Rivalry renewed for Cathedral

Published 12:09 am Sunday, May 9, 2010

The mixed feelings of excitement, nervousness and anticipation at high schools this time of year are usually caused by year-end exams and the lazy days of summer fast approaching.

But on the campus of Cathedral this week, those emotions will be spurred on by something else.

Yes, it’s time again for the Green Wave to face off against their big rival St. Aloysius. But this time so much more is on the line than the usual bragging rights.

The two schools will meet on the baseball diamond this week for the right to play for the state championship at Trustmark Park in Pearl, home of the Mississippi Braves.

Cathedral punched its ticket to the South State championship series with 10-0 and 16-3 victories over Weir while St. Aloysius had little trouble with Nanih Waiya in its half of the bracket, defeating the Warriors 11-3 and 8-1 to reach the South State finals.

Cathedral’s rivalry with its Catholic neighbor in Vicksburg has been going on for decades.

The two schools love nothing better than to beat each other in whatever sport they play, but football and baseball is where the claws really come out, and frankly, St. Al has had the upper hand recently.

The Flashes have won the past four football contests against the Green Wave, all down-to-the-wire nail biters including this season’s 10-7 overtime triumph.

And after languishing in Cathedral’s baseball shadow for a long time, the St. Al broke out last year, ending Cathedral’s undefeated season in the quarterfinals of the playoffs en route to a state championship.

The Green Wave got a measure of revenge earlier this year when they swept a two-game series in dominant fashion, winning 11-5 at home and, even more impressively, 12-0 on the road.

Those two losses sent St. Al into a bit of a tailspin. The Flashes were 11-0 entering the series but limped to a 3-6 finish to the regular season before righting themselves in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, no team has been hotter in the Class 1A playoffs than Cathedral, which has won its four games by a combined score of 49-5.

And now Cathedral faces its toughest challenge of not only this season, but perhaps since 2004, when they last won a state championship.

Sure, the Green Wave advanced to the South State championship series two years ago and came up one run short in Game 3 of the series, but that series was against East Webster, not their bitter rivals to the north.

I would dare to venture that the games at both Chester Willis Field and Vicksburg’s Bazinsky Park will be crammed with boisterous fans from both schools.

It will probably be the most charged atmosphere either team has been a part of all season.

But that is what makes sports fun. There is nothing like going up against your rival in front of a large, noisy crowd with the chance to go to the state championship series.

So enjoy it guys. This is a special moment and one you will probably remember for a long time, win or lose.

But of course, the memory would be much sweeter with a win. Good luck.