Andrew Gronski was a key member of the Hilliard Davidson High School baseball team that reached a Division I regional final last season.

Andrew Gronski was a key member of the Hilliard Davidson High School baseball team that reached a Division I regional final last season.

This year, he was part of a young team that spent the first few weeks of the season maturing until it came into its own and knocked off top-seeded Grove City 4-1 in the second round of the district tournament on May 13.

After the Wildcats lost to Reynoldsburg 4-2 in a district semifinal on May 19 to finish 15-14 overall, Gronski was ready to start talking about next season.

"Hopefully, we will be pretty good next year and possibly go even further than this year," he said. "We had a young team that will only get better."

Against Grove City, right-hander Phil Huff outdueled the Greyhounds' ace, University of Mississippi recruit Mike Mayers. Huff, who has signed to play football at Kent State, tossed a two-hitter with eight strikeouts and one walk.

"It's the same thing we have talked about all year, half of our players understand what they need to do and have the confidence level to compete with anyone," said Jim Dougherty, who completed his 29th season as the Wildcats' coach. "(The win) over Grove City was a big step in getting them to buy into what we have been teaching all along."

Davidson went 8-6 in the OCC-Central Division to tie Darby and Thomas Worthington for third, behind Worthington Kilbourne (12-2) and Upper Arlington (11-3) and ahead of Dublin Coffman (7-7), Central Crossing (2-12) and Westland (0-14).

"We spent a lot of the first part of the season finding who fit where and then they started to come into their own," Dougherty said. "They showed signs of playing to their potential and they really started to believe in themselves after the win over Grove City."

Davidson defeated Groveport 7-0 in the first round of the tournament on May 10 before beating the Greyhounds and falling to Reynoldsburg.

Huff led the team on the mound and in batting average. The right-hander was 5-3 with a 2.18 ERA in 51 1/3 innings with 51 strikeouts and 11 walks. He batted .425 with eight doubles, 15 runs and 28 RBI.

Davidson will lose seniors Ben Coles (C), Huff (RHP/1B), Josh Jones (3B; .330, 13 runs, 20 RBI), Michael Joseph (INF), Kenny Klatt (OF; .379, 35 runs, 6 doubles, 2 home runs, 8 stolen bases), Jordan Knight (LHP), Kyle Lehwald (INF) and Grant Whipple (2B/OF; .406, 14 doubles, 2 homers, 20 RBI).

"Phil was lot different last year and really worked with us and became a good leader," said Gronski, who batted .373 with five homers, 30 RBI, 39 runs and 17 doubles and was 3-4 with one save and a 3.15 ERA in 46 2/3 innings with 26 strikeouts and 12 walks. "This group of seniors taught me much (about being) a leader that I have to be next year and how to get the younger guys to do what they need to do to be successful."

Juniors expected to return are Gronski and Jacob Sines (OF), as well as sophomores Sam Coles (INF), Chase Delande (C; .350, 8 doubles, 16 runs, 15 RBI), Michael Scaglione (INF/RHP; .314, 16 runs and 5-3, 2.21 ERA, 41 innings, 23 strikeouts, 13 walks) and Austin Smith (OF/RHP).

At a glance

•Record: 15-14 overall, 8-6 (tied for third) in OCC-Central •Seniors lost: Ben Coles, Phil Huff, Justin Jones, Michael Joseph, Kenny Klatt, Jordan Knight, Kyle Lehwald and Grant Whipple •Key returnees: Sam Coles, Chase Delande, Andrew Gronski, Michael Scaglione and Jacob Sines