The Savannah Scorpions worked their ninth-inning magic in back-to-back games to gain momentum, then counted on big fellas Josh Johnson and CC Sabathia to carry the load the rest of the way, defeating the Hickory Nuts in five games to win the 2010 I-75 League World Series.
Hickory had won the opener 4-1 as Justin Verlander went the distance, but Savannah reeled off four wins in a row to take home the crown.
Savannah had come into the World Series as the South Division champion following a 96-win season, and then defeated Wisconsin — also in five games after losing the opener — to advance to the World Series.
Hickory, meanwhile, came in as a decided underdog, having finished third in the North with 85 wins but having knocked aside both Springfield and Tropical to gain the title series.
Savannah’s magic erupted in Game Two when Juan Uribe hit a grand slam in the second inning, and then a walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth of a 5-4 win.
Game Three saw a similar script play out, except this time the Scorpions broke open a 4-4 game in the top of the ninth when Joey Votto doubled in two runs and Joe Nathan pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings for the win.
Up 2-1 in the series, Savannah then turned to Johnson in Game Four, and watched him hurl eight scoreless innings in a 7-1 win; and Sabathia in Game Five, where the big lefty salted the Nuts away on a complete-game five-hitter, an 8-1 win.
Springfield pushed Hickory to the limit in the North Division first round, with the Nuts finally recording a 6-0 shutout by Zack Greinke in Game Seven to advance to the division championship.
Savannah lost the opener of its South Division championship with Wisconsin but roared back to win the next four. Wisconsin had eliminated Detroit in five games to advance to the final round with Savannah.
The Tropical Heat emerged from a season-long three-way scrum to finish as the North Division champions of 2010 in manager Jamie Turner’s final year at the helm.
After jockeying with Springfield and Hickory all season, the Heat enjoyed a 12-win October that including matching 3-2 series wins on the road against both the Isotopes and the Nuts. Tropical finished with 90 wins, Springfield 87 and Hickory 85.
Meanwhile, Savannah led the South Division handily much of the season and cruised into the playoffs with 96 wins, repeating its crown of 2009. Wisconsin came in second with 90 wins, and Detroit finished below .500 but made the playoffs with 78 wins.
All three of the out-of-the-money teams in the North posted better records than any of the non-playoff teams in the South. So the 2011 draft order was fixed as Bushwood, Bismarck, Superior, South Grand Prairie, Applegate and Margaritaville, followed by the six playoff teams.
Click here for the final standings and statistical leaders from the 2010 season.
Draft order for the 2010 season:
5. S. Grand Prairie
2. S. Grand Prairie