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My call must have been a surprise. A letter came to my parents’ house. It said that if I’d really been involved with yourfather… I should talk to you. From Mr. Sakamachi? They’re playing now, aren’t they. Yes. Let’s wait outside till it ends. I still can’t bear to watch high school baseball. I’ve been avoiding all that ever since it happened. Howwas the game? Did you win? Oh, yes… Yuko? Good. Is that Yuko? Yuko? Congratulations on your second win. Thank you. I was team managerfrom until midway through . My name is Yuko Tachihara. Now I’m a typical housewife with two children. I’m here because you ought to know what really happened that summer. Yuko, you don’t have to explain here. This is the only way you’ll all know. Yeah, but… All of you… probably know… I had an abortion that summer. The day before your play-off. I couldn’t afford to wait any longer. Matsukawa wasn’t the father. It was the boy Matsukawa injured, a student at another school. He’d been avoiding me after I got pregnant. If I hadn’t run into him coming home from the hospital… nothing would have happened. I was with Matsukawa, and the boy said he didn’t know… …whose baby it was. Then he said some awful things about the Kawagoe baseball team. After the fight… Matsukawa said he could neverface you. I was going to tell you what had happened… but he stopped me. He’ll get more than hurt. Who knows what the guys’ll do! It’s bad enough already. So let’s just let them think… it was me. So… please. I think he felt that if you all knew why he got into the fight… that would make me responsible. You’d have lost respect for me, and said it was all my fault. I think he wanted to make sure I wasn’t hurt any more. And so… for my sake… he took the whole team’s anger on himself. Nori was… Norio Matsukawa was that kind of person. I ran away from it, too. I was afraid to see you. In the end… I ran away from Nori, too. That’s the whole truth. It was all my fault. I even ended up hurting you. I’m really sorry about this. I’m really… very sorry. So Nori… didn’t trust us. He thought… we’d lose respect forYuko. He just decided that. What an idiot! He always was a clown. And so were you! We were yourfriends! I know I should have said something. I’m sorry. Still… Nori might have been right. If we’d known, we’d have killed that guy. Right, Captain? Finally… that clown’s back on the team. I’m glad you told us. Thank you. No one on a team will stand by and watch the manager get hurt. I said some harsh things to you. I’m very sorry. Third! Thank you! Saitama Prefectural Final Captain… We’re running out of time. The last inning? Four runs… Last inning. This is the last inning! I’ll go see what he wants. OK? What? They went to Koshien last year, so they’ll give you the game. They all know… who you are and what happened to you. Well? I’ll talk to them. Don’t make a big thing of it. The Masters Koshien is for everyone to have fun. I’m disappointed in you Tokorozawa guys. Sorry? Does the Tokorozawa team deliberately lose baseball games? At our school we’d die before we did that. Win or lose… at Kawagoe we give our all in every game. That yearwe weren’t given the chance to lose. We were never eliminated. For us… that summer isn’t over. We want to end it right, and lose if we have to. But don’t worry. We didn’t come here to lose to Tokorozawa. Just like that summer, we intend to win. I hear you. In that case, lose to your hearts’ content. We intend to. We’re going to win this! Give it all you got! You said it! Play ball! Strike! Run! Run! Run! Take three! Safe! OK! Leave this to me! Safe! Safe! Captain! Go for it! Out! Yamashita! Swing away! Go for it! You can do it! Strike! It’s going! Yes! Thank you. What are you crying about?! Way to go, Dad! Sorry! Be there! Time, please. Time out! Sorry. This happened that year in the semi-final, right? Yeah! ‘One Ball, One Spirit’, right? That’s what we need. One Ball, One Spirit! Let’s do it! We’re there! Let ’em hit! Thanks. Third! Out! Nice play! Assemble! Game over! Thank you! Nice game. Thanks. I’d forgotten how it feels to lose. Thank you. Thank you! Mie! Come down here. Come on! Come on! Come down! Come on! Quick! Guys! The victory toss! Get a picture! Matsukawa Family Thanks. Kawagoe Academy Baseball Team The last thing my father said to me… I finally understand. When you were running for first on that bunt… you knew you were out, but you ran as hard as you could. Maybe that’s what it means to lose with all you’ve got. I think maybe that’s how he lived, right to the end. Running out a sacrifice bunt. Just like that day when he saw me off… and I didn’t know what to say. Excuse me… Were you acquainted with Norio Matsukawa? Yes. I’m family. I was a friend. My name is Fujita. I was in the Fire Department with him. I wiped it a bit, but I thought you might want it… the way it was found. My father had this? He always kept it in his locker. What’s the matter? Good. You can still use it. You use it. He wrote on it. I think he meant it. One ball, one ghost Mr. Sakamachi… will you play catch with me at Koshien? I’d be glad to. I’m not very good, though. I’m not Nori, though. What? Do you have a minute? Can we talk here? Oh, right. Here. What are they? Tickets to Osaka. I’m playing at Koshien Stadium. What? Will you come? I’d like you to. I wish I could have asked your mother, too. Sanami, I’m… Do you knowwhy I quit playing softball? It reminded me of you. You took away everything I treasured. And nowyou want me to come and see you play? Are you ? Assemble! Let’s shut ’em down! Hang tough! Bring ’em on! Go! Out! Out! Take your base! It didn’t hit me! Yes, it did. Batting third, Sakamachi, third base. Strike! Strike! Thanks for forgiving everything. Who’s forgiven anything? Oh. Again. I’ll make you happy. What do you mean? I’ve never been so happy. Consider yourself lucky! Where’d she go? I still have a promise to keep. I’m all right by myself. Now, is that fair, Mie Tozawa? You’re not going back to reporting? It’s not that easy to go back. Mr. Sakamachi… when you lose, lose with all you’ve got.

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