|Season 2, Episode 40|
|Air date||January 11, 2016|
The Lead-off Man
Play Ball is episode 40 of the Diamond no Ace Anime series Season 2. The episode follows the storyline from chapter 365 to chapter 369 of the manga.
Kuramochi talks to Shirasu about Miyuki's injury, while the coaching staff talks about the possibility of Furuya not playing and the pitcher order: Kawakami will start then Sawamura. On the day of the finals, Kuramochi confronts Miyuki.
The Seido players discuss their strategy for the finals and Miyuki tells the pitchers to not rely on him all the time. Kuramochi becomes suspicious that Miyuki sustained an injury during the match against Seiko, and tells this to Shirasu. Meanwhile, the third years drop by the dorm, and Maezono asks Isashiki to give him batting advice while Ryosuke gives his brother the wooden bat their dad bought for Haruichi. Isashki notices that there are only a few people training after practice, particularly asking where Aso and Higasa are. Zono replies that they've been hitting the weight room recently as per Ochiai's recommendation. Isashiki is impressed with what Ochiai's done for the team but feels that the team is different.
In the staff room, Kataoka states that Furuya may not be playing in the finals and Ochiai thinks its a good idea, saying that Sawamura and Kawakami will both take on Yakushi's batters. Club president Oota raise his concern having Sawamura play considering his track record of giving up runs against Yakushi's Raichi. But Ochiai tells Oota to be logical as Kawakami can't pitch all by himself. The scene then shifts back to Kuramochi and Shirasu. Kuramochi says he'll be observing Miyuki but they'll have to stop him from playing if it comes to worst.
Miyuki and the pitchers go to the indoor practice ground, and Sawamura is excited to see the third years. They are later joined by Kataoka, Ochiai, Rei and Oota to observe Sawamura while he throws to Ono. For the last pitch, Miyuki catches for Sawamura. The following day, in the hospital, the doctor informs Kataoka that Furuya can only play an inning at most. At Seidou, Kuramochi observes Miyuki's condition while the latter catches for Sawamura early in the morning. Rei arrives to inform them of Furuya's situation.
On the day of the finals, after Seidou's fielding practice, Kuramochi confronts Miyuki about the latter's injury behind the dugout, but nonetheless tells him to only crumble down when they win.