TRAVERSE CITY — Flashbacks to 2012.
Ryan Still ignited two early scoring outbursts with a pair of doubles Wednesday night as the Traverse City Beach Bums turned back the Frontier Greys 10-6 at Wuerfel Park.
“It felt good to help us score some runs offensively,” Still said. “I hate to be at the top of the lineup and not produce. But today was good.”
Still, an All-Star second baseman a year ago, has struggled at the plate this season, hitting just .173.
But he looked like his old self at the top of the order in the second of three games with the Greys. Still dropped a double down the left field line to start a two-run uprising in the first. He smacked a ground rule double to right that lit the fuse in a three-run second.
Then, in the sixth, after the Greys rallied to cut the deficit to 5-4, Still sacrificed Jeremy Banks to third with one out and Taylor Wrenn followed with sacrifice fly to give the Beach Bums some breathing room.
“I was just trying to be aggressive, swing at better pitches, not give any bats away,” Still said.
Traverse City manager Gregg Langbehn sat Still in Tuesday’s series opener.
“He just needed a mental day off, just like we did with Goose (Sean Gusrang) in Windy City,” Langbehn said. “It was just to recharge their batteries a little.
“It’s not an indictment on how things have gone for them. They are going to be major contributors until the end. It was nice to see (Still) get a couple hits today and get going in the right direction. It was a good day for him.”
A good day for several Beach Bums, in fact.
Six players had two hits in the game. Five drove in runs.
Leftfielder Jeremy Banks led the way with two hits, a walk, a stolen base, two runs scored and three RBIs. Banks, a star in Tuesday’s win, hit his first professional home run of the season, a three-run shot in the seventh.
“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Langbehn said. “It’s hard to keep a guy out of the lineup when he does that.”
Jose Vargas also went deep, belting a solo home run in the sixth, his ninth of the campaign. Vargas also had an RBI single to knock in the game’s first run in the first. Carlo Testa drove in the other run in the first with a sacrifice fly to center. He then singled in a run in the second — after a Chase Burch two-run single — that gave the Beach Bums a 5-0 cushion.
Starter Mike Devine cruised through the first three innings before yielding four runs in the fourth on a two-run single by J.J. Muse and a two-run double by Luis Parache. Parache was thrown out trying to stretch his hit to a triple.
Devine pitched a perfect fifth before departing. He improved to 3-1.
“Devine pitched fine,” Langbehn said. “He had that one inning where he got into trouble, but I was pleased with how he responded in the fifth inning. It was a quick inning, 10 pitches maybe. I thought (Burny) Mitchem and (Chris) Squires pitched well in relief, too.”
Squires surrendered a two-run homer to Blake Bergeron in the ninth, this after Testa lost track of Mark Micowski’s fly to center.
The Beach Bums, who lead the East Division, improved to a 29-18.
The series concludes tonight with Jacob Clem (4-3, 4.88) pitching for Traverse City and Matt Costello (1-4, 4.68) for the Greys.