Baseball program for teens, adults with special needs looking for coaches, volunteers to organize local teams in the Triangle

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Nationwide program helps local teens with autism play baseball
The Alternative Baseball league gives teens and adults with autism a chance to play baseball.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Professional baseball is scheduled finally begin in two weeks but, like everything else during the pandemic, who knows if it will?

The one thing that's for sure about baseball during the pandemic is an opportunity that allows you to help get a nationwide league for special needs players off of first base.

It's called the Alternative Baseball league.

"There's no other team that I know of that would take someone like Andrew," said Sharon Dinsmore.

Sharon Dinsmore of Chapel Hill is talking about her 16-year-old son who has autism.

He hopes to eventually play in the league started a couple of years ago in Georgia by Taylor Duncan.

"I couldn't play sports when I was much younger due to coaches' perceptions and perceived ideas of what those with autism can and cannot be capable of," Duncan told ESPN adding, "And I feel like my calling is to change that."

ESPN featured the now-24-year-old in a video posted on its website back when Duncan announced he was trying to take the league nationwide.

"We need this in as many communities as we possibly can and I'm not going to stop until it happens," Duncan said with resolve.

That includes the Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville area.

And although Duncan has identified players like Andrew Dinsmore, he has no coaches or volunteers to run the local operation.

Andrew's mom said while the league may not be able to play until the pandemic is over, this is the perfect time for people to volunteer to organize local teams.


"You can get just sit at your typewriter and communicate and help sign people up," Sharon Dinsmore told ABC11.

There are plenty of other things to keep volunteers busy before play begins including fundraising for uniforms and operational expenses.

If you need motivation, consider that what we've all been experiencing for the past few months - social distancing - is a glimpse into the life of someone with special needs.

"For kids like Andrew, it's that way all the time. They're always on quarantine. So just to belong to a team is a great thing," Dinsmore explained.

A team where league founder Taylor Duncan says every player can shine, "Whether it's striking out several times and finally getting that big hit, every moment is special."

If you'd like to help make some of those "special moments" just click on this link to the Alternative Baseball league's volunteer page.