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Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Sad Sad Story

I don't think there as any comment I can make other than to say that this is just sad if it prooves to be true.

A T-ball coach allegedly paid one of his players $25 to hurt an 8-year-old mentally disabled teammate so he wouldn't have to put the boy in the game, police said Friday.

Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, is accused of offering one of his players the money to hit the boy in the head with a baseball, police said. Witnesses told police Downs didn't want the boy to play in the game because of his disability. Police said the boy was hit in the head and in the groin with a baseball just before a game, and didn't play, police said.

"The coach was very competitive," state police Trooper Thomas B. Broadwater said. "He wanted to win."

He was arrested and arraigned Friday on charges including criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault and corruption of minors. He was released from jail on an unsecured bond.

The boy's mother asked state police to investigate her son's injuries because she suspected Downs wanted to keep the boy off the field, despite a league rule that required each player to participate in three innings a game, Broadwater said.

Eric Forsythe, the president of the R.W. Clark Youth Baseball League, said Downs had two daughters on the T-ball team. League organizers investigated accusations against Downs before the T-ball season ended earlier this month but could not prove that he did anything wrong.

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