SPORTS digest


YSU softball DH moved to Thursday

youngstown

Youngstown State’s softball doubleheader against St. Bonaventure has been moved from Wednesday to Thursday at 3 p.m. at the YSU Softball Field.

YSU is still set to play Akron today at 3 p.m. at the YSU Softball Field.

TV/Streaming ratings way up for Big Dance

CBS Sports and Turner Sports say viewership for the first Sunday of the NCAA Tournament, which was packed with close games and marquee teams, was up 34 percent over last year’s Sunday second-round coverage.

The networks announced Monday that the eight games aired Sunday on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV averaged 11.9 million viewers. Last year’s Sunday second-round games drew 8.9 million viewers.

Sunday’s games featured some of the college basketball’s most notable power programs: Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA and Kansas. Six of the eight games played were decided by seven points or fewer, with South Carolina upsetting Duke in prime time.

Overall, viewership for the tournament is up 10 percent from last year at an average of 9.325 million over the first four days and has been the most-watched in 24 years, CBS and Turner said.

The networks also said the first weekend of the tournament was streamed on March Madness Live more than ever before with 69.1 million live streams, an increase of 24 percent over last year.

LeBron helps design sneakers for disabled

cleveland

LeBron James has teamed up on a special sneaker for special athletes.

The Cavaliers star and Nike have unveiled a new shoe designed for disabled athletes that can be slipped on and off more easily. The LeBron Soldier 10 FlyEase is modeled after the signature shoe worn by James, but it has no laces and can be secured with Velcro straps and zippers.

“It’s about us empowering every kid and everybody to understand we are all athletes,” James said.

The project is near and dear to James, a father of three. He hosted kids from the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation last week at the team’s facility and presented them with new pairs of the stylish, slip-on sneakers.

“Sports should never be taken away from a kid,” the three-time NBA champion said. “It creates fun. It creates laughter. It creates brotherhood or sisterhood.”

Witness: Hernandez shot men after drink spilled

boston

A former friend of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez told the jury at Hernandez’s double-murder trial Monday that he opened fire on a car because he believed two men inside had taunted him at a nightclub.

Alexander Bradley testified about the shootings on July 16, 2012. Bradley said Hernandez ordered him to pull up next to the victims’ car at a stop light and then repeatedly fired a revolver into the car. Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu were killed.

Relatives of the men wept as Bradley testified, prompting Judge Jeffrey Locke to call for a brief recess.

Bradley said Hernandez used a racial epithet and said, “What’s up now?” before firing.

The Boston Globe reported that Bradley also testified that Hernandez “felt people thought he was soft” and he wanted to prove them wrong.

The former New England Patriots tight end is accused of killing the men after de Abreu accidentally bumped into him and spilled his drink at the Boston club.

Hernandez is serving a life sentence in the 2013 fatal shooting of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.

Tebow sent to Mets’ low-A affiliate in Columbia

lakeland, fla.

Tim Tebow’s baseball odyssey will continue in South Carolina with the Columbia Fireflies, the Mets’ low Class-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League, where he will play every day as he attempts his transition from quarterback to corner outfielder.

“Sending him to a full-season club is what we hoped to be able to do,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Newsday on Monday. “And based on what he’s done in spring training, and his whole body of work since last fall, we feel comfortable with him going to Columbia.”

Wire reports

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