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Mater Dei lacrosse player Courtney Walburger gets a congratulatory hug in Santa Ana on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, after signing her National Letter of Intent to play for Fresno State University. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Signing Day notes: JSerra's Lewis signs with UC Irvine

STAFF REPORT

It is only November, but if there was a super-early preseason Orange County baseball player of the year, it would be Royce Lewis of JSerra.

Lewis, a senior third baseman, signed with UC Irvine on Wednesday.

He was All-Orange County first team last season when he batted .429 with four home runs and nine doubles.

STEVE FRYER


OKPALA SIGNS WITH STANFORD

Esperanza senior basketball player Kezie Okpala signed with Stanford.

Okpala, a quick and lithe 6-6 forward, was All-Orange County first team last season when he averaged a school-record 23 points a game.

STEVE FRYER


BALDRIDGE UNDECIDED

Laguna Beach water polo player Bella Baldridge kept an eye on the election coverage late Tuesday night, but it slipped to the background as the senior wrestled with her college decision.

The All-County left-hander pondered her choices of Harvard, Stanford and UCLA deep into the night and didn’t have a decision Wednesday, the first day female water polo players could sign with colleges.

“Sometimes we’d unmute (the coverage) and be ‘Oh, my gosh, what’s going?’” Baldridge said. “I went straight from practice to go vote because I just recently turned 18. … Then I came straight home and we just talked to midnight about my (college) decision.

“And then I woke up at 5:30 to talk to (my parents) more about it. It’s been back and forth.”

Baldridge said she hopes to reach a decision by the end of this week. She was thankful Wednesday for the support of teammates such as Claire Sonne, a senior headed to Cal.

“It’s life-changing,” Sonne said of committing to a college. “Bella definitely thinks everything through really well and doesn’t want to rush.”

DAN ALBANO


OSBORN TO UCLA

Esperanza track and field standout Bronson Osborn signed with UCLA.

Osborn won state titles in shot put and discuss as a junior last season and set the national high school record in the 6 kg shot put at 69-feet, 9-inches at the IAAF World U20 Championships in July.

ZACH CAVANAGH, Contributing writer


TALENTED TEAM

Mater Dei’s girls lacrosse team, which went undefeated last season and won the Orange County and Southern Section titles, had five players sign letters of intent.

Grace Houser signed with Cal. Lauren Gonzales, Courtney Walburger and Mackenzie Wallevand signed with Fresno State, and Madeline Hooks signed with Butler.

The Monarchs will undoubtedly be the team to beat in the upcoming season.

DAMIAN CALHOUN


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