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Game 125: Bridgeport 5, York 1

Just what did 33 home runs, 94 RBIs and a Co-Atlantic League Player of the Year Award in 2007 get Jesse Hoorelbeke?

A whopping 13 at-bats for Double-A Arkansas in the Los Angeles Angels’ system.

Hoorelbeke was cast aside by the Angels after only four games earlier this year. Sure, he was hitting .154. But his other teammates weren’t exactly setting the world on fire.

“Of course it was because I’m the free agent guy, the old guy, the guy who’s always been moved around because I wasn’t drafted,” Hoorelbeke (pictured) said. “I’m a guy who had to fight my way in. Because of that I’m expendable.”

Hoorelbeke, 30, admits his release ticked him off — and who could blame him? But rather than sulking or moaning, he returned to Bridgeport, where the magical ‘07 season started. And he’s resumed taking his frustrations out on hapless Atlantic League pitchers.

That was the case again Monday night as Hoorelbeke, Bridgeport’s cleanup man, collected two more RBIs to extend his season total to 102 in the Bluefish’s 5-1 win over the York Revolution at Sovereign Bank Stadium. Bridgeport (29-26, 62-63) had 17 hits — 14 for singles — and baserunning mistakes and a lack of clutch hits plagued the Revs (30-25, 60-65) for the second straight day.

York also saw its lead in the Freedom Division cut to one game via second-place Newark’s 7-5 win. And don’t look now, but Lancaster — a team on life support a week ago — has won five of six to climb 3½ games within the Revs.

“This is a tough stretch and we’re playing tough teams,” said Revolution manager Chris Hoiles, whose club played in front of an announced crowd of 3,379. “Long Island is leading their division, Bridgeport is fighting in their division. We have to go to Long Island, then to Newark. We’re playing some good teams right now.”

York’s problems started in the first inning when Chris Ashby was gunned down at home plate trying to score from first on Jason Aspito’s double in the left-field gap. Then starter Dan Foli (5-7; pictured right) went to work and somehow only surrendered four earned runs through six innings despite surrendering 13 hits.

The Revs’ Kennard Jones was picked off at second base by Bridgeport catcher Luis Rodriguez in the fifth — a play that cost York a run when Aspito singled two batters later. And Matt Esquivel’s hot smash after Aspito’s hit nailed Bluefish starter Rafael Bergstrom in the shoe and deflected right to third baseman Jay Caligiuri — ending the inning on a 1-5-3 force.

“It’s just one of those things,” Hoiles said. “That (Esquivel’s unlucky break) could’ve been one run. Then there’s the baserunning mistake. It just kind of got away from us from there.”

Bergstrom, the owner of a 5.73 ERA in 114 1/3 innings entering the night, has played in Germany, Australia and even Israel in his professional career before signing with Bridgeport last year. He was helped by three Bluefish double plays as he scattered eight hits over 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win on Monday.

*Claudette Roulo photo.


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