"The End of the Game" (決着 "Ketchaku") is the twenty-fourth episode of season one.
Now that they have the lead, Nishiura must make sure that they don’t allow any more runs. Abe wants Mihashi to keep pitching his fastball, but Mihashi feels insecure, and is practically out of gas. Even still, Mihashi does not want to get off the mount and sticks in there until the very end, only to fall to sleep immediately after the game.
Kazu talks to his team about how they underestimated their opponents. He gives them a pep talk before their turn at bat.
Bottom of the ninth, thirdbaseman Mashiba is up. He lets the first two fastballs pass. Feeling Mihashi’s apprehension against throwing any more fastballs, Abe signs for a shoot. Mashiba bunts it close to home. Mihashi runs to get it, but trips. Tajima gets to it, but throws it a split-second too late.
Mihashi falls to his knees. Abe yells at him that if he can't pitch, then switch out to Oki or Hanai. Mihashi stands up and looks over at Momoe who pretends to agree with Abe. The he gets the ball from Oki, glaring at him. Oki thinks, "Damn you Abe, I have to play along so I can't tell him I don't want to switch." Oki thinks how if he were a pitcher he'd be happy to be relieved, since he doesn't have any confidence. He thinks Mihahsi doesn't have confidence either and he's scared, but he still pitches. It's like an addiction.
Abe asks for a full strength fast ball, strike. He throws to Suyama at second but the runner is safe. Abe notes Mihashi's full strength pitch is down by 20%. Next pitch is a fastball down the middle for a strike. Then another fastball for strike three. Masayan apologizes for not hitting it, saying it looked like a normal ball. Shingo thinks Masayan couldn't see that it wasn't normal.
Shingo bunts the first fastball, popup, then bunts again, another popup. Abe runs to catch it, but comes up short. He punches the ground out of frustration. Right after, he goes to the mound to apologize, surprising Mihashi.
Abe calls out for first and third to get ready for a bunt. He asks for another fastball down the middle. Shingo gets a hold of it and hits it over Tajima, but he manages to glove it toward Suyama who throws to first. Suyama couldn’t get a grip on the ball and over throws it by Oki. Shingo is safe at first, and the runner at second runs to third. Abe gets to the ball and throws it to third, safe!
Next up is Aoki, Tosei’s cleanup batter, with one out, men on first and third. The pressure finally gets to Mihashi and he begins to doubt himself. He feels as though he is back in Mihoshi, and like before, the team will lose because of him. However, just when Mihashi seems to have reached his lowest, the team lets him know that they are all rooting for him, that they believe in him. Mihashi does not quite understand how no one is angry with him. He is unable to believe that the others could tell him such kind words.
Abe calls for a fastball, Aoki hits it to centerfield. Izumi dives and catches the fly ball with the tip of his glove for the second out. While on the ground, he flicks the ball to Hanai, who throws it to home. Mashiba slides into home, colliding with Abe. Everyone waits on the umpire for his decision. Mashiba is out!
Nishiura and the crowd erupt! After exchanging bows with Tosei and the officials, Nishiura goes to the cheering section and formally show gratitude for their support by bowing.
At the Tosei bench, Kazuki holds the “win” charm given to him by his younger sibling. He also recalls the kind and encouraging words his family had uttered to him. Once he's ready, he stands and instructs the others to clear the bench. On their way out, Junta catches his attention. Barely able to speak, eyes filled with tears, Junta says his sincerest apologies to Kazuki. Kazuki hugs Kazuki as both start to sob uncontrollably. Emotions run high as the Tosei team mourns their lost.
Outside the stadium, Momoe gives out instructions to the boys. She makes it clear that there is much to be done, seeing that they barely made it past Tosei.
Kazuki approaches Hanai. He tells them that they will be rooting for Nishiura, and gives him the senbazuru or “Thousand Paper Cranes” made by their managers to Hanai.
Hanai then notices that Kazuki's eyes are red and a big guy, like an adult, has been crying.
Shiga checks out Mihashi and find him okay, but Mihashi's now fast asleep. Abe says Mihashi seemed to be in overdrive. Tajima agreed Mihashi was weird, grinning funny and talking loudly. Rio inquires on Mihashi’s condition and comes face-to-face with Tajima. He soon realizes that this was the guy who hit Junta’s sinker and also managed to figure out his pitching motion. He wants to talk to Tajima and asks for his cell number. Tajima writes it on his hand. Rio says he'll text him later. Tajima asks who that is and Abe explains he's Tosei's first year reserve catcher. There was a second year guy but he got injured. Shiga and Tajima are impressed by his knowledge.
Abe and Tajima lug an exhausted and sleeping Mihashi to the car park. Momoe tells Mihashi’s mom to take Mihashi straight home to rest. The guys were about to put Mihashi in the backseat, but Mihashi’s mom stops them. She takes off Mihashi’s wet clothes, so he won't ruin her car, before putting him in. During the drive home, Ruri glances over Mihashi’s sleeping face and thinks to herself how glad she is that she came.