"Play!" (プレイ "Purei!" ) is the fourth episode of season one.
It's Mihoshi's turn at bat and Mihashi walks up to the mound. He is determined to pitch the best he can no matter what. Miyagawa is first up to bat, and Abe gives Mihashi to throw a full strength fastball. Mihashi, not able to control it, throws the ball at Miyagawa who dodges it. His teammates yell at Miyagawa saying that Mihashi's ball couldn't hurt him, but Miyagawa thinks that Mihashi's pitches have gotten faster. Mihashi realizes that Abe wanted the ball to miss the strike zone to ruin the batter's focus. Mihashi throws a slider which goes from a strike to a ball and Miyagawa hits a grounder to Mihashi and he gets out.
Miyagawa says that Mihashi's pitching faster after he is asked why he struggled to hit the ball when he's hit it many times. Kanou tells Oda that he may have a hard time with Mihashi's pitching which confuses Oda. During the conversation Hirawagi strikes out. Yoshi also strikes out making Oda excited for his at bat. Abe thinks that if they keep this up they may get a shutout. he next inning starts with Tajima's at bat. For the first 2 pitches, Tajima stays still for no reason as if he is not even going to try to swing. The next pitch is a ball, and Abe thinks that the next pitch will be a forkball. He notices that Tajima is getting serious for the next pitch and he thinks that Tajima may be waiting for the forkball. Kanou throws a forkball and Tajima manages to hit it and safely get to 2nd base.The team yells out 'Tajima Number 1!' (Nice batting in other versions) making Coach Momoe proud. Hanai goes up to bat and Coach Momoe gives him a sign to swing away. Hanai waits for the forkball like Tajima did but when he gets it he swings and misses. In the end Hanai struck out and Tajima stole 3rd base. Coach Momoe asks Hanai why he let 2 hittable pitches fly past him. He says that he thought he could make contact. Coach Momoe understands and tells him to think of a way to hit it at his next at bat.
Coach Momoe tells the team that Tajima is an exceptional player but because of his small body he won't manage to hit many homers. What Coach Momoe is trying to tell them is that Tajima can't score runs by himself and that the team must help him even if they want to score a run. During this time, Suyama gets a fly out and Izumi gets a strike out wasting Tajima's double. Hanai thinks that if he didn't try to show off then Nishiura would have scored.
Abe tells Mihashi that he will try and get as much data out of Oda as possible and that he might score a run. Mihashi is impressed by Abe and is glad that he is on his side. Mihashi throws a high fastball outside the zone. Oda didn't make any attempt to move so Abe makes him throw the same pitch but low.Oda stays in his 'statue' mode however and gets another ball. Abe thinks that someone told Oda to watch Mihashi's odd fastball so he signals Mihashi to throw a curveball instead. Oda gets a strike and notices that the pitch was on the edge of the strike zone. Mihashi throws the same pitch and Oda hits with ease. The ball goes foul however.
Mihashi starts to get scared but remembers that Abe told him that he might get a hit. He realizes that he is not alone like in Middle school and that Abe is there for him now. Abe thinks that Oda just happened to overswing which is why the ball went foul. He notices Oda's long arms and believes that Oda is the kind of player that hits home runs unlike Tajima.
Oda asks Abe to throw a fast ball and promises not to hit it. Abe is now certain that someone told him to watch Mihashi's fast ball. He gives Mihashi to throw a screwball, low and inside instead though. Oda wasn't actually lying though and ended up striking out.Afterwards Oda offers to practice with Kanou. He says that Mihashi's fast ball looked like it floated and Kanou told him that pitches that slow couldn't float. Oda asks Kanou what he really knows and Kanou says that Mihashi's pitch is faster than a slow fastball. Hatake is next to bat and Mihashi pitches a screwball which Hatake mistakes for a screw ball. He hits it but it's caught mid-flight. Abe thought that Hatake would be a big threat but if he keeps under estimating Mihashi then he would always be able to get out.
The episode cuts back to Oda and Kanou's conversation. Oda asks Kanou what he means when he says that Mihashi's pitch is faster than a slow fast ball. Kanou says that whenever he asked Mihashi to throw a fast ball he would throw the weirdest pitches. He said that when he brought it up to the rest of the team they thought he was nuts. Kanou thinks that Mihashi's fast ball is caused by the speed and angle he's throwing at not syncing up right. He says that Mihashi's fast ball has less back spin and drops a bit lower. Back in Junior High he got some strikes with that pitch but they said their opponents were just really bad.Back in Mihoshi the team were used to Mihashi's odd pitches so they could always hit it during batting practice. Oda says that it's not really helping them in the game. Kanou says that it has more to do with the catcher's pitch calling. Kanou asks Oda what he was pitched and Kanou tells him that the catcher read Oda like a book and that is what's happening to the rest of the team. Oda tells Kanou that he asked Abe to give him a fast ball and promised not to hit it.
Kanou asks Oda if he actually wanted to win. Oda says that he does and he just thought he would hit the ball next time. Kanou says that Oda is also under estimating Mihashi despite the fact that he's the clean-up hitter. Kanou says that he refuses to lose to Mihashi again. Oda asks Kanou what he means by again as Mihashi only got on the team because of his grand father. Kanou says that Hatake is the only person that still thinks that. Kanou says that he's starting to reach the point where he doesn't even think he can beat Mihashi and that if he feels that way he doesn't deserve to be on the mound. Kanou begs Oda to help him win this game as he may never play against Mihashi again.
Karuda strikes out and Mihashi starts to feel happy. He tells Abe that he's actually having fun on the mound unlike before. Abe says that he is having a good time too. Coach Momoe starts to laugh and says that the fun is just getting started and that the real fun comes later. Mihashi thinks that she is right and that his position on the mound is no mistake anymore.
Anime-Manga differences Edit
- In the manga Abe asks for a fastball as Oda requested, but in the anime he asks for a shoot.