Wave-Viking rivalry among best

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 29, 2000

Nothing can ever beat the South Natchez-North Natchez football rivalry, or even the North-South basketball games of the past.

There are a few other rivalries, such as Trinity-Huntington, Vidalia-Ferriday and ACCS-Trinity (if they can ever work out their schedules to where they can play each other again).

But perhaps the best rivalry through the years next to the North South matchup has been the Cathedral-Vidalia baseball series, which was renewed Monday night with Vidalia winning 14-3.

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That score is a rarity in this series, where the games are usually crisply played and the difference is one or two runs.

The total number of district championships both teams have won would probably line up from home plate to centerfield. Both programs boast of state championships and a lot of close calls.

&uot;It’s a great rivalry,&uot; said Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir. &uot;We know each other and like playing each other. We started baseball in 1979, began playing them then and have ever since. It’s a good, friendly rivalry. Cathedral has great fans and we have great fans and they all know each other.&uot;

Hoffpauir said playing Cathedral has helped his teams get ready for district and postseason play.

&uot;When you play Cathedral, you have to be on your best game or it’s going to be a long night,&uot;&160;Hoffpauir said. &uot;And you can’t ever let up against them.&uot;

Cathedral coach Ken Beesley said Vidalia has had his teams’ number the past few years, while Cathedral enjoyed some success earlier against the Vikings.

&uot;We enjoy playing them,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;They are well-coached and usually put the ball in play. You get a good idea of how the rest of your season is going to go against them.&uot;

Cathedral senior Casey Rodgers said playing Vidalia is similar to playing a district game.

&uot;It’s always a big thing whenever we play each other,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s one of the biggest games of the year for us.&uot;

Cathedral junior Ben Eidt said the fact players from both teams see each other all of the time makes the series special.

&uot;You know it’s going to be a tough game,&uot; Eidt said.

Vidalia players also value the rivalry.

&uot;Every year they come over the bridge it’s special,&uot; said Vidalia senior pitcher Kevin Laird, who picked up the win Monday in a five-inning outing. &uot;We know all of them and it feels good when you beat your friends. We know Cathedral always has a good ball club. It’s more intense when they are on the other side.&uot;

Vidalia senior Adam Probst said the fact the Vikings and Green Wave always have good baseball teams adds to the drama.

&uot;We both usually have the best teams around, so it’s a good test and let’s us know where we stand,&uot; Probst said.

Vidalia senior Rod Donald said playing Cathedral carries extra meaning.

&uot;When you play against Cathedral, you tend to be a little more nervous because you want to do so good,&uot; Donald said. &uot;You want the bragging rights.&uot;

Vidalia junior Jarrett Hoffpauir said when Vidalia and Cathedral meet on the diamond, the game has more meaning.

&uot;We play in front of a big crowd, which is always fun,&uot; he said. &uot;With the pitchers they have you have to do well. Cathedral always has good athletes. It really gives us something to look forward to when we play them.&uot;

Vidalia junior Ryan Boles compares the rivalry with the Vikings facing Ferriday in football.

&uot;You know you’ve got to play your best against Cathedral,&uot; Boles said.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at joey.martin@natchezdemocrat.com.