Younger Hoffpauir has big shoes to fill

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 22, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Being the son of a coach is never easy, because the expectations are always so high. It can be even tougher following in the footsteps of a successful older brother for the same reason.

Jarrett Hoffpauir, a senior on the Vidalia baseball team, is doing both, and it doesn’t appear the pressure or the expectations are causing him any problems on the baseball diamond.

After 13 games the Vikings are off to an impressive 11-2 start, thanks much in part to the play of Hoffpauir.

&uot;To be honest, I haven’t ever had a player get off to the type of start Jarrett has this year,&uot; Johnny Lee Hoffpauir, Jarrett’s father and the Vidalia Vikings’ head coach, said.

The younger Hoffpauir pitches and plays shortstop, and through 13 games he is hitting .682 with 24 runs scored, 22 RBI, 10 doubles and five homers.

&uot;He’s on a hot streak, and I can’t expect him to keep it up all season,&uot; Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said.

The quick start for both Jarrett and the rest of the Vikings has many fans comparing this year’s squad to the 1996 state championship team.

There are certainly many similarities.

The head coach is the same, and the top player is the coach’s son. In 1996 it was Josh Hoffpauir leading the way as both a pitcher and shortstop.

Since that time, Josh has gone on to complete an outstanding college career that ended at Southern Miss. And he is currently in Scottsdale, Ariz., at spring training with the Oakland Athletics after an All-Star season with the A’s rookie league team. Next year Jarrett will follow in his brother’s footsteps to Hattisburg to play for the Golden Eagles.

Despite the age difference, the two brothers have always been close, and sports has always been a common bond for them.

&uot;Some of my earliest memories are of