|Hone Your Moving Fastball|
|Season 1, Episode 10|
|Air date||December 12, 2013|
|Written by||Takeshi Konuta|
|Directed by||Mitsuyuki Masuhara|
With Chagrin In His Heart
Chris, to the Field!
Hone Your Moving Fastball (Migake, Kusedama, 磨け、クセ球) is Episode 10 of the Diamond no Ace Anime series. The Episode follows the storyline from Chapters 25 to 27 of the manga.
Chris reveals Sawamura's strong point - his idiosyncratic moving fastball.
Sawamura’s still struggling. He’s just trying to throw fastballs, but he isn’t even thinking about how he holds the ball. For those that don’t know, baseball typically has a two-seam and a four-seam fastball where you hold the ball differently (you hold the ball differently or release it differently for every pitch). Chris explains that Furuya throws his fastballs by putting all the weight of the ball on the tips of his fingertips, and he’ll of course release the ball consistently every pitch. That creates the probably 100+ mph fastball that’s difficult to hit unless you choke up on the bat and step forward in the batter’s box (or have good timing).
Sawamura, in contrast, holds the ball differently and releases the ball differently every time. That creates a fastball, for sure, but it’s wild. It makes it hard for batters to hit because of the inconsistencies in the pitch. Miyuki, in the battle against Azuma at the beginning, was pointing Sawamura to the right place while analyzing basically all of that first paragraph of Sawamura based on a few pitches, if that. Chris did the same thing, as it is the catcher’s job to make the pitcher succeed. Chris’s training menu has not only been to prevent injury to Sawamura, but to help him control the release of his ball to make for a more consistent fastball.
The thing is, to make all this happen takes years. The best will typically start the regiment that Sawamura’s on in elementary school or junior high (of course, at a lighter load for the younger kids). Sawamura didn’t do any of this in junior high; he didn’t even have a proper coach. But Sawamura wants to show Chris his growth now. He’s got a few months and he’s got to be near the level of an ace pitcher before then. When the coach sees this, he’s moved. There are two spots on the first string and Sawamura, who came here to be an ace, forgot completely about those spots. But it was the first moment of coach and student between their coach and Sawamura, and it was a wonderful moment. You wondered how the coach teaches, because he’s only been yelling at Sawamura and other players up until this point, but the coach is good. He knows exactly what Sawamura needs after seemingly ignoring him for so long; but the coach has been watching the entire time.
Kokudokan is the next test for the second string players, and it’s the last chance for these second stringers to get onto the first string. Sawamura, as always, is pumped up and he’s ready to get over the humiliation of the last game. The next episode is looking up for the baseball action, not only in play but in future prospects for Sawamura and, just maybe, Chris.