Facing a line-up as talented and deep as Chanhassen, giving extra outs is not ideal.

A 1-0 lead over visiting Chaska, the run scoring on an errant throw, the Red Birds took advantage of two more Cubs miscues on infield ground balls, scoring eight runs in the fifth inning in a 9-0 home win July 29.

The pivotal frame saw Chanhassen send 13 batters to the plate, key hits from Brandon Arnold (2-run double to the wall), Aaron Kloeppner (2-run double to the left-field corner) and Andrew Mahlke (2-run line drive single to right field).

Zach Hoffman and Aaron Pfaff added run-scoring singles in the big inning.

Tommy Thompson, after walking the bases loaded in the first inning, allowed just a one-out double in the fifth inning to Chaska's Riley Swenson over seven scoreless innings for the Red Birds.

Thompson, who needed to stay loose twice in the bullpen in the eight-run fifth inning, struck out five batters before giving way to Brandt Thompson, who also had four strikeouts in two innings.

Chaska, at 6-4 in league play, is the No. 3 seed and will host either Burnsville, Eagan or Shakopee at Athletic Park on Sunday, Aug. 2.

Chanhassen, 9-0 in River Valley League, closes out the regular season with the No. 1 seed on the line at 7:30 p.m. at Victoria on Thursday, July 30. The Vics are 8-1 in seeding games.

John Straka will start for the Red Birds, which also beat Excelsior 8-1 on July 28 on three-RBI games from Ryan Diers and Ben Livorsi.

Blake Tritch, Diers and Nick Smith combined for 15 strikeouts in the four-hitter.


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