Following a short appearance in the field and an unproductive day at the plate at the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches Classic, Middletown High School catcher Nick Rabat assumed his hopes of playing in the prestigious Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game were all but over.
Rabat, who was one of 100 juniors and seniors selected to participate in the MSABC Classic, an event held May 27 to help state coaches select the Brooks Robinson and Team Maryland rosters, logged three innings behind the plate for the MSABC West squad and went 0 for 2.
But last week came word that he had been selected to play in the Brooks Robinson Game, which started in 1982 and includes the top players in Maryland. The contest will be played Sunday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore after the conclusion of the Baltimore Orioles-Philadelphia Phillies game.
“There was a lot of competition with all of us fighting [for roster spots],” Rabat said. “The game itself was definitely competitive. I only got to play three innings in the field. I caught well but I was 0-2 at the plate. I didn't think I would make it [but] it means a lot to me. The way I see, it, the organizers are telling me I'm one of the top four catchers in the state. That's important to me.”
Although Rabat was somewhat surprised with his inclusion in the Brooks Robinson Game, Middletown coach Andy Baker and Knights outfielder Connor Myers, who will also play in the prestigious game, were not shocked that brick-wall-like backstop is being included among the state's best competitors.
“He's been a solid player for the past two years,” Baker said. “I don't think catchers get nearly the recognition they deserve. They're kind of like field goal kickers. If they do what their supposed to do, nobody notices but if one messes up, everyone notices.
“Defensively, he was incredible. Hardly anything got by him and he had a good percentage of putouts behind the plate. He was the quarterback of our team. It's been fun to watch him grow.”
Myers added: “He is a vacuum behind the plate. He blocks anything. He's an awesome catcher and he's a great kid. He has a really good body for catching. He's got a big frame [6-foot-2, 200 pounds] to block all the balls he needs to.”
Rabat was also a solid contributor at the plate this past spring, batting .342 with three doubles, 13 runs and 13 runs batted in to lead Middletown to the 2A West Region semifinals, including an 11-5 upset of second-seeded Catoctin in the regional quarterfinals.
“That's a great feat for Nick,” Baker said. “He's put in a lot of hard work over the past 10 years. It's paying off at the upper end of his career. It's another accomplishment after tons of hours of hitting and working on defensive skills and playing 100 baseball games every year. It's an honor well deserved.”
Rabat will continue that non-stop baseball action this summer while playing for Brunswick American Legion baseball team and for Diamond Pro Baseball.
He will then head to Alderson-Broaddus College (W.Va.), an NCAA Division II program that produced a 29-24 record this past spring. The Battlers play in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“I knew I could play right away and I really like the school and the campus is nice,” Rabat said.