'Beepball' tournament provides support for Alström Angels

'Beepball' tournament provides support for Alström Angels

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The non-profit Alström Angels is holding a fundraising baseball tournament -- with a catch: everyone participating has to wear blindfolds and use beeping balls and bases to play the game. 

It's to provide money to combat Alström Syndrome, a rare disease characterized by the progressive loss of vision and hearing; it can also cause serious or life-threatening medical problems. It's so rare it only affects slightly more than 900 people world-wide.

Cassie Johnston's daughter, Bryce, is one of four people with the disease in Texas. The diagnosis prompted her family to start raising awareness and money to provide support against the disease. 

Johnston said more than 20 teams are playing in the tournament.

"The balls and the bases beep," Johnston explained, "and that way, the players who don't have sight can use their ears to play the game of baseball. If a player gets a hit, there's just a first and a third base; the player doesn't know which one is going to start buzzing. They get a hit, one of those bases starts buzzing, and they have to make it to the base and tag it before the fielders get possession of the ball."

The tournament continues Sunday.

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