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.
Ace of the Diamond act II is already off to a great start as we have gotten to see growth in the main character from the struggles and trials he had to face in the first series; the yips, horrible ball control, and not being able to use any breaking-ball pitches. Sawamura has defied everyone’s expectations with his performance in Episodes 15 and 16, showing he has the same will as Furuya to be the best and has been working his ass off in order to make sure he is the best he can possibly be.
Episode 23 showed us that the coach has high hopes for Sawamura, probably regretting so long to put him into the game after Furuya fell apart when they were up against Ichidai in the Spring Invitational tournament. I am sure Coach Kataoka started Sawamura because of his apparent growth, Miyuki wanting to try the “numbers” against a nationally ranked team, and seeing the improved cutter (Cutterball Kai!) back in Episode 22.
While he is having a bit of a tough time, Sawamura just so happens to be up against Hakuryu, who are nationally ranked and considered to probably be the best “small-ball” team in the country. They are considered to be the “best” team that Seido will be facing during Golden Week, the series of practice games they are playing in preparation for the Summer Tournament. Seido’s current battery (Sawamura and Miyuki) are pelting them with fastballs (both inside and out), change-ups, and his improved cutter. So far he has held them scoreless for three innings, and that is a lot considering how well the at-bats are supposed to be. Right now things are going smoothly, but I am beginning to wonder if the other team might catch on and they will be forced to use some of the incomplete numbers to shake things up even more.
Miyuki’s monologue on how Sawamura is “incomplete” and still has growing to do after he helped pick off a runner shows the changing opinion of our protagonist and the pride the captain is taking within his expanding skill set. Everyone remarks Sawamura is a better pitcher than they thought, showing that he really was hidden away within the shadow of “Monster Pitcher” Furuya’s overwhelming fastball and being the current Ace of Seido. I hope we continue to see great things from our OP, as he really deserves it after everything he has done in order to improve and become someone who is able to live up to Coach Kataoka, Miyuki, his friends back home, and Chris’ expectations. Hopefully Sawamura closes out this game out against Hakuryu with everyone awestruck from how he dominates the mound.