This episode was basically par for the course of Ace of the Diamond; nothing really happened of significance except setup for the next episode. We saw Seido finish their game against Kasuga First with a called game, this happened due to the former’s captain’s little brother finally being able to get a hit (and a homerun at that). We also got to see Furuya pitch within the later half of the game prior to it being called, and the reaction of their next opponent to their victory.
One thing that is apparent is how well the pitcher from Ichidai is compared to last year. The thing we see the anime emphasize is that Ichidai’s Ace, “Manaka-boy”, was actually feeling ill when they last met and now has been on his A-game ever since with an amazing slider. We further see the build up to the difficulty of Seido’s next showdown’s pitcher by having their Team Captain, Miyuki, say that he is “Too good for a high schooler”. I feel that just a plain slider should not be good enough to upset the balance of Seido’s batters who have managed to at least somewhat hold their own against Inashiro’s Mei, but you never know how the match-up can sway.
Build up to the next episode takes place after the setup for Seido versus Ichidai, mostly with them teasing the new first years with Furuya and Sawamura. Also, we can expect to see improvement in our protagonist, not to mention we see that he has an amazing assortment of pitches that he has yet to tap into due to them being unuseable in a game due to their lack of consistency (He has a 2-seamer, 4-seamer, change-up, and some others).
Something I want to see is Sawamura really laying into the Ichidai guys with another set of new pitches only known to Miyuki and himself. I want them to be awestruck by simply how much he has grown and for everyone to wonder why Sawamura isn’t the Ace (something already mentioned by one of the First-Years watching him start the game instead of the ace), as he is already seen as the second best pitcher after Furuya. Hopefully I get what I need in this upcoming episode!