The Hilliard Darby High School baseball team survived an unexpected slugfest against Thomas Worthington in a Division I regional semifinal that took 2 hours, 49 minutes to complete.

The Hilliard Darby High School baseball team survived an unexpected slugfest against Thomas Worthington in a Division I regional semifinal that took 2 hours, 49 minutes to complete.

Despite squandering a six-run lead in the top of the sixth inning, the Panthers showed perseverance by scoring the game's final two runs in the bottom of the inning to pull out a 15-13 victory May 30 at Dublin Coffman.

Darby improved to 20-10 and advanced to play Gahanna in a regional final May 31 at Coffman. The regional champion will advance to a state semifinal June 7 at Huntington Park.

Thomas finished 24-7.

"We had been scoring all game and, with 13 seniors on this team, there was no reason to hang our heads," said Panthers catcher Stephan Hernon, who had a single and double. "We knew we could come right back. Plus, when Chase (Longwell) got on the mound, we knew he'd shut them down."

Darby scored in every inning except the third. The Panthers had 19 hits and were the beneficiaries of six errors by the Cardinals.

"I talked to (Thomas coach Stephen Gussler) several times the past week and we both thought this was going to be a quick, 2-1 type of game," Darby coach Chris Fugitt said. "We were way off, but I'm sure neither of us would've cared what the score was. There are no style points; they don't count. A win is a win and we live to play another day."

Darby's starting pitcher, Nate Green, couldn't hold a 4-2 lead, as Thomas scored four runs in the top of the fourth to take a 6-4 lead. The Panthers responded with six runs on eight hits in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-6 lead and were ahead 13-7 through five innings.

The Cardinals tied the game at 13 in the top of the sixth as pitcher Eric Norton, who relieved Green, ran into trouble before being replaced by Longwell, who got the final two outs of the inning.

Though he struggled on the mound, Green went 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and five RBI. His two-out double in the bottom of the sixth drove in designated hitter Jake Chetock and center fielder Chris Ramsey to put the Panthers ahead 15-13.

Longwell then retired all three batters he faced in the top of the seventh.

"You have to keep your offense and defense separated," Green said. "If I couldn't help my team on the mound, I needed to do it at the plate."

Chetock went 4-for-5 with a double and triple as the Panthers had six extra-base hits. Longwell went 3-for-5 and first baseman Tyler Elavsky had three RBI.

The Cardinals had 11 hits, with designated hitter Sam Ankrom going 2-for-3 with a single, double and two RBI and shortstop Ben Miller going 3-for-5 with three doubles and three RBI. Nick Highley, who started the game in right field before moving to third base, and Tommy Hoerauf, who came off the bench to replace Highley in right field, both had two RBI.