TROY – After five long days quarantined with COVID-19 in the Pittsburgh area, ValleyCats manager Pete Incaviglia was back with his team on Sunday.
He watched Tri-City battle back to beat the Quebec Capitales 8-7 in 10 innings to avoid a three-game sweep before a crowd of 1,501 at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
“Am I 100 percent? No,” Incaviglia said. “I’m glad I’m here and it’s my job to be here. This is my club and these are my guys and I need to be doing my job. Like I said, I’m just glad we won that game. We’ve lost three or four games like that, so it’s good to win one and the guys feel good about themselves and move on. Like I tell them, you can’t control the past. You can’t control the future. You’ve got to stay in the present.”
The ValleyCats (14-12) snapped a four-game losing streak when Quebec second baseman Garrett Takamatsu made a throwing error on Jesus Lujano’s grounder to second with two out in the 10th, allowing Carson McCusker to score the winning run. Takamatsu bounced a throw that first baseman Webb Little couldn’t handle.
Tri-City tied the game at 7-7 in the bottom of the seventh when shortstop Pavin Parks ripped an 0-2 fastball for a two-run single to center.
Parks, a lefthanded batter, swung and missed at two fastballs from Quebec lefty reliever Nick Horvath before his tying hit.
“First couple of pitches (Horvath) was bringing it pretty good, so kind of had to readjust after the first two and he was coming up in the zone one me,” Parks said. “I felt pretty confident he was going to try that a third time and just tried to get on top of one and was fortunate to catch a good barrel and drive some runs in.”
Incaviglia said he tested positive for COVID when he didn’t feel well after traveling with the team to their three-games series in Washington (Pa.) last Monday. He stayed at his hotel while the team lost two of three.
After going through the five-day quarantine period, Incaviglia caught a return flight and arrived in Albany around 4:15 p.m.
The ValleyCats fell behind 4-0 but rallied to take a 5-4 lead as Ciaran Devenney hit his first Tri-City homer and Daniel Angulo smacked his first pro homer – both wind-aided to left.
With the game tied late, Tri-City reliever Trey Cochran-Gill pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth and Adam Hofacket stranded two runners in the top of 10th.
The game featured a wild top of the second inning in which Capitales manager Patrick Scalabrini and pitching coach Robert Carson were ejected and umpiring crew chief Kurt Branin fell to the turf.
Scalabrini was ejected after he angrily challenged a call in the second inning. The ValleyCats successfully appealed Quebec runner Jonathan Lacroix left second base too early when he tagged to go to third on a flyout to center.
After Lacroix was called out, an upset Scalabrini stormed over from the third-base coach’s box and was tossed.
“It was real close. It was a bang-bang play,” Scalabrini said. “That’s one of those things, it’s the oldest trick in the book when the other team started screaming he left early. We all try that and it never works. I was just (mad) that the really young umpire fell for it.”
As Scalabrini left the field, Carson went face-to-face with Branin and also was ejected. Branin went down during the argument. It wasn’t clear how much contact there was between Carson and Branin.
Branin declined comment, referring any questions to Frontier League deputy commissioner Kevin Winn.
“There was not (contact),” Scalabrini said. “Even the umpire admitted it. I’m glad he did. I respect Kurt. He umpired me when he was playing. Things got out of hand. I didn’t see it because I was walking away and I saw (Branin) falling down. I was worried. But he admitted to my own players that he just fell.”
Carson is a former major-league pitcher who spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the New York Mets. He could face disciplinary action from the Frontier League over the incident.
“The Frontier League is looking into an incident that occurred in the second inning of the Quebec City/Tri City game tonight at Joseph Bruno Stadium, we are looking into the matter and any discipline that is warranted will be handed down in the coming days,” Winn said in an email late Sunday night.
Winn said the league was in the detail-gathering phase with video, umpire reports and interviews. He expected the league will complete the incident review by the end of Monday, an off day for the Frontier League.