Story by volume
Three years has passed since Momoko Hoshino, unmarried, adopted Goro as her own son upon Honda's death. Goro began school as a fourth grader, and was finally old enough to join the local little league team, the Mifune Dolphins. However, the local kids were mostly interested in soccer, and Goro had to get new friends he made at school to join in order to have enough members to keep the team from being abolished.
Goro showed himself to be an extremely gifted baseball player. So much in fact that the Dolphins coach hated to see Goro waste away his potential with the other crappy Dolphins players. The coach recommended Goro to join the nearby Yokohama Little team instead, which has better players, coach, and resources. When Goro visited, he discovered that not only was his old buddy Toshiya at Yokohama Little, but his own father, Shigeharu Honda, had been a member of the Yokohama Little with the current coach. Goro was torn, because if he were to follow his father's footsteps, that meant he would be abandoning the friends he asked to join the Mifune Dolphins. Goro had a big fight with Momoko over the issue, and Momoko sought advice from Hideki Shigeno, Honda's old buddy and teammate. While meeting with Shigeno, Momoko coughed blood, and was hostipalized. Whlie it turned out it was just a gastric ulcer, it made Goro realize the living people are much more important than the dead.
At that time, Joe Gibson had just returned to the MLB after pitching in Japan for three years. He sent an invitation to Goro to travel to America, all expenses paid, and watch the MLB All-Star game, where Gibson was going to be the starting pitcher for the National League. At the game, he declared to the American League's player that he would only pitch fast balls. Gibson threw 18 strikes, not a single slugger of the AL's top rotation could touch Gibson's pitch despite knowing what's coming, and Gibson earned standing ovation from the audience. This was Gibson's own way to show Goro how great a slugger Honda had been, as Honda had hit a home run off Gibson's best pitch in a duel of only fast balls. After the game, Gibson allowed Goro to throw a hardball at him, where ever Goro wants to, if it would make Goro feel any better. Goro responded that he would postpone this "punishment" until the day he could pitch as well as Gibson, which was Goro's own way of acknowledge Gibson's greatness.
Back in Japan, with renewed determination, Goro led the Mifune Dolphins through various trials and practice matches, intending to defeat Yokohama Little, the best team in the region...