Cut and dried: Facelift complete at Lakeside field

Granite Bay contest winner donated renovation to local league
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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The Sacramento valley was drenched with yet another winter storm this week but, appropriately as it turns out, it wasn’t enough to cancel a ceremony Wednesday at Ronald Feist Park in Granite Bay.

A crowd of about 20 Lakeside Little League officials, representatives from Placer County, Chevrolet and Ripken Design, and one special guest were on hand to dedicate Coker-Ewing Field, which received a $40,000 makeover.

Marie Kennedy’s name was one of five drawn nationwide as winners of Chevrolet’s “Building Diamonds and Dreams” contest last summer. The Granite Bay woman was trying to win a car. Instead, Kennedy won a field renovation, and she chose Lakeside as the beneficiary after talking to a friend at her church and visiting the league’s website.

Mike Egan, president of Lakeside Little League, initially heard from Kennedy in July, letting him know she entered the contest and asking him whom to contact in the event she won.

Admittedly, Egan – and other board members – laughed off the call as a potential scam. He was stunned when he received a call from Ripken Design of Baltimore saying Lakeside had won a renovation. The drawing was held in August.

As they celebrated the new-look field Wednesday, Egan spoke warmly to Kennedy, saying, “It’s just an awesome thing you’ve done for us. It’s an absolutely incredible thing for everybody involved.”

The other two fields at Feist Park were wet and unplayable Wednesday, but Coker-Ewing looked game-ready.

Dan Taylor, project manager for Ripken Design, said the infield has a new polymer mix, which “sheds” water. There was a drainage problem along the third-base line, so the field was tilted toward the outfield. New drainage pipe was installed underground.

“You look at it now, it’s bone dry,” Egan said. “They’ll be able to get back on the field a lot sooner (after it rains).”

New basepaths and coaches’ boxes were cut, and warning tracks were installed inside the fence in foul territory. The pitcher’s mound was rebuilt and laser-leveled to regulation standards.

“The mound was worn down,” Taylor said. “The mound and home plate were at the same level.”

Kennedy, who was accompanied to the ceremony by her mother, Pat Thiry, watched as a Lakeside team practiced on the field, which she described as “beautiful.” And the kids?

“They look like they’re having so much fun,” she said.

As for not winning a new car, Kennedy pointed out that it’s not like she doesn’t have one already.

Said Kennedy, “I drive a Chevy.”

Bill Poindexter can be reached at