After three years of pitching at Mihoshi Academy, Mihashi Ren has lost his confidence. Despite being the team’s ace, he has found limited success. As the losses piled up, he became ostracized from his teammates. They believed that Mihashi became the ace due to nepotism and Kanou Shuugo was the better pitcher and the rightful heir to the title of ace.
Wanting a fresh start, Mihashi decides to attend high school elsewhere. He enrolls in Nishiura Prefectural High School in Saitama prefecture. Even though the school has a newly formed baseball program, Mihashi decides that he won’t join. He only wants to pitch, but he feels that he is not good enough to pitch in high school.
Unable to deny his love of baseball, Mihashi decides to watch the team practice. As he approaches the field, he is surprised by the manager, Momoe Maria. In spite of his protests, she excitedly grabs him and ushers him towards the field. Before he has time to flee, she asks his name and position. He meekly replies that he is a pitcher. She enthusiastically tells the rest of the team that they have finally found their pitcher and have a complete team.
Spoiling the good news, one of the team members, Hanai Azusa, tells Momoe that he won’t be joining the team after all. Flippantly, he tells her that he would rather quite than play baseball for a female manager. Rather than argue with Hanai, Momoe begins to show him her baseball skills. She impresses the entire team with her bat control and uncanny strength.
As the rest of the team watches Momoe, the team’s catcher, Abe Takaya, asks Mihashi what kind of pitches he knows. Immediately, Mihashi begins to cry and says that he wants to quit the team too. He explains that he isn’t a good pitcher and it would be better if he left. Hanai accuses him of false modesty, but Mihashi insists that it is the truth.
Mihashi tells the others that his grandfather owned Mihoshi Academy and that was the only reason he was made the ace of the team. Even though he wasn’t doing well and his teammates wanted him to quit, Mihashi refused to give up the mound. Due to his stubbornness, the team continued to lose and his teammates began to hate baseball. He tells his new teammates that he doesn’t want the same thing to happen at his new school.
Unperturbed by the outburst, Abe tells Mihashi that he has the right attitude to be a good pitcher. He explains that a good pitcher should never want to leave a game and never give up the mound unless he has to. Despite his past, Abe still believes that Mihashi can become a good pitcher.
With his confidence renewed, Mihashi agrees to try pitching. It is immediately clear that his pitches are incredibly slow, even for someone of his age. Hanai can’t help but laugh at the seemingly ineffectual pitch, but Abe is more impressed. He can see that, despite his lack of power, he understands pitching better than most.
In an attempt to boost Mihashi’s confidence, and to goad Hanai into remaining on the team, Abe proposes a challenge. He tells Hanai that Mihashi will be able to get him out three times. Unimpressed by what he has seen, Hanai agrees to the challenge. He is confident that he will easily be able to hit any of Mihashi’s pitches out of the park. Unfortunately, Mihashi also feels the same way.
Abe tells Mihashi that as long as he follows his signs, he will be successful. Reluctantly, Mihashi agrees. Much to Mihashi’s surprise, it appears to work. With each successful pitch Mihashi begins to gain more confidence and trusts in Abe’s signs.
Mihashi quickly racks up two outs, forcing Hanai to hit a simple ground ball to third, followed by a pop fly in the infield, leaving only one out remaining. As the battery works for that final out, Abe calls for a high fastball. Even though it is a basic pitch, Hanai is completely surprised by its behavior. Instead of falling, as a normal fastball would, the pitch appears to float, throwing off Hanai’s swing.
Angrily, Hanai demands to know what kind of pitch it was, not believing Abe when he tells him it was just a fastball. Abe explains that Mihashi does not have a traditional fastball. Instead, he only knows breaking balls, meaning that his fastball is actually a breaking pitch. Even though Mihashi lacks power and a true fastball, the movement on his pitches is exceptional and his control is impressive. Abe insists that Mihashi can be a great pitcher, and with enough offense and defense, they will be able to go to Koshien, Japan’s national high school baseball tournament.
Mihashi spoils the mood by saying that the goal is impossible. Momoe interrupts the group, tells Mihashi that he needs to gain more confidence since they will be playing a practice game against his former teammates from Mihoshi Academy. Mihashi immediately begins to panic from the news.
|Ren Mihashi ( x ) ( x ) ( x )||
|Maria Momoe ( x ) ( x ) ( x )||
|Takaya Abe ( x ) ( x ) ( x )||
|Azusa Hanai ( x ) ( x ) ( x )||
|Tsuyoshi Shiga ( x ) ( x ) ( x )||
|Chiyo Shinooka ( x ) ( x ) ( x )||
|Yuuichirou Tajima ( x ) ( x ) ( x )||
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