In this final episode, in this final inning, Eijun takes the mound for the underclassmen, who have just tied it up.
What They Say:
I want to pitch to that mitt again… A meeting with catcher Kazuya Miyuki changed the 15-year-old Eijun Sawamura’s life. He said goodbye to all his friends and knocked upon the door of Seidou, a prestigious baseball school, intent on testing his own strength. There, he met many proud baseball players who were betting everything on the sport! A classic tale, yet new and fresh. All the emotion and excitement of the popular baseball manga is at last coming to television in the form of an anime!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s the bottom of the ninth and the underclassmen have just tied the game. The scrappy southpaw for Seidou is on the mound, but he’s been having some trouble lately. His trademark inside pitches haven’t been hitting the mark and tend to just go straight down the middle. With someone like Furuya, you can get away with that every so often because of the speed and power behind the pitch, but Eijun doesn’t have that same kind of power. He relies a lot of what little technique and control he has and he’s lost it after the Inashiro game in the regional finals. But his mentor is at bat, pinch hitting for Miyauchi.
The first pitch moves inside just a little bit and Chris swings late. He says Eijun’s pitch doesn’t even move at 130 kph, which is just at 80 mph. You can’t make it in the major leagues if that’s your only pitch, but Eijun is still in high school. He’ll get stronger and that pitch will get faster. The type of pitcher he is, though, it’ll probably peak in the low 90s at his prime. I did a bit of research on some top pitchers in Major League Baseball and the slowest pitch I found among a few elite pitchers (Samardzija, Lester, Wainwright, Tanaka, and Darvish) was Tanaka’s curveball at 74 mph. In comparison, Eijun’s best pitch is the cutter, which let’s say tops out at about 85 mph if he’s really giving it everything. Wainwright’s cutter (supposedly the best in the game) averages 87 mph, maybe getting to the low 90s sometimes. But these guys are professionals. Let’s cut down each average by 5–10 mph and they’re hitting Eijun’s numbers, though he’s still a little slow. It truly is his technique and pitching motion that messes everyone else up.
Kazuya says he’s going to focus on the outside pitch while calling no inside pitches, at least for this practice game. The first pitch low and outside is a called ball with Chris looking. The second low and outside pitch, Chris sees and swings hard, but it’s a pop fly to second base for an easy first out. With that pitch, Eijun’s alive again. Now there’s a man on first and two outs. The final ball goes to short stop for the easy ground out at first. …At least that’s the indication. The coach calls for extra innings and the team switches around with Isashiki on the mound and Chris behind the plate. The final innings aren’t shown, but both sides put up a fight with no runs allowed until the 14th, a walk off by the third years.
But that’s not what this was about. The wins and losses don’t matter in these practice games, as they say in Kuroko’s. What matters is when you get on the big stage. The team before they played the third years may not have been prepared for the fall Koushien tournament, but the team that came out of there is as ready as it can be. Eijun has some spring back in his step, Furuya is as motivated as ever, and Kawakami is the steady hand as he’s been all throughout. If necessary, they can bring in the former pitcher Tojo, but I’m sure that’s a last resort if it’ll even come to it.
So ends the first season of Ace of the Diamond, but a second season was announced and is continuing next week! Same time as far as I know, and I’m hyped for it. These episodes off from a huge game like the Inashiro one was exactly what the show needed and, more importantly, what the team needed. Going straight into another game after that would be disheartening and likely start a downward spiral. A test like the Yakushi game was a perfect eye opener for their hitting, against a power hitting Yakushi team, and for Eijun’s pitching, which is struggling on the inside after the bean ball.
But just as Chris says, Eijun is a guy who’ll bounce back. The outside pitches will give him confidence and it’s hard to compare him to Furuya, who goes for the Ks. Eijun pitches to contact, like Mark Buehrle, and has to have a strong defense behind him to do so. Well, here’s his strong defense. Get ready to see balls flying.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Equipment: PS3, LG 47LB5800 47” 1080p LED TV, LG NB3530A Sound Bar