The Seward County Community College baseball team moved one step closer to winning its 12th Jayhawk West Conference championship with an 11-1 (five innings) and 9-0 conference sweep over Pratt Community College on Saturday afternoon in Liberal at Brent Gould Field. Sophomore ace Tomas Cruz pitched a complete game in the opener, and Christian Kowalchuk tossed his first complete-game shutout of the season while striking out nine batters in the nightcap. Seward County (35-16, 24-6) will clinch at least a share of the conference title with one win over the Beavers (17-31, 9-21) on Sunday, and two wins will secure the Saints an outright regular season championship.

Seward had a solid offensive approach the entire afternoon hitting .449 (22-for-49) as a team. The doubleheader was lopsided in the end with Pratt being held to just five base hits against the Seward County No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers.

Pratt reached the scoreboard first in game one with an unearned run off Cruz in the top of the first inning. That would be the only run the Beavers would score the rest of the day. Cruz then settled into a grove where at one point he retired nine straight batters.

The Saints managed to score at least one run in every inning, including three in the first, one in the second, four in the third and three in the fourth. The five-inning game was the Saints’ third run-rule victory of the season (19-6 at. Colby, 13-0 vs. Garden City).

Eight of the nine Seward County players recorded at least one base hit. Sophomore Michael Drzazga went 2-for-2 with three runs scored, and sophomore Austin Roff went 2-for-3 with two runs for the Saints. Sophomore Erik Hansen went 1-for-2 with three runs driven home, and freshman Caleb Nine tallied a 1-for-2 game with three RBI.

Cruz, the sophomore righty from Amarillo, Texas, allowed just two base hits and one walk while collecting eight strikeouts. Cruz is now 10-2 on the season, which ranks tied for sixth place in Seward County single-season history for most wins. Cruz also posted his seventh complete game of the season, which also ties him for sixth-place all-time on the SCCC single-season list.

In game two, Seward County scored a pair of runs in each of the first four innings of the game. Sophomore catcher David Masters launched his team-leading seventh homer of the season in the first inning to give the Saints a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Luke Hardcastle hit a RBI triple into center field and later came around to score on a RBI single by Keegan Morrow, to extend the Saints’ lead to 4-0.

The final run of the game for Seward was scored in the bottom of the sixth inning on a home run by first baseman Will Gowdy. The home run was made interesting by the wild 48 mph wind gusts which blew Gowdy’s high fly ball - that was hit to right-center field - all the way over to the right-field corner where it hit off the foul pole for the homer.

Pratt, meanwhile, was stymied at the plate by Kowalchuk who allowed three base hits, three walks and struck out five batters in his sixth win of the season.

Masters went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Roff collected his second straight multi-hit game going 2-for-2 with two RBI. During the last 11 games, Roff has batted .487 (19-for-39) with 12 RBI and seven multi-hit games.

Seward County will finish its regular season with a doubleheader against the Beavers on Sunday afternoon with a first pitch set at 1 p.m. at Brent Gould Field.