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The Catcher's Role (キャッチャーの役割 Kyāchā no Yakuwari) also known as "Catcher Duty" is the second chapter of the manga.

SynopsisEdit

Coach Momoe's efforts for the team, the newly-developed bonds between the players, the gathered knowledge and showed skills. The game's about to start !

SummaryEdit

The chapter begins with Coach Momoe cleaning a window as part of her part-time job. She realizes that she has saved enough money for the baseball club and is happy that they will be going to training camp the next day.

The chapter cuts to the next day where the team is on the way to training camp on a bus. Tajima suddenly shouts out that he forgot to masturbate, causing some of his teammates to pin him down to the chair and yell at him to be quiet since there is a woman (Shino'oka, their new manager) on the bus.

Abe and Hanai discuss the 3 at-bat challenge, Hanai clearly expressing both an inferiority complex toward Tajima, and a feeling of disappointment in himself, until Mr.Shiga approaches Abe and asks him if he could give some medicine to Mihashi. Abe asks why and Shiga tells him that Mihashi looks up to Abe and that he should take care of his pitcher. Abe tells Mihashi that if he knew that he gets motion sickness then he should have taken medicene before they left. Mihashi thanks Abe and tells him that this is not normal for him. He tells Abe that he hasn't been sleeping lately because he is worried about what Coach Momoe said about his personality. Abe thinks that Mihashi wouldn't be able to change his personality easily but would rather have him as their pitcher if he can put up with Mihashi's annoying personality.

When the team gets to the training camp Coach Momoe told them that they were going to clean the house and then gather some wild plants to make their own dinner. The scene cuts to Nishiura busily cleaning the place. Everyone is hard at work except for Mihashi who doesn't know what to do.

Afterwards when team leaves to find some plants, Mihashi and Abe are asked to do something else by Coach Momoe. She asks Mihashi what his max speed is and he tells her that it's 62 mph. Coach Momoe laughs at him, and Abe says that Mihashi's control makes up for his lack of speed. Coach Momoe asks Mihashi to do his windup on-top of a block of wood. Mihashi tries to but falls down on the first try, which makes Coach Momoe laugh at him again. Coach Momoe instructs Abe to put on a helmet and hands Mihashi a speed gun. Coach Momoe pitches and it measures a 75 mph. Coach Momoe told him that he could probably throw the same speed as they were almost the same height.

Coach Momoe gives Mihashi a dumbbell and tells him to hold it and throw a ball. Coach Momoe tells Abe that they cannot go that far with just decent control and some breaking balls. Abe says they can go as far as they want. Coach Momoe tells him that he doesn't know the catcher's role and flicks him in the head.

Mihashi says that he is ready, and Abe gets into position. Mihashi tries to throw but the dumbbell is too heavy so he can't turn his body properly. He still throws the ball and falls over. The ball misses Abe's mitt completely, but the speed was 6 mph higher than normal. Abe, however, is not happy with this and says that they do not need a wild pitcher. Mihashi says that'll he work hard to pitch with good speed and control. Abe yells at Mihashi saying that if he throws with all his power that he wouldn't be able to hit all 9 sections in the strike zone.

Coach Momoe asks Mihashi how much he knows about Mihoshi's Pitcher (Kanō). He tells them that his strikeout pitch is the forkball. Mihashi remembers how he stayed on the mound despite the fact that Hatake and Kanou would stay after practice so Hatake could try and catch Kanō's forkball. Mihashi starts to cry as Abe, concerned, stares at him.

Abe then says that speed is natural talent, but control takes a lot of work. Coach Momoe asks him why they couldn't work on his other areas. She gets ready to leave but first tells Mihashi not to throw any pitches but to practice his windup on the woodblock and save his energy for the Mihoshi game. She also tells him that she could only arrange a game with the freshman players, or as she liked to call it 'Your former teammates that hated you so much'.

Mihashi freaks out as Coach Momoe expects Mihashi to up his speed with the Mihoshi game haunting his every thought. Abe tries to calm him down as Mihashi doesn't need speed as his control is good enough. Mihashi tells Abe that he is sick of throwing slow and that he wants to throw fast instead. Abe tells him that he shouldn't sacrifice his control for more speed but Mihashi ignores him completely as he practices on the woodblock.

Abe storms off and says to himself that he may be obedient on the mound but he's just like all the other pitchers, overly sensitive with an inflated ego. He says that if wasn't for the fact that Mihashi was on his team then he wouldn't waste any time on him.

The episode cuts to night time and back at the training camp. The team is cooking some food while Tajima is enjoying the smell of the food. Tajima tries to take some of the food but Shiga grabs Mihashi's hand with chopsticks. Shiga starts talking about the hormones of the brain as Abe and Mihashi return from training.

After Shiga's long lecture the team sits at the dining table eagerly awaiting their dinner. Shiga tells everyone to look at their meals and to shout it looks great. Coach Momoe then says thanks for the food and everyone follows. Afterwards everyone digs into the food.

Hanai and the rest of the team discuss how Shiga knows all these things about the brain despite the fact that he's a math teacher. Sakaeguchi says that Shiga has been to many schools and seminars, but not all of them were for math.

Hanai asks Sakaeguchi how he knows about all of that, to which he replies that he practiced over Spring Break and heard some things. He also heard that Shiga asked Coach Momoe to start the team. He also says that Coach Momoe works some part-time jobs for the team with Tajima replying that Coach Momoe is a nice person. Hanai then asks if Coach Momoe and Shiga are dating.

Everyone, except for Tajima suddenly feel sick after thinking about that. Shiga suddenly bursts in and gets in one of the futons. He tells them all to go to sleep but they say that there is not enough space for their futons. Shiga tells them that they may be a little young, but people only truly understand each other when they share the same bed. He tells them that every night he wants everyone to share a bed with a different teammate.

Hanai throws a pillow at Shiga which causes a pillow fight. Mihashi is sitting on the side however, just watching. Shiga notices this and asks Mihashi if there was anything wrong. Mihashi lied and told him that he was fine.

The scene cuts to Abe sitting outside cleaning his catcher's mitt. He once again comments on how bad are all the pitchers. Coach Momoe appears and asks Abe how Mihashi did. Coach Momoe says that whenever a team is made, 2-3 players always stands out, but those 2 or 3 players cannot win a game. She said that the 3 outstanding players of the current team are Tajima, Hanai and him, Abe.

Abe says that Coach Momoe said he doesn't understand the role of the catcher. Coach Momoe told him that he will understand as the time will pass. Abe gets angry and asks her to make him understand as he raises his fist. She grabs Abe's hand with both of hers causing him to blush. She tightens her grip as she tells him he will understand. Abe asks him what she wants him to do. She tells Abe to do the same thing to Mihashi and that he will see a whole new side of Mihashi.

Afterwards the team is seen sleeping peacefully together. All except for Mihashi who is struggling to sleep.

The scene cuts and appears after dinner, where Coach Momoe is holding a board containing the numbers 1-25. She tells the team to touch and say aloud each number in order as fast as they can. She claims that it'll improve their observation skill and that it'll help train the nerve circuits in their brain to react faster from signals from their eyes. She also explains that it'll help them in baseball by making them aware of things much faster.

Coach Momoe asks who wants to try and Tajima volunteers. Tajima easily completes the exercise in 7.9 seconds. Hanai and the others are wondering if Tajima was actually pointing at the numbers. Coach Momoe however, is grateful that Tajima joined the team.Coach Momoe tells the team to partner up and try this exercise 3 times. The player with the best time gets to pick the batting order for the next game which scares everyone. Hanai tries, but manages to do it in 18.6 seconds.

The scene cuts to the next day, as the Nishiura players are seen coming to the Mihoshi Academy to play the game. The numbers and positions are given to the players and they start their warm ups.

Mihoshi Academy's players, the highlight falling on Shūgo Kanō, burst in the baseball club's grounds and Kanō tries to salute Mihashi who is too scared and runs off. Hatake finds out about Mihashi and goes after him, quite violently threatening him before Abe comes up on them and Hatake leaves.

The scene cuts and appears again after dinner, where Coach Momoe is holding a board containing the numbers 1-25. She tells the team to touch and say aloud each number in order as fast as they can. She claims that it'll improve their observation skill and that it'll help train the nerve circuits in their brain to react faster from signals from their eyes. She also explains that it'll help them in baseball by making them aware of things much faster.

Coach Momoe asks who wants to try and Tajima volunteers. Tajima easily completes the exercise in 7.9 seconds. Hanai and the others are wondering if Tajima was actually pointing at the numbers. Coach Momoe however, is grateful that Tajima joined the team.Coach Momoe tells the team to partner up and try this exercise 3 times. The player with the best time gets to pick the batting order for the next game which scares everyone. Hanai tries, but manages to do it in 18.6 seconds.

Mihashi and Abe aren't doing as well however as Mihashi is too busy thinking about something. Abe snaps him out of his daze and asks him if he was sleeping any better. Mihashi lies and says that he is, but Abe can tell that he is lying as he can't the Mihoshi game out of his head. Abe asks if he is having any fun and that he is always very nervous during practice. He also says that it has been 4 days but the battery barely know anything about each other. Abe also tells Mihashi that when he talks to Mihashi he barely gets any response. But whenever he actually shows any concern for Mihashi, he just lies to him. Mihashi starts to cry and Abe yells at him to stop as he looks like he's bullying Mihashi. He also tells Mihashi to forget throwing fast and just to follow his signs or they'll lose.

Mihashi stops crying as he wonders why it's so hard for him to talk. He hopes that Abe will not hate him and refuse to give him signs or his decision to leave Mihoshi would be meaningless. Later on Mihashi struggles to sleep again. He thinks that the problem is himself and that he does not have what it takes to be a pitcher.

The next morning on the Mihoshi baseball field, Sakaeguchi is admiring the field. Coach Momoe tells the team to start warming up. Coach Momoe notices that the team doesn't look nervous at all even though it's their first game as a team. With the exception being Mihashi who is losing accuracy not because he is throwing harder but because he is nervous. Mihoshi walks on the field and Kanou tries to greet Mihashi but Mihashi runs of somewhere.

Hatake follows Mihashi who is hiding in the bushes. Hatake mentions that Mihashi still talks the same and asks him why he came for a game against a bunch of players that know how bad he is. He says that Mihashi knows how much the team hates him because 'Grandpa's boy' had to be their starting pitcher. Hatake launches his foot at the wall and says that he should have broken his arm last year if that is what it would have took to make Mihashi understand.

Abe interrupts them as he suddenly appears. Hatake and Abe exchange greetings as Hatake walks away. Abe asks him if he threatened Mihashi. Mihashi says that Hatake is actually a nice guy but he wanted Kanou to pitch as everyone liked Kanou better than Mihashi. Abe remembers what Coach Momoe did to him and tries the same thing. Abe grabs Mihashi's hand and tells him that he is a good pitcher. Mihashi starts to cry again and says that he is a bad pitcher. Abe continues to say Mihashi is a good pitcher but Mihashi says that he is lying.

Mihashi continues to cry making Abe think he is a stubborn person. He notices that Mihashi's hand is cold and that his fingers are rough and covered in calluses. He notices that Mihashi has worked hard to earn each of these. He realizes that Mihashi is not stubborn, he just has no self confidence. His old team-mates stripped him of his confidence without even trying to understand a guy that worked so hard.

Mihashi notices that Abe is busy thinking about something and slowly stops crying. Abe says that he likes Mihashi even though he irrates him and makes him angry. He says that he likes the fact that Mihashi has worked so hard and that he likes him not just as a pitcher, but as a person. Abe wants to do something to help him believe that he is a good pitcher. He wonders if looking out for his pitcher is the catcher's role.

Abe notices that Mihashi's hand is starting to warm up and Mihashi asks him if he really means what he said about Mihashi. Abe says that he does and Mihashi says he likes being a pitcher. Mihashi promises to become better because all he wants to do is win. Mihashi says that he likes Abe as well which creeps Abe out. Abe asks Mihashi to tell him all he knows about the batters on the way back.

On the way back Mihashi and Abe meets Oda and Abe asks Mihashi if he knows him. Mihashi says he doesn't and asks why. Abe says that he has an accent (Kansai dialect in Japanese version) and asks if Mihoshi is the kind of school to recruit players from the outside. Mihashi says that they have a preferred athletes program but they don't usually come from far away. Abe asks Shino'oka for the roster and Mihashi remembers overhearing his teammates discussing an awesome new guy coming that year. Abe asks Mihashi who he doesn't know on the list and Mihashi says he doesn't know batters 4,6,7 and 8.

Kanō calls out to Mihashi as he is about to pitch. Abe notices his grip on the ball which means he is about to throw a forkball. The team wonders why he is revealing a pitch like that during practice. Abe asks Tajima if he can hit a forkball. Tajima says that in a game situation there is never a ball he can't hit which impresses the entire team.

Coach Momoe suddenly appears and says that she is counting on Tajima as this is an important game. She tells the team that if they can win this game then Mihashi would officially be their Ace pitcher. She asks who wants Mihashi. Abe grabs Mihashi's shoulder and shouts that he does. Coach Momoe asks who wants an Ace and the entire team responds with an I do. The team gets in a circle and Coach Momoe shouts out that they will win it for Mihashi.

Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit

  1. Maria Momoe
  2. Maria's boss at a part-time job
  3. Yūichirō Tajima
  4. Fumiki Mizutani
  5. Kousuke Izumi
  6. Yūto Sakaeguchi
  7. Shōji Suyama
  8. Chiyo Shino'oka
  9. Azusa Hanai
  10. Takaya Abe
  11. Tsuyoshi Shiga
  12. Ren Mihashi
  13. Shintarou Nishihiro
  14. Ai ( Dog )
  15. Atsushi Hatake
  16. Shūgo Kanō
  17. Kazutoshi Oki
  18. Mihashi's former teammates
  19. Hiroyuki Oda

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