Baseball league geared toward individuals with developmental disabilities coming to Sherman

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Alternative Baseball, an organization aimed at individuals with autism or other developmental disorders, is looking to form a Sherman team.

A sports group aimed at athletes with autism and other developmental disabilities hopes to start a team based out of Texoma in the near future. Representatives with Alternative baseball announced that they are seeking a manager and coach for a new Sherman-based team.

The Atlanta based organization focuses on forming baseball teams across the country for players, ages 15 and older, with developmental disabilities including the autism spectrum ADHD, and Down's Syndrome, among others.

"Alternative Baseball provides the ultimate baseball experience for teens and adults ages 15 and older with all developments disabilities," Alternative Baseball Executive Director Tyler Duncan said.

Duncan said he started the organization in 2016 in the greater Atlanta area after his own childhood experiences growing up. As a child who was diagnosed with autism, Duncan said he found himself having difficulty finding team sports.

"I myself was cut from many of those traditional playing opportunities because of the developmental delays when I was much, much younger or because of the negative perception when I continued to grow up," he said.

Through the organization, he said he wanted to give young athletes the opportunity to compete in the same youth sports that their classmates do. The teams compete using the same rules, fields and team setup as other organizations.

The organization was primarily focused around Georgia until around 2018 when it began to expand. Last year saw significant growth for the organization as it expanded to a total of 33 states and 80 teams.

Duncan attributed this in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and many other sports organizations going into hiatus.

All of the teams travel for games, normally competing with teams in their region. For the prospective Sherman team, this would include games against teams in Duncan, Oklahoma and the newly-created McKinney team.

Through the teams, Duncan said he hopes to provide a resource to what has otherwise been historically an underserved group. While resources for those with autism or other disorders are plentiful during childhood, these resources quickly diminish later in life.

"They really drop off a cliff once they are out of high school because the state no longer has to provide anything to help them toward independence," he said.