Sioux City at Lincoln Saltdogs, 8/11/17

Lincoln's Tommy Mendonca gets high-fives from teammates Cesar Valera (right) and Nathaniel Maggio (top left) after hitting a two-run homer that gave the team a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning Aug. 11 at Haymarket Park.

FRANCIS GARDLER, JOURNAL STAR

The Lincoln Saltdogs are back in the American Association playoffs for the first time in three years, with the Central Division champions hosting an opening-round playoff series at Haymarket Park starting Wednesday.

The first two games of the best-of-five series are Wednesday and Thursday, with first pitch at 6:45 p.m. both nights.

The opponent has yet to be determined, with the regular season finishing Monday. If Fargo-Moorhead wins the wild card, Lincoln will play Wichita. If Gary SouthShore or Kansas City win the wild card, the Saltdogs will host Winnipeg. American Association playoff matchups are determined by geography.

Lincoln clinched the Central Division title with Friday's 3-1 win over Gary, its first AA division title since winning the Central in 2014. The RailCats downed the Saltdogs 4-1 on Saturday, breaking a 1-1 tie by scoring one run on a wild pitch, another on a fielder's choice and the final run on a sacrifice fly. Nathaniel Maggo's RBI double plated the lone Lincoln run in the second inning.

Both nights will be "Buck Nights" with hot dogs, popcorn and select cans of beer available for $1. Tickets for both games are on sale and can be purchased at www.saltdogs.com/playoffs/.

Briefly

Saltdogs second baseman Cesar Valera was named to the league’s postseason All-Star team. Valera has started all 96 games and leads the team in batting average (.327), hits (125), runs (69) and doubles (19).

Defensively, Valera has a .986 fielding percentage and has made just six errors this season, while adding the most putouts (186) and the second-most assists (239) of any second baseman in the league.

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