Salem Red Sox complete improbable turnaround, gear up for postseason

SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) -- "When you focus on the negative, negative things happen," Salem Red Sox manager Corey Wimberly said from his office on Tuesday. "So we started to focus on the positive things."

Wimberly isn't surprised that his club his in the position it's in now, just a day away from a postseason series against Wilmington at Haley Toyota Field.

But to say their road here was unorthodox is putting it lightly.

Salem reached the midseason point 17 games under .500, finishing last in the Carolina League's Northern Division.

"I felt like we were in every game during the first half," Wimberly said. "I thought we just had to channel our energy in a positive direction, and that's kind of what we did throughout the second half. We started really focusing on the good things, and not letting the adversity take control."

Since then, the Red Sox essentially flipped their record, going 42-28 in the second half, leading the league in team batting average and clinching a postseason berth.

"It was a special moment, a great feeling of all the hard work, especially such a different first half, turning the page, making the proper adjustments, putting it together and winning a lot of really close, really clutch baseball games," said pitcher Dylan Thompson. "It was kind of just like a sense of relief that hard work pays off."

Now, the real challenge awaits, with the Blue Rocks coming in for games one and two of the best-of-five division series starting Wednesday.

"Numbers are thrown out of the window now," Wimberly said. "Everything is already done for the regular season. Everybody gets a brand new start, and so it's about whatever you can do to help the team win. It's kind of been that way all year, but I think more so in the postseason, you get a fresh start and guys really focus in on playing team baseball."

First pitch for game one is set for Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. at Haley Toyota Field.