Two months later, the team has a shot at winning its first championship in 21 years.
The LumberKings locked up the second-half division title and a spot in the Midwest League playoffs Tuesday with a 6-5, 13-inning win over the visiting Quad Cities River Bandits.
The victory gave Clinton a seven-game lead over second-place Burlington with six to play.
"I've been preaching the same things, but the biggest thing [in the second half] has been working with a purpose," LumberKings manager Eddie Menchaca said. "You have to have a kind of motivation that gets you going.
"You have to play with confidence, that has been the message to them. When they have confidence, they expect to play winning baseball and play together as a team."
Clinton has reached the postseason 11 times in the last 15 years, but it has not won a league crown since 1991, when it was called the Giants.
The LumberKings' 42 second-half wins is two short of the franchise record, established in 1992.
With a chance to clinch, Clinton built a 4-1 lead after four innings, but the River Bandits scored four times in the fifth. Michael Dowd drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the inning to tie it, and that was how the game stayed into the 13th.
The River Bandits had the potential go-ahead run thrown out at the plate in the 11th and 13th before the LumberKings got a walk, two hit batters, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly from Michael Dowd.
"I want them to understand there is no 'I' on this team," Menchaca said. "They're making this push together, from the pitchers to the position players. There's no one guy, everyone has contributed in one way or another; everyone has done something every game. It's been a team effort, and that has been huge.
"It's always nice to win at home, it's just a great feeling. We've been through a lot this year, but now we're starting to gel as a team. I can't be happier for these guys."
Clinton will face Beloit, which won a first-half Wild Card, in a best-of-3 first-round series.