Fueled by the memory of a lopsided loss a month ago, the O'Fallon Panthers softball team got a little payback on Thursday at O'Fallon City Park.
Sophomore Allison Underwood sparked an O'Fallon rally with a key double and Sami Stadts' run scoring single in the sixth inning proved to be the difference as O'Fallon defeated Belleville East 3-2 in a Southwestern Conference softball game.
Tied with East for a share of the SWC lead entering play on Thursday, O'Fallon trailed 2-1 when Underwood lined Lancers' hurler Allison Mitts first pitch in the sixth inning for a double.
Leadoff hitter Sam Busekrus then singled and Underwood headed for home with the potential tying run. On a close play at the plate, Underwood was first called out then ruled safe when Lancers catcher Andrea Roberts was called for obstruction.
Busekrus advanced to second base on the play then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan DeRemer.
Stadts followed with a single through a drawn up Lancers infield for her game-winning hit.
When O'Fallon hurler Addison Barnouski retired the Lancers in the seventh inning -- exactly one month after losing at Belleville East 13-0 -- the Panthers had a huge win.
"Yes, we were very motivated today. We really wanted to win this game and we want to win the (Southwestern) conference,'' Underwood said. "It was a real battle all day. Our team just kept its confidence and when I got that double I knew that the next person behind me would come through.
"I believe she (Mitts) threw me a fastball. First pitch, I just wanted to hit the ball hard.''
The win moves O'Fallon to 10-2 in the SWC and 20-9 overall. East, which lost at Edwardsville 3-1 on Tuesday, falls to 9-3 in league play and 20-6 for the season.
O'Fallon interim head coach Kelly Paproth was pleased with the way her team fought back after falling 2-1 after 4 1/2 innings.
"We came out ready to go. We were locked in and we've been working on getting ready for the end of the season and the postseason here,'' Paproth said. "Even when we struggled a little bit today we were able to call upon our experience to help get us through. It was a good performance by everybody. They all came ready to play.''
Pitching and defense dominated the early going. The Panthers and Lancers combined to turn four double plays -- two each -- through the first four innings.
O'Fallon took a 1-0 lead in the third inning without the benefit of a hit.
With two outs, Busekrus walked, stole second base and went to third on a wild pitch.
With a 2-2 count on DeRemer, Mitts was called for a balk and Busekrus walked home. The play was just a continuation of what had been a long week for East coach Natalie Peters and her team.
"I didn't see where Allison lifted her arms, but he (the umpire) saw what he saw,'' Peters said. "I thought Allison pitched well. She maybe walked a few more hitters then she usually does, but she did fine.
"The last few days our bats have gone cold. That's the difference. We just need to start hitting again. But yes, its been a tough week.''
The Lancers only offense came in the fifth inning. Rebecca Dahm walked with one out and Annie Eversman followed with a single.
Dahm tied the game at 1 when she scored on a Panthers error and Eversman made it 2-1 when Haley Wroten drew a bases loaded walk.