The players, the staff, the opponents and even the league have changed for the Lincoln Saltdogs, but the franchise has had one constant: winning.
The Saltdogs defeated Milwaukee 10-9 in 11 innings Tuesday night at Haymarket Park to capture their 1,000th win as a franchise in their 20th anniversary season.
“Baseball is all about numbers, right, and that is a big number,” first-year manager Brett Jodie said. “It’s exciting for the fans. That’s a big accomplishment and hopefully we can get 1,000 more.”
Win No. 1,000 comes as the Saltdogs are in the midst of a playoff push with seven games left in the regular season. They have not made the playoffs since 2017.
“It’s just a winning organization,” veteran Curt Smith said. “I’m just glad I was here to get the 1,000th win. And you know, maybe it will be an even better season if we win that championship.”
For Smith, it’s been eight years in Lincoln. He’s currently the franchise leader in home runs and doubles.
“I love it here,” he said. “I made it a home and if that doesn’t tell you how special it is, I don’t know what will.
“I want to congratulate everybody that made this happen. There are people in the front office that have been here since the beginning … We all want to thank them for keeping this organization going and giving us the opportunity to play.”
Tuesday’s win was the storybook way to reach the milestone. The Saltdogs and Milkmen went into extra innings. Ryan Long had the walk-off sacrifice fly in the 11th inning.
“I thought about it during the game at some point and I didn’t know if it was a good game or a bad game,” Jodie said. “Good plays were being made. It was a good game, and it was a playoff-type game.”
The Saltdogs were outhit 18-9 but had eight walks and took advantage of three errors. Edgar Corcino, Josh Altmann and David Vidal all slugged home runs in the win.
Altmann also recorded his 20th stolen base on the season. He became the first player in franchise history to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a single season.
“That was definitely an exciting one for any fans that were here,” Jodie said.
With the win, the Saltdogs sit just a half-game ahead of Sioux City for the final playoff spot in the South Division. The series against Milwaukee resumes with games Wednesday and Thursday.