ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — After a successful first season last fall, the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater’s (SMPA) Miracle League doubled in size for its spring season.

The spring season ran from April 2 to May 26 and saw participation double from 51 to 102 players since fall 2021.

The significant increase in participation not only led to twice as many players, but also allowed for two separate divisions. Four teams played in a 16 and up division, while four others were in the 15 and under category.

The league aims at building friendship and self-esteem while providing an opportunity for players to be part of a team.

To help each athlete, everyone is assigned a “buddy” to protect them, help them with batting and running to bases, and to be a friend – on and off the field.

“My late uncle, Harry Taft, who was on the spectrum, was given the opportunity 25+ years ago to be an equipment manager with Albertville’s Athletic Department,” said Austin Freeman, an Albertville graduate and Miracle League “buddy.”

“I cannot express how much this community and being an Aggie meant to him and our family,” Freeman continued. “The love and compassion shown towards our family were amazing. Harry was included in everything!”

Freeman said being a part of this year’s Miracle League was a way to honor his late uncle.

“It has truly been the most beautiful and heartwarming thing I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part [of],” Freeman stated. “People have told me what this experience means for these kids/adults throughout the season — when in reality, the members of Miracle League have no idea what they have done for me and countless others.”

Fall registration for Miracle League is already open for both players and “buddies.” The fall season runs from September to October. Visit www.sandmountainpark.com for an application.

All league questions can directed to Coordinator Lisa Hansford at 256-302-4847 or lhansford@sportsfacilities.com.