Sports Briefes

JM softball tops writers poll

Defending West Virginia Class AAA state champion John Marshall tops the inagural West Virginia Sports Writers High School softball poll, released Monday.

Lincoln County was second, followed by Cabell Midland.

Wheeling Park, off to an 8-0 start, is ninth.

In Class A, Wheeling Central is tied for second place behind Buffalo.

Herbert Hoover garned the most votes among class AA teams.

Case earns ECHL award

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Monday announced that Matt Case of the Idaho Steelheads is the recipient of the Reebok Hockey Plus Performer of the Year award after finishing the season with a plus-minus rating of plus-32.

Mario Lamoureux of Ontario finished second at plus-30 followed by Jordon Southorn of Elmira who was plus-28 and Ontario’s C.J. Stretch and Kyle Kraemer, who both finished at plus-27.

Case, who was named to the All-ECHL First Team last week, finished the season third among defensemen with 39 points (6g-33a) and was tied for third among blueliners in assists. He finished even or better in 46 of his 62 games this season. He was a season-best plus-5 on Feb. 6 against Utah, when he tallied four points (1g-3a), tying for the fourth-best rating in the league this season.

Gyorko makes MLB debut

NEW YORK – Touted Padres prospect Jedd Gyorko, who played at WVU and went to high school at University High in Morgantown, made his major league debut Monday.

He doubled in the sixth for his first hit in an 11-2 loss.

Ratings up for NCAA Tourney

NEW YORK – The NCAA tournament’s television ratings for the regional semifinals and finals are up 13 percent from last year.

The games Thursday through Sunday on CBS and TBS averaged a 7.0 rating and 14 share, up from a 6.2/12 last season.

CBS and Turner said Monday the tournament is averaging a 6.2/13 overall this year, the best since 2005.

Tubby Smith off to Texas Tech

Tubby Smith is coming to Texas Tech to try to turn around another wayward program.

Smith agreed to terms Monday with Texas Tech to be its next coach, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.

He will take over for interim coach Chris Walker, who went 11-20 this season and 3-15 in Big 12 play. The program is still reeling from Billy Gillispie’s volatile one-year tenure, which ended when he resigned in September.

Former Toledo coach dies

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference record holder for men’s basketball coaching victories has died. Former Toledo coach Bob Nichols was 82.

Nichols led the Rockets to three NCAA Tournament appearances and won 376 games in 22 seasons at Toledo from 1965 through 1987.

He also won five Mid-American Conference titles at Toledo, where he played basketball.