Joe's Morning Sports-Thursday, March 26, 2020

With opening day postponed until at least mid-May, this might be the year the baseball needs to try out some creative ideas.  Here's one of them: seven-inning doubleheaders.  Those have long been a staple of minor league and college baseball.  Doubleheaders are rarely scheduled in Major League Baseball but with the prospect of a shortened season because of the virus outbreak, shortened twinbills could be a new approach.  Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins and Yankees manager Aaron Boone say seven-inning doubleheaders could add more games in a condensed season without exhausting pitching staffs.  The regular season had been scheduled to begin today before being delayed by the virus.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is expected to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a one-year, $8 million deal, sources told ESPN.  Suh, a former Nebraska standout, signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers last offseason.  Suh's 261 snaps against double-teams, third most in the NFL last season, allowed other members of the defense to be freed up as Tampa Bay allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league (73.8 per game) and tied for seventh with 47 sacks.  Suh, who turned 33 in January, was selected second overall by the Detroit Lions in 2010.  He played five seasons in Detroit and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro.  In 2015, Suh signed a six-year, $114 million contract, with $60 million guaranteed, with the Miami Dolphins to become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history at that time.

Creighton guard Ty-Shon Alexander has been named a Third Team All-American by USA Today.  Alexander is the second member of the Bluejay backcourt to earn All-America honors this season, as Marcus Zegarowski has been recognized as an All-American by NBC Sports (Second Team), Stadium (Third Team) and the Associated Press (Honorable Mention) this month.  Alexander led Creighton and ranked third in the BIG EAST with 16.9 points per game while also adding five rebounds.  The junior from North Carolina, was second in the BIG EAST in free throw percentage at 86%, fifth in minutes per game (34.7), and sixth in three-point percentage (40%).  Creighton finished the season 24-7 and earned a share of its first BIG EAST regular-season title.

Kelli Browning, Mike Tranchilla and Pat Venditte have been announced as the 2020 class for the Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame.  Browning helped lead the Creighton volleyball team from 2011-14, including three NCAA Tournament appearances.  She became the first player in program history to earn All-American honors in three consecutive seasons, including a spot on the AVCA All-America Third Team in 2014.  Tranchilla guided the Creighton men's soccer team to four NCAA Tournament appearances from 1999-2002, helping the Bluejays reach the national championship match in 2000 and the College Cup twice (2000, 2002).  He remains Creighton's only two-time All-College Cup team honoree.  Tranchilla was a two-time finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy (2001, 2002) and finished fourth overall in the voting after his senior season.  Venditte, an ambidextrous pitcher for the Creighton baseball staff from 2005-08, earned spots on the 2007 Baseball American and Rivals.com All-America Second teams, the SouthernCollegeSports.com All-America Second Team and the Collegiate Baseball All-America Third Team after posting the Creighton single-season program record for ERA (1.88) and appearances (38).  Browning, Tranchilla and Venditte are part of the 53rd class of inductees and will give the Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame 91 inductees, plus the 1991 Creighton Baseball Team.  The date, time and location of the 53rd annual Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame banquet will be announced at a later date.

The Nebraska School Activities Association announced yesterday that it has extended the suspension of all high school athletic and activity practices and competitions through May 1.  The key to going forward remains the ten-person limit for gatherings.  Norfolk High has cancelled spring sports for this year while Norfolk Catholic and Lutheran High Northeast at this time would still be open to participation.  The NSAA’s postseason was to begin May 2 with soccer districts.  State soccer has May 13-19 dates in Omaha, state baseball May 16-21 in Lincoln and Papillion, state girls tennis May 21-22 in Omaha and Lincoln, state track and field May 22-23 at Burke Stadium and state boys golf May 27-28 at four sites across the state.

Saturday Morning:  Sportstalk on 106 KIX & 106KIX.com from 9:00-10:00 AM.  On the final Sportstalk of the season, Joe Tjaden will recap basketball seasons with boys coaches Tony Siske from Norfolk High, Two-time Defending State Champion BRLD coach Cory Meyer, & Humphrey St. Francis’ Eric Kessler.  Girls hoops will be a topic with Two-time Defending State Champion Wynot coach Steve Wieseler, Ponca’s Bob Hayes, and Hartington Cedar Catholic’s Craig Wortmann.  Also, Neligh/Oakdale wrestling coach Gary Davis.

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In other news

NORFOLK - Northeast Community College Head Women’s Basketball Coach Matt Svehla recently announced the commitment of Yiesha Williams, a First Team All-Area selection from Elkhart Central High School in Elkhart, Ind.