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Granite Bay woman, local youth league hit sweepstakes

As one of five winners nationwide, she selects Lakeside Little League to receive field makeover
By: Bill Poindexter
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The whole story has been one of disbelief, just one shrug after another. It’s a story that includes the national pastime, an American automaker, a sweepstakes drawing, a delightful, giving woman in Granite Bay, hundreds of thankful parents and, ultimately, kids. Skipping to the ending, Marie Kennedy of Granite Bay was one of five people in the United States to have her name drawn as a winner of “Building Diamonds and Dreams,” a contest sponsored by The Scotts Company, Major League Baseball and Chevrolet. As a winner, she gained the right to choose a youth league to undergo a $40,000 field makeover. She chose Lakeside Little League in Granite Bay, and league officials now are trying to decide which of its fields would benefit the most. Kennedy entered the contest just for fun, she said, and voted online – once per day, as allowed – through baseball’s All-Star Game in July because, well, she also wanted to win a car, which was part of the sweepstakes. As for choosing Lakeside, Kennedy is familiar with the Sacramento River Cats and other teams but, “Those aren’t nonprofit,” she said. “I didn’t know any.” So Kennedy, who had no prior affiliation with Lakeside, said she talked to a lady she sees frequently at her church and asked if she knew of any local nonprofit leagues. The friend suggested Lakeside. Kennedy visited the league’s website, got the president’s number and called Mike Egan. “What’s kind of strange is she called me in July,” Egan said. “It went in one ear and out the other. I was trying to catch a plane or something. She wanted contact info in case she won. I forgot about it until two months later when we found out we won.” The drawing was held Aug. 9, according to Kennedy. She received a call “out of the blue” from Chevrolet and initially thought she won a car. She didn’t. Only one of the five winners got the car. But that didn’t drain her excitement. “I was so thrilled because it was for the kids,” Kennedy said. “It’s just a benefit that’s going to last for years. These little leagues, no matter what town, depend on donations and help from the community. This is going to really boost them.” Egan got the winning call from a representative from Ripken Design – yes, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is the CEO – which will do the makeover. Egan said he was in “complete shock” at getting the call because his conversation with Kennedy occurred so long ago. “The first thing you think is it was a scam, these days,” he said. “When I brought it up at our September board meeting, it was chuckles and disbelief and everyone making sure it wasn’t someone from Nigeria. That was the joking response. Once it settled down, now we have about 20-plus people that are extremely excited.” Bill Poindexter can be reached at billp@goldcountrymedia.com.