‘That’s your job. You don’t get to be tired’


Tri-City ValleyCats manager Pete Incaviglia pulled up a chair in the clubhouse after Sunday’s 6-2 loss to Equipe Quebec at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

He wasn’t a happy man. He held a team meeting that lasted about 15 minutes to let his players know it.

“I just felt like what I saw on the field is not OK,” Incaviglia said. “The effort was not OK for me. Win, lose, or draw, effort’s something that I’ll never move on and never budge on. We looked a little lackadaisacal and a little tired today, which is unacceptable. That’s your job. You don’t get to be tired. You’ve got to still go compete, and it’s my job to make sure my ballclub competes every pitch and doesn’t take any pitches off.”

The ValleyCats (24-27), who fell out of first place in the Frontier League’s Atlantic Division, were coming off back-to-back doubleheader splits against Equipe Quebec on Friday and Saturday. Incaviglia didn’t want to hear that as an excuse for the fatigue.

“The other team played two doubleheaders, so there’s your answer,” Incaviglia said.

In front of a crowd of 1,023, the ValleyCats left nine runners on base. Quebec broke a scoreless tie with four runs on a pair of homers off Tri-City starter Jake Dexter in the fourth inning. Ruben Castro hit a solo homer to right, followed by Jonathan Lacroix’s three-run blast to right.

Incaviglia held team meetings during the ValleyCats 4-16 start, but was very pleased with his team’s effort of late. They had gone 20-9 since then before losing their last two to Quebec.

“This is a much more talented team (than early in the season),” Incaviglia said. “I’m not upset at them, but they’re a better ballclub than they showed today, and they know it. That’s unacceptable. We’re here to win a championship. That effort and that grind has got to be there every day … It didn’t look like everybody’s head was in the game today. Hopefully that will be the last time we see that.”

Tri-City outfielder Denis Phipps, who was 0-for-2 with a pair of walks Sunday, said Incaviglia didn’t yell in the meeting but still got his message accross.

“Just a positive message,” Phipps said. “We don’t have the best motivation to play today. Everybody was like kind of down. It’s a division game, so we’ve got to play better.”

Phipps also declined to blame the effort on 28 innings of baseball over the previous two days.

“I don’t think that’s an excuse,” he said. “We didn’t compete like we’re supposed to. They competed better than us. They come ready to fight, and we let them do whatever they wanted to do. We should be better.”

Phipps said he thinks the ValleyCats, who have the league-mandated day off Monday, will bounce back in a four-game home series against the New York Boulders that begins with another doubleheader Tuesday.

“We’ve got the right people here, so we’re going to respond,” he said. “The energy was not there, so we’re going to figure it out.”

In the opposite clubhouse, Quebec manager Patrick Scalabrine was much happier. His team took three of five from the ValleyCats to take over first place in the Atlantic Division, a half-game ahead of the ValleyCats and Boulders.

Also, Quebec (25-27) finally gets to play home games next weekend. They’ve played their first 52 games on the road because of COVID-19 restrictions at the Canadian border that are being eased.

“Ecstatic,” he said. “I know Pete’s probably (upset) at the way they came out. It’s huge for us to steal this series on the road because we keep talking and looking at next weekend when we’ll finally be at home, right?”

The ValleyCats are scheduled to visit Quebec on Aug. 3 to 5 in Trois-Rivieres. While Scalabrine said it shouldn’t be an issue for the ValleyCats to get over the border as long as they’re vaccinated and have the proper visas, Incaviglia was less certain.

“I have no idea,” Incaviglia said. “It keeps going back and forth whether we’re going or not. There’s some paperwork issues and things like that. If we’ve got to go, we’ve got to go. We’ve got to play well.”



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