T-ball coach to stand trial in May


UNIONTOWN, Pa. -- A T-ball coach charged with offering a player $25 to bean a disabled teammate has refused a plea agreement and will instead stand trial in May.

Mark Downs Jr., 27, still maintains he did nothing wrong before the June 27 playoff game.

But prosecutors say Downs did not want 9-year-old Harry Bowers Jr. to play in the game because the boy isn't as talented as other players and is mildly mentally retarded and autistic.

Another player, Keith Reese, testified at a preliminary hearing that he threw balls that hit Bowers in the groin and the ear before the game after Downs offered him $25 to make sure Bowers wouldn't be able to play.

Downs said players and their parents have misinterpreted a joking remark he made about paying players to hit an umpire with a ball.