By JAMES COOK
TRAVERSE CITY — Evansville's loss has been Traverse City's gain.
The Otters released second baseman Ryan Still in May, and he was in a Traverse City uniform by June and has been terrorizing Frontier League pitchers ever since.
"I was finishing up school and missed spring training, so I think that's why they released me," Still said.
And while he was passing classes in the spring, he's been getting free passes the rest of the season.
Still, who generally hits in the No. 2 slot, has put up a staggering .541 on-base percentage. He's hitting .322, but has drawn a monster number of walks this season — to the point where he's on pace to break Chase Burch's season record of 77 two years ago.
The addition of Still was perhaps the final piece in what has become one of the most feared lineups in the Frontier League.
"He's on base all the time," outfielder Jeff Flagg said. "That's all he does. It's pretty impressive, between his eye and the way he's been swinging it. He's been a great pickup."
Still has 66 walks with well over a month to go. He's also been hit by a pitch seven times.
"Still, good Lord, that was a huge pick-up for us," Burch said. "He gets on three or four times a game, it seems like. Anything you can do to get on, he does it."
Still had walks in 22 of his last 26 games, including nine multiple-walk games. He had a streak from June 2-8 in which he worked a free pass 18 times in six games against three different teams and has 33 multi-walk contests this year.
And Still doesn't get the intentional walks that Burch does.
"I thought I had a good eye until he came around," Burch said.
The Frontier League record for walks is 85 by Richmond's Morgan Burkhart in 1998. Still is on pace for 114.
"I just take my walks," Still said. "It's just like getting a hit."