The Seward County Community College baseball program has announced that four sophomores have signed official NCAA Division I letters of intent for the 2008-2009 year. Sophomores Tomas Cruz (Clemson University), Christian Kowalchuk (University of Arkansas), David Masters (Kansas State University) and Austin Roff (Lamar University) have all inked LOIs after leading the Saints to a 42-19 overall record and to a Jayhawk West Conference championship this past season. There have now been 53 Seward County baseball players that have signed with a NCAA D-I program since 2001.

Cruz, a right-handed pitcher from Amarillo, guided the Saints on the mound this season with a team-leading 11-3 record. He led the Seward pitching staff in six statistical categories, including wins (11), earned run average (2.22), complete games (7), innings pitched (81.0), strikeouts (85) and strikeout/walk ratio (7.72).

Cruz, the Jayhawk West Conference Most Valuable Player, was also named First Team All-Conference and First Team NJCAA All-Region VI.

After finishing his SCCC career ranked tied for third in wins (16), fourth in innings pitched (143), tied for fourth in complete games (10), and eighth in strikeouts (129), Cruz will join the Clemson Tigers, who are one of the top NCAA baseball programs in the nation. Clemson participates in the Atlantic Coast Conference and is located in Clemson, S.C.

Clemson is 11th all-time making 11 trips to the College World Series in Omaha. The Tigers are led by 15th year head coach Jack Leggett who has a 680-309 overall record. The Tigers have posted at least 50 wins in a single-season 11 times since 1987 and have developed 13 first-round draft picks in the programís history. During the past four seasons, Clemson has had 36 players selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

Kowalchuk, a two-time Jayhawk West All-Conference selection, tallied 6-5 record with a 4.13 ERA and 66 strikeouts on the mound as a sophomore. The left-handed Saskatoon, Canada, native was named the Jayhawk West Freshman of the Year in 2007, and he was a participant in the NJCAA Freshman All-Star Series in Millington, Tenn., in June, 2007.

Kowalchuk joins an Arkansas program that competes in the Southeastern Conference and is located in Fayetteville, Ark. The Razorbacks completed a 34-22 campaign this season under sixth-year head coach Dave Van Horn. Kowalchuk will play his home games at Baum Stadium (opened in 1996) which was named college baseballís No. 1 facility by Baseball Americaís 1998 poll. In addition, Van Horn has won 449 games as a division I head coach in 11 seasons, having led Nebraska (2001-2002) and Arkansas (2004) to World Series appearances.

Masters, a 5-foot-11 catcher from Odessa, Texas, played his sophomore season for the Saints after transferring from the University of Texas Arlington. Following a First Team All-Conference and All-Region VI campaign in 2008, Masters will head back to the Division I level at Kansas State University next season.

Masters made an immediate impact in the Saintsí lineup this season batting .378 with 15 doubles, a team-high nine home runs and 48 RBIs. He also led the team with 73 base hits and recorded 19 walks and 19 strikeouts in 193 at bats.

Masters will head to Manhattan where he will join the Wildcats, who recently made their first-ever appearance in the Big 12 Tournament championship game. K-State head coach Brad Hill has led the Wildcats to 65 victories the past two seasons and has now posted a 150-128 record in five seasons with K-State. Hill came to Kansas State following nine seasons at Central Missouri State University. He led the Mules to seven NCAA D-II World Series appearances, which includes winning the 2003 National Championship.

Roff, a 6-foot-1 infielder from Colorado Springs, Colo., started in the Saintsí infield the past two seasons. He was the starting shortstop as a freshman in 2007 and was the teamís starting third baseman this past season. Roff led the team with 16 doubles, and he batted .305 with 61 base hits, two homers and 37 RBIs. He was among team leaders batting .355 (11-for-31) in seven Region VI Tournament post-season games.

Roff will play in the Southland Conference at Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas) in 2008-2009. The Cardinals finished their 2008 season with a 35-23 overall record and with an SLC Eastern Division-best 20-10 league record. Lamar is led by legendary head coach Jim Gilligan who just finished his 31st season with the Cardinals. Gilligan ranks 17th on the NCAA active list with 1,035 career victories.