Vikings, Green Wave continue friendly rivalry, determine Miss-Lou best

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The National Basketball Association has Los Angeles and Boston. In the National Football League it’s Dallas v. Washington.

McDonald’s boasts the Big Mac; Burger King the Whopper.

Even the local baseball scene cannot escape the phenomenon. Although, not as ugly and bitter as most, the annual Vidalia-Cathedral season series gives the winner bragging rights for the Miss-Lou.

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&uot;It’s just a great rivalry,&uot; Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. Cathedral has &uot;got a good team and we feel we’ve got a good team too. They’ve got great fans and our fans are wonderful too. You couldn’t ask for more when you come to the ballpark.&uot;

The right of passage continues

4 p.m. today as the Vikings cross the bridge to face Cathedral for the second of three times this year.

The two teams faced off in the final of the Vidalia Tournament on March 16 with Barry Bowden striking out 13 Green Wave batters in a 2-0 Vidalia win.

While it will be just his second game in the friendly spate as a head coach, Cathedral’s Craig Beesley has been a participant in several classic affairs.

&uot;There are so many games that stick out,&uot; he said. &uot;It seems like we’d always win when we’d play here and Vidalia would always win when we played over there. There have been a lot of good ones.&uot;

Beesley is for certain Te Riley will commandeer the mound for his Green Wave (7-3) today, but, like Hoffpauir, is unclear whom Vidalia will throw.

Hoffpauir said any one of his staff &045; from Bowden to Mac Ware to Brett Hinson &045; could start today, and, he plans for each one to see action, as the Vikings (15-0) enjoy their first off-weekend of the season.

&uot;The bad thing is we’ve only played games in lumps,&uot; Hoffpauir said.

&uot;Out of the 15 we’ve played, 12 of them have been in tournaments.&uot;

Vidalia, which currently shares Class 2A’s No. 1 ranking with Episcopal-Baton Rouge, has a purpose in scheduling a difficult non-district lineup, which includes the Cathedral series that will end next Wednesday in Vidalia, Hoffpauir said.

He chooses tournaments and higher-class competition to make up for a rather short and weak district season so that the Vikings will be battle tested when it the postseason arrives.

&uot;When we play Cathedral it is certainly a playoff atmosphere for both teams &045; there is no doubt about it,&uot; Hoffpauir said.

&uot;The littlest mistake will get you beat if you don’t play sound baseball.&uot;

Squaring off against Vidalia prompts Beesley to change things up for his Green Wave.

Rather than sitting on its heels for a breakout inning, Cathedral will have to manufacture runs playing small ball, somewhat of a gray area this season, Beesley said.

&uot;All I can ask for is it be close late in the game. I don’t think the score will be lopsided,&uot; he said. &uot;I think the kids enjoy the good competition with Vidalia. Hopefully we can meet the challenge (today).&uot;

For Hoffpauir, this is the second installment of a Beesley-run Cathedral team.

Now an assistant, Ken Beesley &045; Craig’s father &045; was the longtime Green Wave skipper before giving the keys to his son this year.

&uot;They have a lot in common,&uot; Hoffpauir said of the father-son combination. &uot;Craig is going to be a good coach. He was a great ball player. He loves to compete and knows a lot about the game of baseball.

&uot;You can see by the way his kids act around the ballpark &045; inside and out &045; he’s going to have them ready to play. And a lot of that comes from Ken.&uot;