he tripled in consecutive at-bats on the Fighting Irish's home field. While catcher is his primary position, he said he's also seen time at first base and third base with the Seminoles.
Among the three teams he's playing for, Rabin said legion ball – in which some of the opposing players already have reached college – probably presents the most rigorous competition.
But keeping his knees in working order is arguably a bigger challenge than any nasty breaking ball he has to smother behind the plate.
"My knees take a beating but next year they're going to come back stronger," Rabin said. "I try and do whatever I can. Every day, I'm getting better. I once saw a video on YouTube, a motivation video, and what they said was no days off. That's been my primary goal this past season."
Justin Moriarty, head coach of the St. Charles legion team and a North assistant coach, said Rabin's hustle and upbeat nature position him for success.
As for Rabin's summer workload, Moriarty said there is a strong rotation of catchers in the mix, especially considering returning varsity starter Kyle Khoury chews up many of the innings for North's summer team.
"I don't think we're working him too hard but if we played 100 games during the spring, Erik would want to catch all 100 of them," Moriarty said.
At least Rabin no longer has to carve out time to catch his big sister, Sabrina.
Sabrina Rabin, who graduated from North this spring, was a standout pitcher for the North Stars' softball program, and the siblings teamed up as a convenient battery for informal workouts. But Sabrina Rabin, who will play college softball at Northwestern, projects as an outfielder, not a pitcher, at NU.
"It was the perfect combination," Rabin said. "Sabrina was a pitcher, I was the catcher and we helped each other out."
Like his big sister, Rabin would like to attend a prestigious university when the time comes. To that end, he's squeezing in time this summer for AP-level studies. He also enjoys archery as a stress-reliever, but baseball and schoolwork keep his schedule crammed most days.
Considering Khoury's presence on the varsity, playing time behind the plate figures to be a challenge as Rabin transitions from the sophomore team, but he is hopeful the time he's putting into his craft this summer will pay off – next spring and beyond.
"I have to work hard, do my best and we'll see what goes on from there," Rabin said. "I don't know what's going to happen next year but all I know is I'm going to work hard and try my best."
And keep the ice handy.