The Seward County Community College baseball team won its 12th Jayhawk West Conference championship last weekend with a four-game sweep over Pratt Community College in the final regular season conference series. The Saints are entering the post-season with a 38-16 overall record, which includes their final tune-up last week defeating Dodge City 21-9, hitting six home runs in nine innings of play. Seward County will look to reach the Region VI Tournament in Wichita for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Last year the Saints were co-conference champions, but were ousted in the first round by Independence C.C. who swept the Saints 12-7 and 20-14 on their home field.

Seward County spent the majority of this season ranked in the NJCAA Top 20 poll and received its highest ranking at No. 10 the past two weeks. After starting the season 11-12, the Saints have won 27 of their final 31 games, which included the program’s second longest winning streak at 16 games. Saints’ head coach Galen McSpadden has now guided the Saints to 16 straight seasons with over 33 wins. McSpadden’s accomplishments this season include winning his 900th career game, being named head coach of the NJCAA All-Stars, and he will be inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Hall of Fame on May 23 in Grand Junction, Colo.

Tomas Cruz has been one of the top pitchers in the nation this season posting a 10-2 record, 2.00 earned run average, 76 strikeouts (9 walks), seven complete games and two shutouts in 67.1 innings pitched. Cruz’ impressive ERA ranks 20th in the NJCAA, and he is tied for the seventh most wins in the nation this season. The Saints’ offense has by led by sophomore David Masters (.391, 14 2B, 9 HR, 45 RBI), freshman Keegan Morrow (.397, 5 3B, 41 runs) and sophomore Will Gowdy (.312, 12 2B, 7 HR, 40 RBI).

Neosho County is just two years removed from winning the Jayhawk East Conference and finishing 44-15 overall in 2006. This season has been a struggle for 22nd year head coach Steve Murry and the Panthers, especially as of late, losing 13 of their last 16 games entering post-season play. Neosho went 1-3 against each of the top four teams in the Jayhawk East (Cowley, Johnson County, Fort Scott and Kansas City), despite recording a .290 batting average in 36 conference games. In addition, the fourth inning seems to be a pivotal inning for the Panthers who are 20-2 when leading after the fourth, but are 2-24 when trailing going into the top of the fifth.