It was the top of the 9th inning.
5 - Yakushi | Seido - 8
Yakushi had 2 outs and a runner on first. This was their last chance to catch up on Seido's 3-point lead.
"Batting first, third base, Todoroki-kun"
Tanba wound up and threw his first pitch in the low outside corner which garnered no reaction from the batter.
"Ball!" yelled the umpire.
"Okay okay! Nice ball! That was a good one." Miyuki says knowing that the key to avoiding a hit from Todoroki was keeping the pitches low.
The second pitch was a fastball again to the outside low corner.
Again, no swing.
"It would've helped if he swung at one of them" Miyuki thought to himself. "We just need to make sure we don't feed him anything easy."
"Smash it away!" "Raichi!"
Cheers were heard in every direction. Teammates shouted encouraging words to the batter.
Unfortunately, the pressure was overwhelming for even Raichi.
"No matter what, I have to get on base." Raichi mutters as he grips his bat tighter. "I need to get a hit."
"FOUL!" yelled the umpire.
Todoroki Raizou, Raichi's father and Yakushi's baseball coach, notices how tense he is and promptly shouts,
"Raichi! Don't think! Just do your usual thing! Enjoy your battle with the pitcher!!"
*Thunk* It was the sound of Tanba's forkball on Miyuki's mitt, effectively striking out Todoroki Raichi.
From a corner of the bleachers, a mysterious figure smiles.
[Back in Seido]
"That's it. With Inashiro's win, we have all four semifinalists." says Chris Takigawa, a third year player turned manager.
"So we're up against Sensen."
"They have a really tall pitcher".
"Like over two meters tall!"
"Yosuke Maki, the giant. He's been the ace of Sensen since his first year and has attracted lots of scouts for his potential. He's also known for his curveball." Chris says.
"It'll be a curveball battle, Tanba-san!" Kuramochi gleefully says.
The team resumed their training after their meeting, with Chris and Miyuki taking charge of the pitchers and the rest practicing their infield and batting skills.
"They're making a mound?" asks Kuramochi
"They made a mound higher to simulate Maki's height." Yuki remarks as they watch the rest of the team pile dirt on top of the pitcher's plate.
"All right, who's up first?" Coach Kataoka challenges as he makes his way to the mound.
3-Sensen | Seido-8
After a tough game with Sensen, Seido packs their bags and makes their way to the bleachers to watch the next game to find out their opponents for the final round.
Sawamura looks and is bombarded with questions from his very excited former teammates.
"Ehh? I didn't know Sawamura had friends." Sachiko, a manager, comments.
"I guess he's actually popular back home." says another.
[Mysterious Girl P.O.V]
"Gosh, today is a really hot day." I entered the stadium and caught the last pitch of the Seido-Sensen game. "Look at the size of this crowd. I guess Seido won."
"The next game will begin at 1:00 PM. Inashiro Vocational High School and Sakurazawa High School, please begin your field practice." the commentator announces.
"I guess I have time to go to the bathroom before the next game starts." I check myself in the mirror and tie my long blonde hair into a pony tail and tuck it underneath my cap. "Might as well stay here until it starts. Why didn't I bring a friend to this game again?? " I groan.
"The next game will begin in 5 minutes. To all viewers, please take your seats. Thank you."
"Crap, I should get back now." I returned to the bleachers and found a seat as the game convened.