Ashley SmithGirls softball

Pusan American, South Korea

Last week: Starred on the mound in pacing the Panthers to their first DODDS-Korea league victories in school history.

Smith, a freshman, pitched 13 1/3 innings, faced 65 batters, gave up eight hits and four earned runs for a 2.10 ERA, walked just five and struck out 22 as the Panthers downed Seoul American 14-9 and 11-10, rallied past Taegu American 6-5 and the Osan American Cougars 8-6. The 4-0 start put the Panthers in first place for the first time in school history.

“She is dedicated to her sport and is extremely coachable,” coach Dana Cottrell said. “We have never coached a ballplayer so ready and desiring to improve herself. Her intrinsic motivation is exceptional. Ashley will only get better as the year goes on. She is a natural leader on our team.”

Wataru SmileyBaseball

Kubasaki, Okinawa

Last week: Pitched the Dragons to a history-making victory over the Kadena Panthers on Saturday, opening day of the first season for Okinawa baseball under the DODDS umbrella.

Smiley, a freshman right-hander, was only supposed to go two innings, but coach Randy Toor let him pitch into the seventh, surviving six walks and striking out seven as Kubasaki pounded Kadena 18-4. It was the first time in 13 tries for the Dragons to beat the Panthers dating back to the 2003 season.

“He’s respectful, he’s very coachable and he’s always hustling,” Toor said. “He’s the sort of guy you’d want more than one of on your team. If he improves and spots his pitches, he’s only going to get better.”

— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff

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