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Salem Red Sox Look For Rally To Secure Playoff Spot

The Salem Red Sox will need a late-season rally of epic proportions to earn a playoff spot in next month’s Carolina League playoffs.

The four teams that will advance to the championship series will be the first-half winners in both the Northern and Southern Divisions, Lynchburg and Myrtle Beach, respectfully, along with the two winners of the second-half of the season in both divisions. If the same team in either division wins both halves, the second-place team in that division advances to the 4-team series.

Salem and Lynchburg tied for the top spot in the Northern Division’s first-half run, with the Hillcats getting the playoff spot via a tiebreaker.

Both Lynchburg and Myrtle Beach seem unlikely candidates to repeat in the second-half of the regular season that is still underway with three weeks left. Lynchburg sits in fifth place in the six-team Northern Division, 8-games out of first, while the Pelicans hold down fourth place in the six-team Southern Division, 7 games out.

Three weeks remain consisting of the standard 6-game set in each week against the same opponent, except for an addition makeup game for Salem in their final series.

Salem will be looking to overtake the Fredericksburg Nationals, which they trail by 6 games heading into Tuesday, August 23rd’s six-game road series against the Columbia Fire Flys. Columbia is currently in second-place in the Southern Division, 3.5 back of the Charleston River Dogs. The Salem Sox follow with their penultimate regular season 6-game series, again on the road, against the Augusta (GA) GreenJackets, sitting in 5th place in the South.

Salem finishes the season with a seven-game home series at Salem Memorial Ballpark against Fredericksburg, Tuesday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, September 11, that includes a make-up doubleheader set for that Wednesday. Salem also has the unenviable task of needing to overtake both Carolina (currently 2.5 behind Fredericksburg) and Down East (3.5 behind the Nationals). Salem must get hot and the three in front of them take a dive for the potential of a playoff like atmosphere in Salem once the Nationals come to town for the final seven games.

Salem has gone 6-4 in their last ten games while Fredericksburg was 4-6. Carolina (7-3 in their last 10) and Down East (8-2 in their last 10) have both closed on the frontrunner. Salem lost a golden opportunity last week when it could only muster a 3-3 home split with cellar-dweller Delmarva.

Bill Turner

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