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The powerful North Marion hitter announced on Instagram Wednesday that he would play for the Gauchos.

At the end of the 2023 school year and baseball season, North Marion senior Rex DeAngelis will once again be on the move.

PMG FILE PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Incoming North Marion senior has signed a letter of intent to play baseball with UC Santa Barbara after graduating.

The North Marion outfielder and heavy hitter committed to compete with the UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) Gauchos baseball team after graduating from high school. DeAngelis announced the commitment via his Instagram account on Wednesday, July 27. To say that he was excited to commit to a division one program would be an understatement.

"I did some digging, met the coaches, and I just hit it off with them," DeAngelis said. "I loved all of them. I think Coach (Donegal) Ferg (Fergus) is one of the best or maybe the best hitting coach in the country. And I haven't fully met (Coach Andrew Checketts) yet, but I've heard great things and just the whole campus is beautiful. And I was like this is … it's that kind of feeling that you know you want it, you know when you step on that campus and it's like this is where I want to go to school. So hearing the words from them, I was lighting up the room with my smile."

DeAngelis will join a solid program at UCSB. In the 2022 season the Gauchos went 44-14 overall, including a 27-3 Big West Conference record. He will be leaving a consistently good North Marion program to head to southern California, as the Huskies have routinely made it into the 4A state playoffs.

Part of the reason DeAngelis chose UCSB over other schools like University of Oregon, University of Hawaii and University of Washington is he believes the coaching staff can elevate his skills and ready him for a shot at the professional level of the game.

"I think that Ferg and Checketts are the people that can help me do that because I've talked to Pac-12 schools and gone on visits and talked to coaches and everything," DeAngelis said. "But man, I haven't had one stand out to me like Ferg and Checketts have. And it's like, I think that they will help best develop me. And I just think it'll be a great experience."

The UCSB coaching staff will have a lifetime of experience to mold and shape. DeAngelis has been playing as long as he can remember, and in addition to playing ball at school he has occasionally played travel ball. This past year, DeAngelis played with Baum Bat Northwest, a travel team organization based out of Vancouver, Washington.

The chance to hone his skills and technique against other talented players was a boon, but there was something else DeAngelis has taken from his time traveling — something he took when he moved from Connecticut to Oregon in 2018 as well.

"I just think meeting people and being able to adapt to not even just your baseball team, but kind of your whole environment," DeAngelis said. "I think it's such a good trait to have. … You can be put here and do good and be put there and, you know, be OK. So I think it's very beneficial, actually."

It's working. DeAngelis helped lead North Marion to yet another league title last year, claiming the Tri-Valley Conference championship with a sterling 15-0 league record. In addition, DeAngelis has brought in a myriad of individual awards.

In one year, he heads for the beach town of Santa Barbara. While he isn't sure what he'll major in, there's time to figure that out. He has other things to focus on between now and graduation.

"Well, I'm scared now that I'm just going to get breaking balls every game," DeAngelis said with a laugh. "So ... I'll play my game. And you know, Ferg talked with me about hitting, about some of my hitting approaches and some of my mechanics. So I'll just continue to work on that throughout the offseason and just kind of take the things that he said to me in school ball and just go with that and just play. Just play hard and have fun, honestly."

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