Division I Kadena Panthers2016 Far East Tournament finish — Three-time defending champion.Coach — Tom Bell, first season.Key performers — Bryana Alexander, Sr, C; Briana Wilson, Sr., 1B-OF; Yasmine Doss, Jr., 2B-OF; Julia Triplett, Sr., OF; Asha Malachi, Sr., OF; Alex Dunham, Sr., OF; Lauren Erp, Sr., P (moves over from track and field).Outlook — Rebuilding. Panthers were hit hard by transfers and graduation; six starters are gone, including both underclass starting pitchers Savannah Sparrow and Cassidy DeLatte. Wilson remains the team’s cleanup batter; Doss came on strong late last season. Most of the newcomers aren’t new to the game, having experience with the Lady Ambassadors on-island youth club program.
Kubasaki Dragons2016 Far East Tournament finish — Third.Coach — Stephanie Davis, eighth season.Key performers — Reaven East, Sr., P; Leah Bebout, Sr., 2B-P; Madison Richardson, Jr., corner IF; Ceara King, Jr., IF-OF.Outlook — Rebuilding-reloading. The good news: The pitching remains intact with East and Bebout, each four-year veterans of the program. The bad news: Most everybody else is gone, including the region’s best shortstop, Destiny Velarde, who transferred to California mid-year. Still, newer players are showing promise and potential, having matriculated in the Lady Ambassadors club program.
Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils2016 Far East Tournament finish — Fifth.Coach — Katrina Kemper, seventh season.Key performers — Faith Hughes, So., SS; Makaila Mahan, Sr., IF; Mariah Wimberly, Fr., P; Ashley Fitzgerald, Jr., IF.Outlook — Rebuilding-reloading. The good news: Wimberly comes in to anchor the mound, while the infield remains intact. The bad news: Veteran Kayla Germany decided not to play this season. Several younger players battling the veterans for a chance to shine. Wimberly has shown promise early on with three pitching victories on opening weekend.
Seoul American Falcons2016 Far East Tournament finish — Fourth.Coach — Julian Harden, 23rd season.Key performers — Krista Bradley, Jr., IF (Far East D-I Gold Glove); Faith Stehle, So., C (All-Far East); Payton Perryman, Jr., IF; Lauren Scherra, Fr., P-IF (transferred from New York, traveling youth league veteran); Kendall Winn, Fr., IF (transferred from Chesapeake, Va., traveling youth league veteran); Ariana Rivera, Jr., OF (transferred from Daegu); Brenna Hanson, Jr., IF (transferred from Yokota)Outlook — Rebuilding, as the Falcons are feeling the effects of the drawdown at Yongsan Garrison prior to the transformation to Camp Humphreys this summer; Seoul American is due to close after the 2017-18 school year. Harden, the dean of Pacific softball coaches, is trying to blend what few veterans he has left with the influx of youth.Division II
Daegu Warriors2016 Far East Tournament finish — Fourth.Coach — Joy Sims, first season.Key performer — Kennedi Williams, Fr., IF.Outlook — Sims is the team’s fourth coach in four years. Of the 14 players out for the team, eight are new to the game and only three are returning. Sims is developing three pitchers and one catcher. Williams, she says, is a well-rounded athlete and somebody to watch.
E.J. King Cobras2016 Far East Tournament finish — Fifth.Coach — McKinzy Best, sixth season.Key performers — Shiona Lonesky, Sr., P-IF; Sakura Boyd, Jr., C; Jameria Petty, Jr., IF-OF; Haru Bellwood, Jr., IF; Alexandra Adkins, Sr., IF-OF; Mika Poluhowich, Jr., OF; Julianna Betancourt, P-IF (transferred from Naples)Outlook — Reloading-contending. Great potential and a solid veteran core returns, but the team still has much to learn after splitting its openers at Yokota, Best says.
Humphreys Blackhawks2016 Far East Tournament finish — Eighth.Coach — Haley Hartsough, first season.Key performers — Yeorae Kim, Sr., IF.; Tyra Harris, Sr., IF; Kaeleen Castro, Jr., C-IF; Danielle Goering, So, P-C; Capri Leschber, Sr., IF-P; Christina Byun, Jr., IF; Aubrie Brescher, Fr., P-OF.Outlook — Rebuilding, with its fourth coach in four seasons. Many new players, but with plenty of potential, dedication and hustle. Too early to make projections regarding where the Blackhawks will finish in league and Far East, but Hartsough says she’s optimistic.
Matthew C. Perry Samurai2016 Far East Tournament finish —Did not place.Coach — Brad Cramer, first season (assisted last season).Key performers — None provided.Outlook — Rebuilding.
Osan Cougars2016 Far East Tournament finish — Sixth.Coach — David Burgher and Lacie Arb, first season.Key performers — Aly Eitland, Sr., P-C; Samantha Kwasniewski, Jr., middle IF; Stephanie Florintino, So., OF; Heatherly Shepherd, Jr., IF; Lalaine Jose, Sr., IF; Charmie Jose, Sr., OF; Miranda Onofre, Sr., OF (transferred from Thailand).Outlook — Rebuilding, with another new coaching staff and just three returning players. But they’re veterans and while much of the roster is new, they’re also not new to the game. Maybe not in the same category as the 2014 champion Cougars, but coachable, athletic and eager to learn, Burgher says.
Robert D. Edgren Eagles2016 Far East Tournament finish — Second.Coach — Sarah Richardson, ninth season.Key performers — Brittany Crown, Jr., P (2016 D-II Most Outstanding Player); Naomy Montanez, Sr., IF; Sabrina Doria, Jr., C; Shelby Whitter, Jr., IF.Outlook — Rebuilding. Though the Eagles just missed in their second trip to a Far East final, they’re continually hamstrung by late winter weather that hangs around Misawa Air Base well into March. Richardson says her charges continue, despite that, to work hard to be competitive.
Yokota Panthers2016 Far East Tournament finish — Two-time defending champion.Coach — Aracely Diaz, first season.Key performers — Kaia Austin, Sr., SS (two-time D-II MVP); Sally Lambie, Sr., C (All-Far East); Tatum Warminsky, Sr., OF; Ella Riley, Sr., OF; Irene Diaz, Sr., IF-OF-P (transferred from New Mexico); Katie Lambie, Jr., P-IF; Mikaela Jones, So., OF; Jennifer Gueits, Jr., P; Adrianna Diaz, So., IF-P (transferred from New Mexico); Ashley Woodruff, Fr., P; Taylor Peche’, Jr., OF (missed last season with knee injury); Katie Richardson, So., OF (missed last season with injury); Davannae Johnson, Jr., IF (transferred from Montgomery, Ala.).Outlook — Rebuilding around new pitching, but contending for third straight D-II title. Coach and her daughters are new to Yokota, but far from new to the game. If the new players gel with the veterans, a title three-peat remains possible.
Zama Trojans2016 Far East Tournament finish — Third.Coach — Aaron Wells, third season.Key performers — Ally Chiarenza, Sr., C-SS (All-Far East in 2014-15); Paris Hingel, Jr., OF; Ayumi Davis, Sr., OF-1B (All-Far East).Outlook — Reloading-contending for the DODEA-Japan and D-II titles. Bats aplenty dot the first five spots in the lineup and the Trojans broke out of the gates flying in their first three games, getting 18 RBIs from Chiarenza. Biggest question mark is how to replace the pitching of three-year starter Heather Hurley.