Jake Chetock of the Hilliard Darby High School baseball team recalls the lessons instilled during the preseason as he looks ahead to the regional tournament.

Jake Chetock of the Hilliard Darby High School baseball team recalls the lessons instilled during the preseason as he looks ahead to the regional tournament.

The senior outfielder believes those fundamentals played a major role in the Panthers earning their first Division I district title since 2008.

Chetock scored both runs for 13th-seeded Darby in a 2-0 win over top-seeded Pickerington North in a Division I district final May 22 at Otterbein University. The Panthers improved to 19-10 and advanced to play Thomas Worthington in a regional semifinal 5 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Dublin Coffman.

"We always talk about doing the little things right," Chetock said. "Coach (Chris) Fugitt and (assistant) coach (Dave) Swallie stress that all of the time.

"When we were running in the gym during the preseason and would come short and wouldn't touch the line in the corner of the court, they let us know about it and made us do it again. Coach Swallie always says, 'It's all about the little things.'"

The "little things" came to the forefront against North. The Panthers scored their first run in the third inning on three consecutive infield hits and scored their second run in the fifth on a hit, bunt and sacrifice fly. Senior outfielder Chris Ramsey drove in both runs.

"We talk about doing the little things all year and that's what won the game for us," said senior pitcher Chase Longwell, who threw a six-hitter against North with four strikeouts and two walks. "Having 13 seniors back, we knew that we could get here. All of the seniors are good leaders and this is what we were shooting for."

Senior catcher Stephan Hernon said the Panthers had extra incentive to beat North.

"It was a great feeling, especially because they beat us (24-14) in football (in a Division I regional semifinal last fall)," Hernon said. "Me and Chase even talked about that (the night before the district final). We couldn't let them end our season again."

The Panthers aren't satisfied with just advancing to regional, however.

"(Winning a district title) was expected, but now it's back to business," Fugitt said. "We're not done playing and we've got to keep it going. The kids believe that and they are not just happy to be there. We have more baseball to play, and we'll take things one game at a time."

Darby has not played Thomas this season, but both teams were in the OCC-Central Division the past four years before the Panthers moved to the OCC-Cardinal.

The Cardinals defeated Grove City 8-2 in a district final to improve to 24-6. The game was suspended because of rain May 23 and completed May 24.

"I sent (Thomas) coach (Stephen) Gussler a text congratulating him (after the game was suspended with the Cardinals leading 6-0)," Fugitt said. "He texted back that the game wasn't over and they hadn't won anything yet. I laughed because I would have responded the same way if I had been in that situation."

The regional semifinal winner will face Gahanna or Marysville in the regional final at 5 p.m. Friday, May 31, at Coffman. The Lions improved to 20-9 with a 15-8 win over Olentangy Orange in a district final May 22, and the Monarchs were 21-7 after beating Watkins Memorial 7-2 in a district final May 23.

The Panthers did not play Marysville this season but lost to Gahanna 7-3 on April 30.

The regional champion advances to a state semifinal June 7 at Huntington Park.

Through 29 games, Chetock (.360 batting average, 31 runs, 21 stolen bases), Ramsey (.343, 23 runs, 10 doubles, 22 RBI), Hernon (.333, 29 RBI), junior first baseman Nate Green (.396, 18 runs, 10 doubles, 3 home runs, 32 RBI) and senior second baseman Connor Holdren (.319, 26 runs) were among the Panthers' offensive leaders.

On the mound, Green was 9-0 with a 0.91 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings, Longwell was 3-1 with a 4.07 ERA in 44 2/3 innings and junior Eric Norton was 3-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 23 2/3 innings.

Dougherty era atDavidson ends

Davidson lost to North 16-14 in a Division I district semifinal May 20 at Dublin Coffman in what was Jim Dougherty's final game as coach.

Dougherty coached the Wildcats for 32 seasons, including 16 when Hilliard had only one high school.

"It's strange because (the seniors) are in the same boat as coach Dougherty," said senior outfielder Collin Dickey, who had two hits, including a two-run homer, and scored three runs against North. "We're both going out together. It's great to be a part of that."

Davidson finished 14-15 overall and went 6-8 in the OCC-Central to place sixth, behind Thomas (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).

The Wildcats were seeded 22nd and defeated 32nd-seeded Briggs 12-0 on May 13 and 16th-seeded Central Crossing 9-8 on May 15 in the first two rounds of the district tournament before falling to North.

Davidson loses 12 seniors, including Dickey, Jacob Chrysler (P/INF) Christopher Keck (2B), Scottie Munson (OF) and Nick Wright (1B).

Chrysler went 3-0 on the mound with a 1.97 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 31 innings and batted .433 with two home runs, 21 RBI and 16 runs and was named second-team all-district and first-team all-league.

Keck, who hit .295 with 24 runs and 15 RBI, was honorable mention all-league. Munson batted .288 with 18 runs, Dickey hit .293 with 16 RBI and 14 runs and Wright had 23 RBI.

"This was a fun-loving and close-knit (senior) class," Dougherty said. "Individually, there are some great stories about the progress they have made since their freshmen years."

Expected back are juniors Travis Brown (P/OF; 6.83 ERA, 27 strikeouts, 27 2/3 innings), Robbie Gilliand (P/OF; 5.07 ERA, 16 strikeouts, 31 1/3 innings), Reed Harster (OF), Nick Iske (C; .352, 12 runs), J.B. Miles (3B; .317, 11 RBI), Luke Smith (P) and Nick Stull (SS; .290, 17 runs, 11 RBI) and sophomore Clayton Steele (P; 8.25 ERA, 16 strikeouts, 24 1/3 innings).

Iske was special mention all-league.