COPY-Judge rejects youth bean ball appeal

Associated Press - July 10, 2007 9:53 AM ET

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A judge has decided to let stand the sentence of a former Pennsylvania youth baseball coach convicted of offering a young player money to bean a 9-year-old autistic teammate.

Mark Downs claimed in his appeal that his former attorney wasn't effective.

But a Fayette County judge ruled Downs' arguments were without merit and allowed his 1 to 6-year prison sentence to stand.

Downs was convicted of corruption of minors and assault for offering $25 to an 8-year-old boy to hit a mildly autistic teammate with a ball before a playoff game two years ago.

Prosecutors say the autistic boy didn't play as well as his teammates and Downs didn't want him in the game. League rules required each player to play at least three innings.

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