Ep 15: First Point
Mihashi easily strikes out Mashiba, a freshman and Tosei’s first batter. Back at the bench, Rio pokes fun at Mashiba’s not-so-stellar performance at the plate. The Tosei coach calls over Mashiba and asks him to explain himself. The coach hints that if Mashiba does not make good on his next turn at bat, he may ask Rio to substitute for him.
Kazuki tries to lighten Junta’s mood, who seems to be quiet and stiff. Kazuki is only slightly concerned as he believes that Junta will definitely come out of this with a win. Meanwhile, on the field, Tajima catches a fly ball, sending the second Tosei batter out.
Next, Shimazaki Shingo takes up bat. Abe thinks he'll be the hardest to handle. Hedecides on an outside slider. Shingo does not swing and it's a ball. Abe notices Shingo’s slight change of footing, possibly signifying that he will be hitting from here onwards. Shingo hits an outside curve ball to the right foul territory. Hanai chases it and dives for the catch, ending the first inning. On his way back to the dugout, Shingo recognizes that the right fielder who got him out is Nishiura’s captain. He tells himself that, next time, he is going to hit it to left field.
Tajima commends Mihashi’s good pitching, having ended the inning with a mere 6 pitches. Abe summons Mihashi to come and take shelter as it starts to rain. Abe wonders why Mihashi’s cheeks are unusually rosy. He instructs him to change clothes immediately.
Mihashi reflects on how the last batter hit the ball well, making it not so hard to imagine that the next batters will be as skilled, if not better. However, Mihashi is convinced that with the help of his teammates, he can strike out Tosei. Feeling the power pulsing through him, he begins to shiver and swears that he will pitch well until the end.
Based on Tajima and Izumi’s advice, a fork, straight, or slider would be manageable for Hanai. After the first pitch, Hanai realizes that the Tosei pitcher is anxious. Seeing how Momoe did not give him specific instructions at bat, he decides to just wing it if a good ball comes his way. Surely enough, Hanai bats the next pitch into middle field and gets on base. He gushes as Tajima praises him for his batting.
Momoe accounts that the same strategy they used in the first inning will no longer work. If they end up with two outs and a man on third, they cannot leave it up to Mihashi, the eigth batter. In order for them to reach Abe, the ninth batter, Oki (sixth) and Mizutani (seventh) will have to get on base.
After a tensed Junta pitches a dangerously high ball to Oki, Hanai evades a pickoff attempt. Knowing that the Tosei pitcher is flustered, Momoe signals Oki to wait it out. Junta pitches yet another ball and brings the count to two balls no strikes.
After another failed pickoff attempt, Tajima calls for a timeout because Hanai’s shoelace is untied. Tajima orders Hanai to run to second at his signal. A hesitant Hanai takes a far lead from first. As soon as Junta commits to pitching, Tajima gives the signal. Hanai makes a run for it and steals second! The Nishiura players are quite sure that Momoe did not sign off for a steal; it was all Tajima’s idea. Hanai steadies himself and is amazed at how fast Tajima was able to pick up the pitcher’s motion.
Junta’s slump continues as Oki draws a walk from him. Despite his mounting frustrations, Junta tries to get a grip of himself as he prepares to face the next batter, Mizutani. With a man on first and second, both Momoe and Mizutani know that Kazuki will call for a slider. As predicted, Mizutani gets a slider and connects with a line drive. However, Shingo intercepts it, which ends in a double play! The Nishiura cheering squad does not lose faith and rallies the audience. They start to chant Mihashi’s name.
As Abe readies himself for the pitch, Mihashi eyes second base intently. Noticing that Mihashi has too big of a lead off, Kazuki calls for a pickoff. Tosei tries to corner Mihashi, but as they close in on him, Hanai dashes to home base. Shingo tackles and tags out Mihashi as Hanai slides for a run. Which came first?
Notes: Since Oki is left-handed, it's hard for the catcher to throw to second base, allowing Hanai to steal..
Manga Cuts: no significant differences