Irvine High School's Bob Hamelin, who turned down a full scholarship to play football at Notre Dame in February, has made a verbal commitment to play baseball at UCLA.
Hamelin, a first baseman who led Orange County in home runs (nine) and RBIs (38) this season, will receive a partial scholarship during his freshman year and a full scholarship for the next three.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior hit .514 (38 for 74), scored 31 runs and had 13 stolen bases to lead the Vaqueros to their first South Coast League championship and the quarterfinals of the Southern Section 2-A playoffs, where they lost to Artesia, 6-3.
Hamelin also received 24 walks, 13 of them intentional, and had an on-base percentage of .670. Irvine finished with a 21-9-1 record.
Last fall, Hamelin was a Times' All-County defensive tackle and the South Coast League's Defensive Player of the Year. Notre Dame football Coach Lou Holtz noticed Hamelin while looking at game films of Capistrano Valley quarterback Scott Stark, who set the county's single-season passing record in 1985.
Hamelin made recruiting visits to Notre Dame and the University of Utah, but he decided not to accept any football scholarships so he could pursue a baseball career.
"I've played baseball longer, and I've always enjoyed the sport more (than football)," Hamelin said. "I chose to play mainly because I like the sport, not necessarily because I have a better future in baseball."
Several schools, including Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine, were interested in Hamelin as a baseball player, but he said he chose UCLA because of the school's strong tradition and its campus, which he finds attractive. He will major in criminology.
The Bruins won the Pacific 10 Southern Division this year but lost to Hawaii and Loyola Marymount in the NCAA West Regionals at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA finished at 39-23.