The chatter began in the North All-Stars dugout as the third game of its series began to wind down Sunday in Madison.
"We were talking and guys were saying, 'If we win, it's you,'" South Central's Kyle Schmack said of the series MVP award. "I thought I was doing good, but I wasn't really keeping track. I didn't think it was that good."
How good exactly? Schmack went 8-for-10 with a home run and eight RBI, helping power the North to two wins in the three games, garnering the MVP plaque in the process.
"I guess it was between me and (North catcher) Angel DiFederico. Behind the plate, he was unbelievable," Schmack said. "There were others who were deserving. If (Crown Point's Ryan) Fender had pitched more than two innings, he would've won it. He was blowing it by people. He had five strikeouts. It's a great honor. It wasn't really expected."
Schmack went 2-for-3, 3-for-3, then 3-for-4 with four RBI in the respective contests, going deep with a man on in Sunday's wooden bat game, won by the North 8-4.
"I was seeing a lot of pitches in the zone," he said. "The ball was coming off the bat a little harder than I'm used to seeing in 1A. A lot of them threw off-speed with two strikes. I was just trying to foul it off and get back into a fastball count. I was able to put myself in some pretty good counts, then when I'd get a fastball, I'd try to hammer it."
The performance was a huge jolt of confidence for Schmack as he transitions to playing in college at Valparaiso.
"I've been questioning myself even, am I good enough for this?" he said. "I know how difficult the pitching's going to be. I've been working out with my dad a lot. We've been turning up the pitching machine more, he's been throwing from a closer distance, to prepare me for the better arms, the better breaking balls."
For all the homers he's hit, the dinger was Schmack's first with a wooden bat.
"I'm not going to lie, it felt amazing," he said. "The feel on the barrel was different. It was so clean. I've started to try to use it a lot more now until the season with my travel team. It helps with your swing. If you hit it off the end with a metal bat, it's still going to go. If you do that with a wooden bat, it's probably going to break."
Satellites coach Ryan Kruszka certainly enjoyed the view from the bleachers.
"Kyle had a fantastic weekend," Kruszka said. "It was great to see him out there competing with Indiana's best. I am proud of him and how hard he works. What impressed me the most was how he was able to produce with two strikes. This is a great honor and he deserved it."
As hot as he was, Schmack probably would've liked to keep playing.
"I had a great time," he said. "It's kind of sad to go home. I met a lot of great people. It was an absolute blast."
New Prairie's Hunter Robinson felt the same way.
"It was full of competition and fun," said Robinson, who was joined by Cougars coach Mark Schellinger. "The dorms that we were housed in were very nice and the hosts were very generous and kind toward the players and coaches. I met and competed with and against some of the best in the state and can say I've made quite a few friends. It's an opportunity that shouldn't be taken for granted and I hope to see more Cougars compete in next year's event and onward."
Robinson had a hit in the first game and started in the second game.