After struggling through a pair of losses in the first week of the season, the OTHS softball team finally broke the jinx, blasting their way to a 14-10 victory over Lebanon on Monday afternoon.
The Lady Panther bats showed some signs of life last week in a 7-4 loss to Waterloo, but against Lebanon an additional power boost—one that included a pair of home runs—was enough to secure OTHS’ first win of the 2015 campaign.
Coach Kelly Paproth’s squad began the week with a disappointing loss to the Waterloo Bulldogs. Falling behind early, the Lady Panthers mounted a spirited comeback in their final at-bat, but it was not enough to offset the early offense produced by the visitors.
Waterloo jumped on O’Fallon starter Addison Barnouski for four runs in the top of the first. The Panther right-hander settled down after the shaky start, blanking the Bulldogs over the next three frames. During Waterloo’s scoring hiatus, O’Fallon could not solve the offerings of Bulldog starter Kasey Bradley. O’Fallon managed to get one of the runs back in the bottom of the third, but Waterloo countered with two in the top of the fifth and another in the sixth to increase the advantage to 7-1.
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In the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Panthers tried to make it interesting. Sami Stadts supplied the key hit in a 3-run rally, but the run production was too little and too late for the O’Fallon girls to overcome Waterloo’s lead.
On Monday, the OTHS girls traveled to Lebanon and returned home with a record much more to their liking. Putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard in two of the first three innings, the Lady Panthers appeared intent on putting the game in the win column early; however, O’Fallon starter Alex Lloyd was roughed up for eight runs in the Greyhounds’ third inning, cutting a substantial 11-2 O’Fallon lead to just a single run.
With the double-digit advantage erased, Addison Barnouski came to the rescue, relieving Lloyd and not allowing another Lebanon run the rest of the way. The Panther hurler struck out nine and issued only one free pass in four innings of work.
The OTHS offense rewarded the Panther right-hander for her game-saving effort by plating two additional runs in their final at-bat. Ginger Huskey and Stadts paced the Panther offensive attack, each pounding out three hits in five plate appearances.
Huskey drove in four runs with two doubles and a triple. The long ball was also part of the Panthers’ repertoire. Barnouski and Jordan DeRemer clouted round-trippers. All the offensive fireworks were needed for the O’Fallon girls to secure a 14-10 victory.
The Lady Panthers will need to be hitting on all cylinders during the upcoming week as they begin a full slate of Southwestern Conference games starting with Collinsville, East St. Louis and Belleville East.