The league was developed last year to give children ages 7 to 12 who have “mild life challenges,” such as ADHD, apraxia, auditory processing disorders, speech delays and dyslexia, a chance to play baseball just like other children their age, Wickley said. He brought the idea of the league to the Murphey Candler board, because his son, Jackson, has speech delays and auditory processing disorder.
Last year’s first season was a success with about 40 children participating on a total of four teams. Wickley said the kids, including his son, had a blast.
“One of the coolest things that have come out of this is just how much these kids have connected with their dads again,” he added.
The Frontier League is set up slightly different than mainstream baseball, Wickley said.
“It’s less intense baseball,” he said. “We shorten the runs per inning so we’re in and off the field quicker, so they’re not sitting out in the outfield for a half an hour getting bored. We keep the team sizes small so we don’t have 12 kids in the dugout at any time.”
Other than that, the players wear the same type of team uniforms as those in the Murphey Candler Little League, and they participate in opening day ceremonies at the park, Wickley said.
Sign-ups for the spring season will continue through the next few weeks or until the league hits its capacity of about 80 players. The first practices start March 3. Wickley said about 60 participants were signed up by last week.
“Of the roughly 40 kids we had in the fall, I think all but three signed up to play again, and those three didn’t sign up because they were playing soccer,” he said. “That’s a pretty good return rate.”
He is anticipating the league will be broken up into eight teams this season, twice as many as last year.