COLLINSVILLE — It was a tough day for pitchers, but O'Fallon's Addison Barnouski battled through it.
Barnouski retired Collinsville in order in the final two innings as the Panthers held off the Kahoks 12-9 Tuesday in the Southwestern Conference softball opener for both squads.
The two teams combined for 26 hits -- 16 for the Panthers and 10 for Kahoks -- in a game that was played in an intermittent rain.
"The weather conditions allowed that to happen, and it was a matter of whichever team fought the hardest," O'Fallon coach Kelly Paproth said. "We've been dealing with it all season long. We've played some cold games, some wet games. They're getting that experience, and they're getting good at dealing with tough situations. They're fighters."
Barnouski helped her own cause by going 4-for-5 with three doubles and three runs scored at the plate.
"I felt good about hitting," Barnouski said. "I just saw the ball and hit it. It felt right."
Sami Stadts went 3-for-4 with three singles and two RBIs and Taylor Underwood went 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored for the Panthers, who improved to 8-3.
"Up and down the lineup, everybody pulls their weight," Paproth said.
The Kahoks, whose record dropped to 4-1, trailed 10-2 before rallying for seven runs in the fifth inning.
"That's a step that we needed to take," Collinsville coach Cindy Kolda said. "Of course, it would have been great to come away with a 'W' there, but the fact that they came back and showed they weren't going to fold is huge. That game was a character builder if anything else."
Sophomore Caitlyn Brombolich started for the game for the Kahoks. She was relieved by sophomore Addison Wickiser in the top of the second inning.
Wickiser went the rest of the way.
"I think it was a good learning day for some of my girls," Kolda said. "Addison Wickiser going out there in these conditions playing a very good team, I can't say she didn't walk away learning something from that game. That is going to pay off in the long run."
The Panthers got a run in the first inning when Stadts singled, stole second and scored on a single by Becca Proper.
Jessica Ledford tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kassidy Smith as the Kahoks tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the first
Stadts had a two-run single during a three-run, second-inning rally as the Panthers went up 4-1.
The Kahoks got a run in the bottom of the second when Becky Gibbs singled and came around to score on singles by Sarah Scrum and Audrey Allard.
Molly Dumstorff had a sacrifice fly in the third inning and Underwood and Dumstorff had RBI singles during a five-run uprising in the fourth inning as the Panthers went up 10-2.
Ledford had a three-run double and Gibbs had a RBI triple to highlight the Kahoks' seven-run rally in the fifth.
"I just threw the pitches that were called, and if they hit it, I wanted to count on my defense to get it," Barnouski said of her mindset after the Kahoks closed the gap to 10-9. "It was nerve-racking when they came back, but I knew my defense would back me up."
Underwood and Barnouski hit back-to-back doubles to start the sixth inning as the Panthers pushed across two insurance runs.
The last seven Collinsville hitters put the ball in play, but the Panthers' defense made the play on all of them.
"I think we hit the ball really well all day," Kolda said. "I don't think they fell except for that inning. I think we put the ball in play. She's O'Fallon's ace, and anytime you score nine runs on O'Fallon's ace, you have to call it a good day and hopefully we'll give up less runs next time."
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.