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It will be up to some sharp-eyed historian to prove otherwise, but the claim by Cape Girardeau's Capahas baseball team of being the oldest semi-professional baseball team in the country is a matter of great pride for area residents, many of whom have either played for the team or rooted for it over the years since it started in 1894.

For the past 32 years, Jess Bolen has been the team's manager, ably assisted by his wife, Mary, who is undoubtedly the team's biggest booster. And for the past 14 years, Kohlfeld Distributing Inc. has been team's sponsor -- during a time when the team benefited immensely from loyal corporate support.

But in recent years the cost of playing ball has skyrocketed. Instead of competing with other teams in nearby towns, the Capahas travel long distances to match up with other good teams. And the annual championship games have grown more and more expensive.

Thanks to a new sponsor, McDowell South in Jackson and McDowell Ford, Pontiac and Buick of Perryville, the Capahas have a bright future ahead as the team continues its winning ways.

Congratulations to the Capahas and to the McDowell backers who hope to see the team last another century or so.

Play ball!