QUINCY -- Joey Polak admitted he was homesick.
Polak was redshirted for his freshman season with the University of South Carolina baseball team, and the Quincy Notre Dame graduate started his summer with the Florence (S.C.) Redwolves of the Coastal Plains League.
He found success at the plate, hitting .318 with two home runs in six games. However, it did not take long for him to miss Quincy.
Polak left the Red Wolves last week and was in the lineup for the Quincy Gems for Sunday night's Prospect League game against the Springfield Sliders. Polak played for the Gems last season, hitting .298 with 9 home runs and 29 runs batted in. He was named to the West Division All-Star team as a designated hitter.
"Going to school down in Carolina, I've missed my family a lot," Polak said. "It's been a long time, so coming home to play is really nice. I love it here."
When Polak decided that he wanted to come play for his hometown summer league team, it did not take long to get the process started.
"It's been about a week now. I contacted Jimmie (Louthan, the Quincy Gems general manager) and asked for a contract spot," Polak said. "I drove a good 14 hours back home the other day. I've been in town for three days now, and now we're here, so I'm excited."
When Louthan received the phone call, it was an easy decision.
"We've always had a good relationship with him and his family, and we have always kept in touch," Louthan said. "He wasn't pleased with where he was, he called, and it's an open invite for Joey. We got him in as soon as we could."
Polak should provide a spark to the Gems' lineup. Quincy, which has the worst record in the Prospect League at 6-11, is eighth out of 10 teams with a .252 team batting average and seventh in runs scored with 102.
"He's a great player, he's a great kid, and he's a local guy," Louthan said. "Local guys are always good for us. It was a no-brainer."
His experience with the team last summer also played a role in Polak's decision to come back home.
"It was a lot of fun last season," Polak said. "Having the chance to relax at home and stay in shape over the summer at the same time, I couldn't pass it up."