The First Run (ファーストラン Fāsutoran) also known as " Don't Cut Corners " is the fourth chapter of the manga.
The game heates up. Arguments are all over the place, and thus the first run has been scored.
Both teams had yet to score in the top of the third inning. After Kanō's outburst Oda saw how seriously Kanō was playing. He wanted to win because it would be the only chance he would ever get to face Mihashi in a game.
Oda also noticed Kanō was humming in the bath and showed off his forkball before the game. Oda realized that Kanō had been nervous and serious about the game for quite a while. While Mihoshi was on the defense, Coach Momoe noted that Hatake and Kanō's rapid fire pitching and use of the forkball when behind in the count was why Nishiura was having so much trouble getting on board. After striking out Abe notices tells Mihashi that while on the mound he is a picter but when he was batting he needed to take it seriously too. Abe noticed that Mihashi really admired Kanō's pitching even though they were opponents. After striking out, Nishiura switched to defense.
During Kanō's turn up at bat, Abe could tell Kanō was extremely serious about winning due to his repeated actions before batting, realizing it was a jinx for good luck. Before batting each time Kanō knocked dirt off his shoes, swung twice, raised the bat stretching his arms, and then got into stance. After fouling the first pitch, Kanō hit a grounder and slid to first base, unfortunately the ball has already reached first and he was declared out. Afterward, Hatake and Kanō had a fight over Kanō sliding to first base. Hatake told Kanō that the practice match was not worth getting an injury for, but Kanō insisted that Hatake take the game more seriously. Oda comes along and breaks out the fight.
Oki scores the first run of the game.
At the top of the forth both teams were still tied at zero. After the argument, Coach Momoe noticed that Kanō had lost his composure and gave the sign for Oki to hold. Kanou pitched four balls allowing Oki to get on base. After Oki, Abe did a sacrifice bunt advancing Oki to second. Noticing a hole in right center Tajima hit the ball in that direction bringing Oki home and scoring a run. Seeing Mihashi's reaction to the first run, Abe accused Mihashi of actually feeling sorry for Kanō, to which Mihashi admitted that he did a little. Against the next batter, Hatake dropped Kanō's forkball and allowed Tajima to steal third. Next, Hanai was then able to get a hit a fastball and bring Tajima home scoring Nishiura's second run. With two outs, Kanō pitches four balls once more.
Team Mihoshi called a time out and had another argument on the mound, this time over underestimating Mihashi's abilities as a pitcher. Kanō blamed Mihoshi being behind two runs due to Hatake's lack of recognition for Mihashi, bringing up the fact that Mihashi was pitching a perfect game so far. Kanō talked about how he always knew Mihashi was a good picter and that no one believed him because they lost all the games in junior high. Kanō said it was the team's fault that they weren't playing to win just because they believed Mihashi was the ace because of nepitism. He also notes that the reason Mihashi was pitching well in the game was because Abe was actually working with him. Hatake's excuse was that he only did what he did for Kanō's sake, saying that Kanō should have been the ace instead of Mihashi. With Oda mediating, team Mihoshi came to a consensus that they need to acknowledge Mihashi's strength in order to win.
On Nishiura's side, Abe could tell that Mishashi sympathized with Kanō and wished to play with his old teammates. This made Abe even more determined to win the game for Mihashi's sake and make Mihashi choose Nishiura over Mihoshi. Abe never expected to find a good pitcher at Nishiura and since he had he wasn't going to let Mihashi go. He also thought it was best for Mihashi to stay with him. He wanted to make Mihashi realize that he was a valuable part of the team by the end of the game.
Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit
- Shūgo Kanō
- Hiroyuki Oda
- Ren Mihashi
- Atsushi Hatake
- Maria Momoe
- Fumiki Mizutani
- Yūto Sakaeguchi
- Yūichirō Tajima
- Takaya Abe
- Kazutoshi Oki
- Shōji Suyama
- Azusa Hanai
- Kousuke Izumi
- Shintarou Nishihiro
- Mihoshi's unnamed members
- Miyagawa ( Mihoshi player )
- Yoshi ( Mihoshi player )