This article uses information that may be considered a SPOILER. Please understand that reading beyond this point may cause you to learn about things you may not have known about if you are not knowledgeable on the topic. You have been warned.
Episode 10 did not see a continuation of the conflict between Sawamura and Okumura which happened in Episode 9, rather Ace of the Diamond used it as a way to reflect on the how our protagonist acted during his time as a First-Year. While Sawamura is a valuable member of Seido’s starting line-up and its core relief pitcher, he was someone who had plenty of arrogance and not enough skill (including the way he talked about Chris without knowing the reason why he did not practice with the team). It is a nice contrast we may have forgotten about that is a testament to Sawamura’s growth as a pitcher and as a person.
The main focus of this episode is the showdown taking place between Seido and Kasuga First in the quarterfinals for the Tokyo Spring Tournament. Sawamura is the starting pitcher because Kasuga’s lineup has a ton of left-handed hitters, though most of us care about the fact we get to see the main character taking center stage again rather than Furuya (though I honestly like Kawakami the most). Furuya is still going to be pitching in the second half and remains as Seido’s ace, but I believe we got a hint about the tables turning.
It is shown within the game that Sawamura is more consistent than he was shown to be in the past while also being able to throw a multitude of pitches at the beck-and-call of their catcher. While we all know that the four-seamer insider is Sawamura’s favorite pitch, it is shown that he has a change-up, and two other mysterious pitches that break in a way that absolutely confuses everyone watching them. I believe the ability of Sawamura to naturally jam the opponent, as well as the pitching form giving to him by their coach, will definitely make him worth more than Furuya’s speed and one breaking ball in the future.
The episode ended up with their captain/catcher/clean-up taking the mound, but Miyuki’s contribution to the team is always best while they have runners (which they do). While I believe the game will be called, I think it will be amazing if they earn enough runs to do so before Furuya get a chance to take the mound and hog all the glory from Sawamura’s hard work.
Overall, this was a great episode. I believe that we only got a taste of the potential Sawamura has unleashed since figuring out he can throw a variety of breaking pitches just by changing the way he holds the baseball due to his natural ability and unique form given to him by Coach Kataoka. Not to mention Miyuki told Eijun “Just a few”, so there is a potential that they have tons of pitches…maybe even enough to rival “The King”, the best high school pitcher in Kanto, Narumiya Mei of Inashiro Industrial. Nothing now but to wait and see what else Ace of the Diamond act II has in store for us in episode 11!