Vidalia and Cathedral prepare for showdown

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; If anyone wanted to see who the best team in the Miss-Lou is, tonight might be a good way to find out.

Vidalia and Cathedral, generally regarded as the top two teams in the area, will face each other for the second time this season tonight, and both teams are looking forward to the matchup.

&uot;Playing Vidalia is a different from other games,&uot; Cathedral’s Preston Hicks said. &uot;It’s a little town rivalry. They beat us last game, so we’re going to try and come out here and even the score.&uot;

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The loss in the teams’ first game this season, a 5-2 Vidalia win, has also given the Green Wave some extra incentive for this time.

&uot;We couldn’t really get anything going offensively against them last time,&uot; Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said. &uot;That definitely cost us.&uot;

Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir discounted any

&uot;We scored on them early and then held on to win,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;But you can forget what happened the first time. This is a whole different game.&uot;

Vidalia has its own motivation to win, specifically making sure they beat Cathedral again to make up for last year’s losses.

&uot;It’s a big rivalry for us,&uot; Hinson said. &uot;They smashed us last year, but we smashed them the year before that.&uot;

This is a rivalry with some serious history. Vidalia and Cathedral have played since 1979, when the Vikings started their baseball program, Hoffpauir said.

&uot;It’s always been a good series, all the way back to the ’80s,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;Last year was the first year in a while we beat them.&uot;

Part of what makes this rivalry exciting for the players is that they know each other so well.

&uot;I’ve known all of them for quite a while,&uot; Cathdedral’s Patrick McDonough said. &uot;We hang out together. When you know them, you want to beat them even more. It’s something you can talk about on weekends.&uot;

For the Vikings, getting good games can be tough. Without any real competition in the Viking’s actual district, Hoffpauir tries to make sure his team has some tough games in April to help prepare it for the playoffs. Cathedral fits the bill.

&uot;We want to win any game we play, of course,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;But we’re using all of April as a district season for us to get ready for the playoffs. They’re a good team for that kind of game.&uot;

This game should help provide both teams with a measuring stick on how well they’re playing. Both teams seemed to feel Wednesday that hitting was something they could work on.

&uot;We need to hit better. It seems like we hit well for one or two innings and then we relax when we get a lead and the other team comes back,&uot; Hinson said. &uot;That won’t work in the playoffs.&uot;

Cathedral players said they felt their team had hit a lull in hitting, something they hope will change tonight and for the playoffs.

&uot;Our hitting is up and down,&uot; Drew Burns said. &uot;Most of the time we’re alright, but we’ve struggled a bit lately. Some games we blow it out and then some we can’t get hits. Most of the time we find a way to pull it off, but it would be better if we could hit more.&uot;