Andrius Polikaitis had the itch. You know, the one athletes get when they’ve been away from their field of choice for too long. The one competitors feel when they haven’t, well, competed in a while.
Polikaitis believed his baseball career was over two years ago when he returned from the B-Level European Championship in Vienna, Austria.
He had parlayed a productive, if not eye-popping, career at Saugus High and a Facebook highlight video into a spot on Lithuania’s national team back then.
Afterward, it was time to focus on academics at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Then, the itch.
During the summer after his freshman year at Cal Poly SLO, Polikaitis, whose grandparents emigrated from Lithuania during World War II, did some baseball exercises at home. He worked out at Saugus with then-Centurions head coach John Maggiora, too.
Then he tried out for the club team at Cal Poly SLO, made the squad and rotated between corner infield spots.
The move helped facilitate a return to Lithuania’s team in late July for the B-Level European Championship in Poland, where Polikaitis hit .411 in 17 at-bats, highlighted by a two-run home run in an 8-3 win over Russia in the championship game on Saturday.
“That was a good feeling,” Polikaitis said of the ninth-inning blast, his second of the six-team tournament, which made the score 8-1. “… Off the bat, I knew it was gone. So it was a sweet moment.”
Polikaitis played shortstop for the Lithuanians and proved to be one of their most consistent bats during his second time playing in a European Championship. His seven RBIs ranked second on the team.
“The second time around, I already knew two-thirds of the guys,” he said, “and they all knew me. I was comfortable going in there, and being a little older, I was more confident in myself.”
Polikaitis hopes to roll that confidence into another season of club ball.
For now, he is off to a Lithuanian scout camp – similar to Boy Scouts of America – in Big Bear. In other words: He’s ready for another adventure.