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The latest story arc is the Baseball World Cup match. It takes place at the beginning of the second year of Goro's professional baseball career.

Story by volume

Match reports

Synopsis

After the baseball season was over, Goro returned to Japan. Shimizu finally told Goro her feelings for him, and they became a couple. On the other hand, Goro learned from Toshi that there is going to be a Baseball World Cup the following year hosted in America, and for the first time, Major League players will be allowed to compete in it. Due to Goro's impressive performances in the practice match between Rookies and the All-Star Japan team, he was selected as a replacement pitcher starting the second round of preliminaries. Goro pitched as the closer against Venezuela and Korea, earning a win and a save respectively. Then Mayumura earned a win, pitching as closer against the Dominican Republic, advancing Japan to the semi-finals.

Shimizu came to America to cheer Goro on, and encountered Toshiya's younger sister, Miho Satoh. The day before the semi-finals match against Cuba, Toshiya accidentally ran into his sister, and the traumatic memories of being abandoned by his parents 7 years ago were reawakened. Toshiya's body went into involuntary shock, and was temporarily hospitalized. Miho felt guilty about the incident, but Toshiya called her on the phone, and asked her to come watch the next game. By knowing his sister is somewhere in the audience, Toshiya felt he would be able to do his best. Toshiya made several excellent plays against Cuba's aggressive offensive in the semi-finals, and Goro got the win as the closer.

After the Cuba game, Gibson Jr. revealed to the Team USA's manager as well as Goro that his father, Joe Gibson, had angina pectoris. Junior hoped the manager might be able to prevent, and Goro to dissuade, Gibson from getting on the mound and potentially kill himself. However, with players mostly in a "exhibition game" mentality, Gibson got on the mound in the 8th inning in the USA vs Venezuela semi-finals, risking his heart to awaken the baseball spirit of his teammates.

The following day, Gibson collapsed during practice session, and Goro rushed to the hospital to see Gibson. Gibson revealed to Goro that in a chance meeting with Momoko 10 years ago, he asked her why she had not accepted any monetary compensation from him. Momoko smiled gently, and asked Gibson to remain an top-class baseball player until Goro grows up, so that Goro could be proud of having a father who hit a homerun from such a great pitcher, and that would be enough for her and for Goro. Momoko's kind words had been the pillar that supported and drove Gibson all these years, but he felt if he could not complete this Baseball World Cup, and play against Goro on the mound, he would have failed Goro and Momoko. Goro comforted Gibson, telling him that he had done enough, and to just watch Goro and Junior's showdown on TV.

The Japan vs USA finals game began with Japan taking a five point lead, prompting Gibson to leave the hospital and went to the stadium to cheer his teammates on by their side. Japan had to send out Goro at the 8th inning to protect their remaining 1 point lead, but Junior scored a home run off Goro's 100 mile fast ball. The game went into extra innings, and Gibson walked onto the mound again, determined to lead USA to victory.

Time line

  • December 2004 - Goro returns to Japan
  • January 2005 - begin of Japanese National Team retreat
  • February 12, 2005 (approx) - practice match between All-Star Japan and Young Japan
  • February 15, 2005 - Goro returns to America for Spring training
  • March 2nd, 2005 - First round preliminary for the Baseball World Cup Asian bracket begins.
  • Mid~late March, 2005 - Japan defeated Korea in Asian preliminary. Goro drafted by the Japanese National team to replace the injured Noro. Baseball World Cup second round preliminary, semi-finals, and finals.

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