SALEM, Va. -

The Salem Red Sox have the earliest start in the ball club's history as they begin their Carolina League title defense Thursday.

The Red Sox open the season at Myrtle Beach for the first of a 4 game series with the Pelicans before their home opener Tuesday, April 8th. The team may look a little familiar, as they have 12 players returning from last year's championship roster. One of the things that made them so good last season was their team chemistry, and with nearly half the team returning to Salem, it's looking like they could have a good thing going again this season.

"I had a lot of fun with those guys,” said Salem Red Sox Outfielder, Matty Johnson. “We went through a lot last year and of course we won the ultimate goal and that was to win the championship. It's nice coming back knowing mostly all of the team from last year and coming back with players you're used to playing with."

"It's a great group of guys,” said Salem Red Sox Infielder Matt Gedman. “Last year something just clicked. We started playing together. We were having fun. After the games we'd all hang out at the same house and stuff. It was a great group last year and a lot of those same guys are back so hopefully we can keep it rolling."