JapanNile C. Kinnick Red Devils 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Did not place.Coach — Katrina Kemper, fifth season.Key performers — Ashely Fitzgerald, So., SS; Kayla Germany, So., IF/OF; Lorie Coyne, Jr., OF; Paige Deans, So., OF; Trisha Marigundon, Sr., IF; Madison Battle, Jr., P; Sophia Lowery, So., P; Alohi Lyons, Fr., P. Outlook — Rebuilding for the first time in Kemper’s tenure. Many new faces, and pitching is a big concern, since the Red Devils’ entire staff graduated last June.
OkinawaKubasaki Dragons 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Did not place.Coach — Stephanie Davis, sixth season.Key performers — Allie Powers, Sr., CF-P; Julie Mathis, Sr., OF; Isabella Munoz, Jr., C; Leigh Trumble, Sr., 1B-OF; Alysa Ruiz, So., P-3B; Marissa Roberts, Sr., 1B; Roquandra Johnson, Jr., OF; Reaven East, So., P; Jessica Ramirez, Jr., 2B; Destiny Valverde, Fr., SS; Mercedez Abadia, Jr., C; Chrisel Belin, Sr., OF.Outlook — Reloading-contending. Probably the strongest infield, especially up the middle, that Davis has ever had; Valverde and Ramirez have been playing the game for years. East is the main pitching arm; Dragons hoping to develop others as season progresses. Could give Kadena a strong run for Dragons’ second district title and first Far East D-I title.Kadena Panthers 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Defending champion.Coach — Kelli Wilson, fourth season.Key performers — Asia Abdul, Jr., C; Alicia Vaughan, Sr., 3B-UT; Jazmine Braswell, Sr., 3B; Briana Wilson, So., 1B; Bryana Alexander, So, 2B.; Macalah Danielsen, So., P-SS; Alexis Sparrow, Jr., CF; Victoria Sego, Jr., UT; Rheagan Wyche, Jr., IF (transferred from Daegu High).Outlook — Contending. Pitching is much younger, with Peyton Lettkeman graduated and Bailey Prince transferred. Assuming the pitching develops, the Panthers have the pieces to make a run at their first D-I title in an odd-numbered year; they won Far East titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
South KoreaSeoul American Falcons 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Did not place.Coach — Julian Harden, 21st season.Key performers — Jihye Rhodes, Sr., 2B; Addie Heckerl, Sr., RF; Kayla Fointno, Sr., 1B; Alexis Harrod, Jr., SS; Jeanne Meneses, Jr., C; Harmony Roberts, Sr., UT; Krista Bradley, Fr.; Sierra Burton, Fr.Outlook — Rebuilding. As was the case last year, the Falcons will play the majority of their games against Korea’s Division II teams, but last season, they each had strong pitching; this year, they do not, which Harden says leaves the Falcons “at a loss.”
South KoreaOsan Cougars 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Defending champion.Coach — Betty Brazill, second season (assisted by Eddie Austria and Brian Becker).Key performers — Gabby Austria, Jr.; Tyanhi Austria, Sr.; India Perez, Sr., CF; Andreia Ignacio, Jr., P-SS; Renelyn Joy Patt, So., IF; Riley Daniels, So., OF.Outlook — Rebuilding. Many components from the 2014 title team return, but Cougars will have their hands full replacing their main pitching arm, Ciera Farias, now pitching in Hawaii. Ignacio will attempt to fill that role.Daegu Warriors 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Runner-up.Coach — Marti Gross, second season.Key performers — Cameron Black, Sr., 2B; Jackie Mathews, So., OF; Rachel Johnson, Sr., OF; Taylor Williams, So., 1B; AnaMalae Tia, Jr., P; Lymari Feliu-Ortega, Jr., 3B.Outlook — Rebuilding. Core of the 2013 D-II champion team has graduated or transferred. Only four players return. Tia and Feliu-Ortega should step in and contribute immediately, but it will take some work to get back to the Warriors’ championship form of two seasons ago.Humphreys Blackhawks 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Third.Coach — Althea Walker, first season.Key performers — None provided.Outlook — Still in the throes of starting up, with a second head coach in two seasons. A mix of veterans and new players give Walker hope, she says, for an exciting season.
JapanYokota Panthers 2014 Far East Tournament finish — First season in D-II.Coach — Ty Gaume, second season.Key performers — Shay Brown, Sr., OF; Brittany Little, Sr., OF; Anysia Torres, Jr., P-CF; Kaia Austin, So., SS; Sally Lambie, So., C; Tabitha Trigler, So., 1B; Taylor Peche, Fr. UT.Outlook — Contending, at least for Far East D-II. Depth in the bullpen and behind the plate may be a concern, but Gaume says if they accomplish that, the Panthers may make some noise in their first year as a small-school team.E.J. King Cobras 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Did not place.Coach — McKinzy Best, fourth season.Key performers — Emily Patterson, Sr.; Shiona Lonesky, So.; Jaenalyn Laurente, Jr.; Jerikah Embry, Sr.Outlook — Rebuilding. Just four returners, including two upperclassmen, and mostly freshmen populate the rest of the team.Robert D. Edgren Eagles 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Did not place.Coach — Sarah Richardson, seventh season.Key performers — Alyssa Rodriguez, Naomy Montanez, Courtney Ruble.Outlook — Snow will keep the Eagles confined indoors and won’t be able to practice outside until April, as is always the case. But with seven freshmen new to softball out of 14 total players, “I have my work cut out for me this season,” Richardson said. Three players expected to return will likely not, she said.Zama Trojans 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Did not place.Coach — Aaron Wells, first season.Key performers — Felicia Salcido, Jr.; Erin Chase, Sr.; Jane Smithers, Sr., IF (transferred from Kinnick); Ally Chiarenza, So.; Kay-Lea Mancuso, Fr., P-UT; Kimani Ferguson, Fr., P-UT; Nova Rivera, Fr.Outlook — Rebuilding. Third coach in four seasons for the Trojans, who bring back a good core of leaders – Smithers won a D-I title with Kinnick in 2013 – and the freshmen bring high-level talent and are “welcome additions” to the team, Wells said.Matthew C. Perry Samurai 2014 Far East Tournament finish — Did not place.Coach — Kevin Peterson, third season.Key performers — Tiarra Blanco, Jr., C; Tenacity Clayton, Sr., 3B; Kara Bokamper, Sr., CF; Heidi Thomas, Sr., P; Alexis Mojica, So., SS; Monica Grant, Sr., 1B; Kaede Goble, So., 2B; Naomi Guillory, Fr., RF.Outlook — Hoping to take the next step beyond rebuilding into contending status. Most experienced team the Samurai have fielded since their 2013 reboot, one that Peterson says he feels can be a “force to be reckoned with.”