WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — In Warner Robins, the baseball diamond is one place where kids, teens, and adults with special needs can all interact and just enjoy the game.
For one player, Hannah Shepherd, playing in little league is a way for her to compete with her siblings.
"I wanted to be like a good softball player like my sisters, Kaitlyn and Abigail, have done, because I've seen them play in high school and I'm like, 'Hmm, what if I just play little league baseball and do better than them?'" said Hannah.
Hannah is 19-years-old and has high-functioning autism. Playing baseball has helped her keep her popularity, which she first gained at Veterans High School two years ago.
If you ask her, she has plenty of skills on the diamond.
"I'm pretty athletic whenever I hit the ball, because I have to focus, I can't focus on my mom a lot, because my mom says, 'Hannah, focus on the ball,'" Hannah said.
Her mom, Lynette, says the challenger league is the perfect balance for Hannah.
"She wasn't able to play high school sports, so this was a great fit for her. It allows her to keep playing the sport she loves, and it allows her to have interaction with non-disabled students as they come out and help her on the field," Lynette said.
Hannah's been playing for more than four years now, and her mom says she'll keep playing until she ages out at 22.
"This is baseball in its purest form. They just come out and have a good time, it's not about an agenda, it's about playing and having fun," Lynette said.
With this season in the books, Hannah will be counting down the days until her next little league game.
Hannah has since graduated from Veterans High School, and she's now a student at the Transition Academy in the Houston County School System.
The challenger league will begin registration for next season starting in January 2020. To learn more about the teams, you can take a look at the Warner Robins American Little League site here.