Ep 13: Summer’s Big Start


An exhausted Shinooka runs onto the field. She hands over the Tosei data she worked so hard to collect, before collasping in Momoe’s arms. Coach Momoe calls Abe and Hanai to analyze the data with her and instructs Tajima to work the bullpen. Abe tells a fidgeting Mihashi that Tajima will do fine, since it is only for practice. Mihashi, however, is not worried over that. He runs to get a block of wood and shows that he is now able to do his wind up perfectly on top of it. Instead of praising him, Abe asks him if this is what he has been doing after their late night practices. Abe gives him noogies after he answers that he only does it during lunch breaks at school.

Mihashi sulks, thinking that Abe is angry with him. Tajima dismisses that idea because to him Abe did not sound angry at all. After seeing that the #1 on Mihashi’s uniform is starting to fade, Tajima volunteers to fix it. This gesture cheers Mihashi up. He expresses his thanks to Tajima, and both go off happily to practice.

The evening before the tournament opening ceremonies, Hanai’s mother phones Mihashi’s mother. A fatigued Mihashi struggles to make his way to the bath while his mom talks on the phone. Afterwards, Mihashi’s plea for dinner is left unheard as his mother continues to talk. The mothers wind up their conversation after agreeing to meet the next day. Finding Mihashi fast asleep, his mother goes to tend to more pressing matters—charging the battery of their video camera.

At the opening of the Summer Tournament, Shinooka meets up with a friend in the bleachers. After their small talk on Shinooka’s tan and about the Nishiura boys (Shinooka denies liking anyone), the speakers start to blare—the opening ceremony is about to start!

Outside the stadium, the different teams prepare themselves for the parade. Tajima wonders where Tosei is, since they should be assembling behind them. Izumi explains that normally that would be the case. However, since Tosei was last year’s champions, they are already inside the stadium at front and center.

After spotting the ace of another team, Mihashi looks at his own #1 with pride. He looks again and sees the same person, but his #1 has seemingly changed to #2! Mihashi, with a panic, takes off his jersey to make sure that the #1 on his back is still there. His panic caused quite a stir. He did not notice that he was looking at twins, Ryou and Aoi of Kasukabe.

Waiting for their turn, Tajima is pleasantly surprised to find out that Mihashi is not nervous. With Hanai’s signal, the Nishiura team starts counting as they march confidently into the field.

After the ceremony, Momoe exchanges introductions with Hanai's and Mihashi’s mothers. Momoe reveals that Hanai is very responsible and has done a lot to help her as coach. Hanai’s mother reveals that her son was also team captain during middle school. Mihashi’s mother asks about her son and confesses that she was not able to catch any of his games during middle school. Momoe tells her that Mihashi is really good and that from this point on, there will be many chances to see him in action. The mothers express their thanks and inform Momoe that they will be rounding up the other parents and will help with the snacks as well.

With the sun setting, Hamada and two of his friends make their way to the baseball field. As soon as Hamada steps onto the field, Tajima greets him and compliments him on his uniform. Hamada proceeds to introduce the two new members of the cheering squad, who were his classmates last year. In addition, he informs that 200 more people have agreed to come and cheer for them tomorrow.

Izumi wonders if Hamada feels warm wearing the uniform. Hamada admits that it's warm, but it looks good, is the appropriate attire, and it also conceals his elbow. This makes Hanai rather curious. Hamada confesses to have an injury called the “little league elbow.” Hanai looks concerned, but Izumi says Hamada can still do a lot of things and even swing a bat and if really wanted to play baseball seriously, he would have seen a doctor by now. He adds Hamada is not worth worrying about.

While Hamada is attacking Izumi, Hanai questions whether Hamada would be satisfied just cheering from the sidelines. He reflects on how much Hamada has contributed to the team. He takes off his hat, bows low, and thanks him with all earnestness. Izumi and Hanai go help with field maintenance. Sakaeguchi suggests Izumi ask Hamada to join the club, but Izumi sasys Hamada said he wouldn't be able to keep up.

Hamada's cheer squad buddies chide Hamada for fooling Hanai and gaining his sympathy. Hamada denies it. They also ask if they know the real reason why Hamada repeated a year. Hamada says how the players are so innocent and his friends agree that there's no need to reveal his sordid past. Hamada adds he is grateful that both of them agreed to join the squad.

Abe scolds Mihashi for not familiarizing himself with the Tosei batters, even though the data was given to him a week ago. Abe hands Mihashi the data sheet for him to study. Suddenly, Abe kicks a bench nearby and frightens a sleepy Mihashi. Before Abe could get into another round of scolding, Mihashi defends that since Abe is around, all he needs to do is just throw. There is no need for him to know about the batters. Furthermore, Mihashi trusts in Abe’s judgment. Although he is happy that Mihashi trusts him, Abe also understands the burden and responsibility that comes with that trust.

In the Tosei camp, Kazuki calls it a day. He takes this chance to thank Junta for working with him in the battery. He also asks for all the team’s help in tomorrow’s match.

Next day, the Nishiura team arrives at the Asagiri Central Park Baseball Stadium.

Little League Elbow is a common injury among young pitchers. This happens when a player overexerts himself too much by throwing too many pitches or throwing them the wrong way. Since the muscles and bones are still heavily developing at this stage of a player’s life, doctors strongly urge parents to not put too much pressure on a budding baseball player.

Generally, one can easily recover from this condition through ample rest and physical therapy. In Hamada’s case, since he continued to play during middle school, he never gave his arm a chance to recover. It's possible that because of this, he can no longer recover from his injury.

Further reading:
Little League Elbow Injuries @ Dental and Health Articles
Little League Elbow @ Main Line Health Library
Little League Elbow @ ESPN Training Room
Little League Elbow: Is Your Child At Risk? @ Medical News Today

Where was Momoe during the ceremony?

Nishiura is #84 and Tosei is #85 in the lottery.

Manga Cuts:
Omake 1: Ren returns from biking to Rusty Creek. His dad hugs him and tells him it doesn’t exist anymore. He builds Ren the target after this.

Omake2: The Mihashi family and the Hanai family watch the video recording of the opening ceremony.