With Chaska suffering back-to-back losses to Eagan and Victoria, Chanhassen found itself July 21 to supplant themselves squarely in first place in the River Valley League East Division.
Beautiful weather, a full grandstand with lined fences up and down the lines for Lenzen Night at Athletic Park, John Straka returned home, leading the Red Birds to a 7-0 shutout win.
Straka, who pitched off the same mound as a member of Chaska High School last in 2008, struck out five batters, allowing six hits over the 112-pitch complete game victory for Chanhassen.
The Red Birds had six extra-base hits to one for Chaska including a pair of home runs and four RBIs from Brandon Arnold, and three doubles from Michael Jurgella.
Arnold lifted the fourth pitch of the game over the outfield fence for the 1-0 Chanhassen lead.
Back to back doubles from Garrett Fischer and Jurgella plated the second run in the sixth inning before Fischer scored from first base on a Jurgella two-bagger for the 3-0 advantage.
An Arnold 3-run homer was part of a four-run ninth inning, capped by a Nick Smith RBI-single to score Jurgella following his third double.
Chaska's Matt Halloran was 3-for-3 with J.T. Canakes finishing with a multi-hit game including a double.
Chaska pitcher Drake Kilber allowed three runs through seven-plus innings, fanning three batters in scattering nine hits.
Chanhassen, which beat Burnsville 8-3 on Monday, is now 9-1 in Region 3B seeding games. A victory in one of two games against Eagan (Thursday, July 25 at home, July 26 in Eagan) would give the Red Birds the No. 1 seed.
Chanhassen rallied from a 3-2 deficit on July 19, a walk-off single from Jurgella for the 4-3 win. A pair of pitchers playing in the field combined to start the ninth inning, Straka hit by pitch, and Miles Nablo with the sacrifice bunt.
A Jurgella triple and Matt Smith sacrifice fly tied the game at three in the eighth inning for the Red Birds.
Jurgella, Matt Smith, Shawn Riesgraf, and Derek Smith each collected two hits with Zach Hartford, John Eischens and Aaron Kloeppner combining to pitch 3 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
Chanhassen also beat Burnsville 5-3 on July 18 and Victoria 5-0 on July 16.
Jurgella and Justin Anderson each hit a pair of doubles with Fischer driving in two runs. Jurgella was 4-for-5 with two runs scored with Anderson going 3-for-3 at the plate.
Chris Choles struck out five batters in allowing one run over 3 1/3 innings for the save. Shawn Riesgraf earned the win, giving up zero earned runs over five-plus innings.
Chanhassen got a shutout versus Victoria, getting seven scoreless innings and eight strikeouts from Dominic Reed. Choles got the final six outs, the Red Bird staff finishing with 11 punchouts.
Hoffmann hit a solo shot with Jurgella and Ryan Diers with two hits each.
Carter Schmidt had three of Victoria's seven hits. Corey Binger threw 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief ball for the Vics.
In first place in the River Valley League to begin the week, a winless stretch has Chaska looking up at Chanhassen and Eagan.
Following a 4-2 win over Burnsville -- a complete game effort from Drake Kilber in a seven-strikeout performance July 16, which included a Justin Johnson home run -- Chaska was beaten 6-5 at Eagan July 18 and 9-5 at Victoria July 19.
Matt Halloran, 3-for-4, had one of three doubles for the Cubs against Eagan, a game they twice rallied to tie only to see the Bandits retake the lead.
Thirteen Victoria hits including three each from Cole Sweeney and Hunter Even did the damage as the Vics halted a four-game losing streak in Region 3B seeding contests.
Leighton, leading off as the game's pitcher, was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Dylan Peterson also had a solo home run for the Cubs.
Chaska, now 20-7 overall, ranked No. 2 in Class B, closes out the regular season at Shakopee at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 26, and at home on Sunday, July 28 versus the defending Class A champions St. Louis Park at 6 p.m.
Just a few short years ago, 2015 to be exact, Cologne was playing in the Region 7C playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Now they'll be making their third appearance in five years, this time advancing without needing to play a game.
Cologne's remarkable season, a 12-win league schedule, capped by victories over Green Isle and Brownton has the Hollanders in the fourth spot, earning a bye into regions.
Cologne won in 11 innings by a 12-8 score at Green Isle on July 18, following it up with a 4-1 regular season finale win over Brownton.
Kyle Brazil hit a two-run homer in the first with Tim Swanson driving in a run with a double, while Anthony Brenner crossed home plate on an error. Casey Clemensen threw eight strong innings for the win.
Cologne next plays Friday, Aug. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at Fritz Field. The Hollanders are co-hosts of the Region 7C Tournament with Carver.
Carver, despite losses to Cologne in back-to-back weeks, gained the No. 1 seed with an 11-10 win over Green Isle and a Young America loss to Plato on July 21.
An 11-4 deficit, Green Isle got within one run, a Cameron Smrekar inside-the-park grand slam and Aaron Brush solo home shot making things interesting at 11-10.
David Dolan's two-run double scored the final two runs for Carver.
The Black Sox open the Region 7C in the opening game Thursday, Aug. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Cologne against the eighth seed.