Justin Swallie has been promoted to lead the Hilliard Davidson High School baseball program.

Justin Swallie has been promoted to lead the Hilliard Davidson High School baseball program.

A varsity assistant the last two seasons, Swallie was hired June 4 to take over for Jim Dougherty, who stepped down as coach after leading the program for 32 seasons, including 16 when the school district had only one high school.

"I think it's going to be tough to follow someone like Jim, obviously, after 30-plus years here," said Swallie, who teaches social studies at Weaver Middle School. "The biggest challenge may be continuing to meet the expectations of Hilliard baseball, whether it be Bradley, Darby or Davidson. We need to continue to build on that."

A 2000 Darby graduate, Swallie played baseball at Otterbein University. He was an assistant at Davidson in the 2008 and 2009 seasons and served as an assistant at Bradley in 2010 and 2011 before returning to Davidson last year.

"Justin deserves the opportunity for being an assistant here and for being a great teacher and a great coach," Davidson athletics director Mark Princehorn said. "He will continue do the same professional work leading the baseball team.

"We like to reward loyalty to the program when warranted, and that has definitely been the case here. Hopefully, we won't have to make a change for another 30 years or so."

Swallie also coaches seventh-grade football at Weaver.

"It could be a tough adjustment trying to change some little things (in the baseball program), but I learned so much from coach Dougherty," Swallie said. "Having him around was so helpful to me as an assistant. He's been around the game for so long. That can only be beneficial to my being a head coach."

Davidson finished 14-15 overall this spring, losing to top-seeded Pickerington North 16-14 in a Division I district semifinal May 20 at Dublin Coffman.

The Wildcats went 6-8 in the OCC-Central Division to place sixth, behind Thomas Worthington (11-3), Marysville (9-5), Olentangy Liberty (9-5), Coffman (8-6) and Upper Arlington (8-6) and ahead of Central Crossing (5-9) and Westland (0-14).

Expected to return are Travis Brown (P/OF), Robbie Gilliland (P/OF), Reed Harster (OF), Nick Iske (C), J.B. Miles (3B), Luke Smith (P), Clayton Steele (P) and Nick Stull (SS).

Iske had a .352 batting average with 12 runs, six RBI and one home run and was named special mention all-league. Miles batted .317 with 11 RBI and seven runs and Stull hit .290 with 11 RBI, 17 runs and three triples.