Jesse Smith's first baseball game against Zac Ryan came when both were freshmen.
Griffith's Smith lost to Andrean's Ryan and newspapers had pictures of both pitchers in the paper.
"His mechanics were right on point and I had a couple flaws in mine," Smith said. "(Panthers coach Brian Jennings) showed me how Zac was and how I was. He said 'You have to pitch against him for the next three years, you better fix this.'"
In those four years, Smith and Ryan faced each other five times. Ryan won four, Smith won the last one, a 2-1 victory in the Plymouth Regional semifinal.
"I took that to heart and started to work on fixing those things," Smith said.
For their last games before Ryan heads off to Georgia Tech and Smith leaves for South Suburban, they'll be on the same team.
Beginning today, the Northwest Crossroads Conference pair will pitch for the North All-Star Team in a three-game series against the South team at Wabash College.
"I learned a lot from watching (Ryan), especially how to stay relaxed and calm," Smith said. "It's going to be pretty cool to be on the same team."
Jennings said Smith's addition to the North All-Star Team came because of the size of Smith's heart.
"He's not the biggest or the strongest, and he doesn't throw the hardest, but you can't measure a kid by their heart," Jennings said. "He made everyone else better just by his presence. He made them work hard, he made them accountable, he made them compete, he was a leader.
"It was hard for those guys not to have their competitive juices going when he was on the mound. Even me."
The North team will be led by Kankakee Valley head coach Doug Greenlee, who faced Smith once this year when the senior struck out nine batters in five innings.
Joining Smith as a North All-Star is former Babe Ruth teammate Ryan Burvan. Smith said the two plan to drive to the weekend's festivities together.
"It'll be really cool to be on a team with Zach Plesac and Zac Ryan and Ryan Burvan, all these kids," Smith said. "It's a great opportunity to play against the best and with some of the best in the state."