Addison Barnouski plays softball because she loves the sport, and all of the people in it.
“I started playing when I was five,” said the O’Fallon senior on Tuesday.
Next fall, the Southeast Missouri University recruit will be toeing the rubber for the Red Hawks.
Growing up, the O’Fallon 17-year-old still remembers watching her older sister, Taylor Barnouski, compete on the mound.
“I always wanted to be just like her,” Barnouski said.
“Without my sister and my parents (Becky and Tony Barnouski), I wouldn’t be continuing my dream of playing Divison I softball.”
Taylor Barnouski is now a senior at McKendree University in Lebanon, and is a pitcher/outfielder on the Bearcats softball team.
Taylor earlier helped lead O'Fallon High School to four IHSA Regional championships and two conference championships.
This spring, Addison hopes to lead O’Fallon to a Regional championship.
“It’s been so long since we’ve won a regional championship,” she said.
But O’Fallon might be able to achieve that goal, thanks to Barnouski.
She entered Tuesday’s contest against Granite City with a 7-2 record and a miniscule 1.11 ERA. She also has 74 strikeouts in 57 innings.
At the plate, Barnouski leads O’Fallon in almost every hitting category, including average (.500) home runs (1) and RBIs (11).
“I feel my hitting comes more natural as a result of me being a pitcher,” she said.
“I read pitchers all of the time.”
On Thursday of last week, she helped lead O’Fallon to a 9-7 win over rival Belleville East. Barnouski had two hits, and a RBI and stolen base in the win.
On the mound, Barnouski also picked the win, while fanning eight Lancers’ hitters.
“In the four years we have gone to play at Belleville East, we always lost,” she said. “Some times, we were way ahead in the game, before we ended up losing.”
But this year, O’Fallon was able reverse its fortune thanks in part to the play of Barnouski.
“And that’s very exciting,” said Barnouski who can throw five pitches (fastball, screwball, riser, curveball and backdoor curveball) for strikes.
She was earlier heavily recruited by a number of colleges. She also received college offers from St. Louis University, SIU-Edwardsville and SIU-Carbondale.
She, however, ended up choosing SEMO because she really liked the Red Hawks’ coaching staff, and the campus.
At SEMO, she also plans to major elementary education.
Barnouski said she decided to major in education in college, after she attended an autism camp last summer.
“It was such a fun experience,” she said.
Barnouski also enjoys playing softball “because it’s “such a fun experience.”
But she has no intention of playing her sister in a softball anytime soon.
“She’d probably strike me out,” Barnouski said and laughed.