Ep 22: Defend!
Bottom of the eighth, Mihashi strikes out Aoki with four straight fastballs for the first out. Kazuki watches the first fastball and misses the second. He swings as if to hit a curveball and fouls off the next fastball. He tries it again and hits a curveball for a single. He thinks how they switched to the curveball as soon as they realized he was focused on the fastball and that Abe has the right stuff to be a catcher.
Abe's wonders if Tosei is still focused on hitting curveballs. Momoe signals to go for a double play. Abe signals for a curve. Instead of bunting, it's a hit and run. Kazuki gets a head start to second, while Motoyama hits pass the infielders. It's one out with men on first and second. Junta fakes a bunt and hits the curveball pass Tajima. Abe tries to block the home plate, but Kazuki slides and pushes him off. Kazuki scores and Tosei leads 4-3! Kazuki thinks Abe's blocking is weak.
Yamanoi squares to bunt with runners on first and third. Momoe signals for a pitch outside. The runners don't move. The second pitch is hit back at Mihashi's head. Mihashi retrieves the ball from behind, but seems baffled as to what to do next. Abe shouts for him to throw the ball to him. He hesitates before throwing. This time Abe successfully blocks the plate, stopping Tosei from increasing their lead. Abe angrily glares at Mihashi, requests a timeout, then runs up to him and grabs him by the collar, scolding him for hesitating to throw him the ball. Sakaeguchi intervenes. Tajima explains that Mihashi was afraid the big runner was going to blow away Abe. This show of concern infuriates Abe more. Abe tells him that he will not get injured. Finally, Abe lets go of Mihashi, leaving him on the brink of tears. Tajima reassures Mihashi that Abe is no longer angry. Mihashi recalls Abe’s promise that he will not get injured for the next three years.
Maekawa strikes out on three fastballs for the third out. Kazuki notes that all hits were off the curve and no one really hit the fastball.
At the Nishiura dugout, Abe tells Mihashi that he is no longer angry. He also instructs him to conserve his strength for the last inning. Tajima thinks that if they don’t tie it, then there would be no need for them to defend. Abe gets ready to bat.