A youth baseball coach yesterday was ordered to stand trial in Uniontown, Pa., for allegedly promising to pay one of his players $25 to hurt a 9-year-old mentally disabled teammate.

Eight-year-old Keith Reese testified at a preliminary hearing that T-ball coach Mark R. Downs Jr. made the offer before a June 27 playoff game.

"He told me if I would hit [the teammate] in the face, he would pay me $25," Keith said.

Reese said he had never before warmed up for a game with his mentally disabled teammate, Harry Bowers.

His first toss hit Bowers in the groin area. As the boy walked away, he said his coach told him to "go out there and hit him harder."

"So I went out and hit him in the ear," Reese said.

Downs, 27, will be arraigned Sept. 15 on two counts of criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault and one count each of corruption of minors, criminal conspiracy and recklessly endangering another person.

The injured boy's mother had told police that the coach looked for ways to keep her son out of games because he was not as good as other kids.

-- From News Services