By Nick Gerhardt
The path to repeating as Class B state champion has proven fraught with dangers and Chanhassen tiptoed along that road once again Friday but the Red Birds advanced once again via a 2-0 victory over Northfield at Dassel.
Chanhassen won its state tournament opening game last Friday when Aaron Pfaff hit a single with the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning against Champlin Park. The Reb Birds didn’t wait that long to score against the Knights but then again they didn’t put on the hitting display like they did a year ago en route to the Class B title.
Chanhassen pulled ahead 1-0 in the fourth inning after Shawn Riesgraf singled to left field to score Michael Jurgella from second base.
The Red Birds didn’t really need that much offense with the way starting pitcher John Straka threw.
John Straka fired nine scoreless innings after throwing a complete-game two-hitter last Friday against Champlin Park in a 1-0 walk-off victory. Straka allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked two. Straka also got two inning-ending double plays along the way.
Once again Straka faced a competent counterpart on the mound in Northfield starter Jake Mathison. Mathison danced in and out of limited trouble to throw eight innings. He allowed two runs on six hits, struck out seven and walked two.
Three of those six hits went for doubles for Chanhassen. Michael Jurgella finished 1-for-3 with a double and a run while Garrett Fischer went 1-for-4 with a double and a run in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly from Nick Smith. Riesgraf went 1-for-3 with an RBI and Aaron Kloeppner finished 1-for-3 with a double. Brandon Arnold and Justin Anderson also had hits for Chanhassen.
The Red Birds move on to face the winner of Blaine-Moorhead Brewers next Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Dassel. The Knights will play Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in Delano against the loser of Blaine and the Moorhead Brewers.