Six episodes and untold amounts of hard work and planning later, it's finally time to the team at the centre of Moshidora's tale of management and baseball to come good and achieve their dream of reaching the nationals. In their way however stands what seems to be a swathe of teams which make up their rivals in the qualifying tournament.
With their unique strategy, good teamwork and decent players, Minami's charges breeze through to the quarter final without too much difficulty, thrashing most of their opponents quite soundly. Tougher times are ahead though, as reminded by a meeting between former captain Hoshide and an outright celebrity of the tournament in the form of an ace pitcher who is already decidedly confident that his team will meet Minami's in the semi-finals.
The only place where things don't seem to be going to so well for our protagonist is with regard to her relationship with Yuki, with a decidedly awkward feeling left in the air after Yuki's praise for Minami and assertions that everything she's done for the baseball team is a fantastic achievement in itself, no matter how far the team get towards their dream of playing in the nationals, is shot down as Minami finds herself focusing on results over process - asound move in business terms perhaps, but neglectful of what Yuki was really trying to say. Indeed, it seems that there is more surrounding Yuki's illness than currently meets the eye if the overall atmosphere of some recent scenes are to be believed... a concern that is quickly put to one side as the baseball team find themselves slogging it out against a decidedly tough customer in the quarter-final of the qualifying tournament.
Given my interest in the management aspects of the series more than the baseball side of things, it's perhaps inevitable that this instalment didn't catch my interest quite as much as previous episodes, although of course the entire endeavour would be pointless if we didn't spend time seeing what becomes of the baseball team under Minami's management. Where things do get hugely interesting and less predictable is with regard to the relationship between Minami and Yuki, which was heavy with prescience and importance above and beyond Minami's management speak (which was interestingly portrayed as both "management point of the day" but also not as a particularly positive response to what Yuki was trying to put to her friend) - something is clearly amiss here even if you look beyond Minami perhaps treating her "work" too seriously on that occasion, and I get the feeling it will feature heavily at some point over the coming episodes as we head into the closing stages of the series.