MACON, Ga. — A new baseball league is coming to Central Georgia and it's catering to those may not have had the chance to play before. It's called Alternative Baseball.

The baseball league offers a competitive atmosphere for people on the autism spectrum or with other special needs. It was started by Taylor Duncan who, at age 4, was diagnosed with autism himself.

"I couldn't hardly speak full sentences until I was well into the 1st grade. I had a lot of issues with textures. I had a lot of issues dealing with loud noises. I couldn't attend a ballgame," Duncan said.

His condition kept him from one his favorite things in the world, the game of baseball. Duncan said thanks to coaches' misunderstandings of his ability, he was often on the sidelines.

"They deemed me an injury risk, so I was put out from playing traditional baseball," Duncan said.

Duncan didn't want to see that happen to anyone else, so in 2016, he started his own league, Alternative Baseball, in Dallas, Georgia. Since then the league has exploded to more than a dozen cites across the US and is now coming to Macon this fall. It provides an authentic baseball experience to teens and adults aged 15 and older.

Alternative Baseball follows major league rules including leading off, stealing bases, balls, and strikes, and the use of wood bats.

"Recreating the entire sandlot experience like you see in the movies and just like people played growing up," Duncan said.

Former Bleckley County Royal, Georgia State Panther, and minor league St. Louis Cardinal Chase Raffield offered his services as coach.

"if you love the game, sports is for anyone, so I think that taking baseball to them won't be a problem and I'm excited for the players, to get to know them and we're going to grow together, so it'll be a blast," Raffield said.

Commissioner Duncan said the leagues top goal is making sure people are accepted and learn lessons that go beyond the baseball diamond.

"Even beyond sports, we want more opportunities to be able to show what we can do, not what we can't, not what people think we can't become, but give us the opportunities you might be surprised at what we can do and what we can offer," Duncan said.

Duncan said they have enough players signed up for about half a team right now. They're looking for more players, coaches and volunteers. Those who want to sign up or donate money or equipment can do so at https://www.alternativebaseball.org

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