In a recent Powerball drawing on July 19, eleven educators from Southern Maryland experienced a thrilling moment when they won $50,000. The group, playfully named “One Ball Short” for Lottery publicity, matched four of the five winning numbers along with the Powerball, narrowly missing the jackpot.

Comprising eight residents from Southern Maryland and three from Virginia, the “One Ball Short” team consists of 10 women and one man, aged between 39 and 58. Each member contributed $20 to participate in the ticket purchases. The team has a history of coming together to buy Powerball and Mega Millions tickets whenever the game’s jackpots reach significant milestones. With the Powerball jackpot reaching an astounding $1.08 billion on July 19, the group saw an opportunity to create another Lottery pool.

This partial group of Southern Maryland educators who were “One Ball Short” is all smiles after claiming their $50,000 third-tier prize from the July 19 drawing. Credit: Maryland Lottery

“We get in when it reaches 1 billion,” shared the team’s spokesperson, highlighting their strategy to join the game during record-high jackpots.

Unlike other groups that pool resources to buy all their tickets from a single retailer, the “One Ball Short” team adopted a different approach. Members purchased tickets from both Maryland and Virginia. Their winning ticket, a $2 quick-pick, was sold at Waldorf BP, located at 2301 Crain Highway in Charles County.

Unfortunately, their hopes of hitting the billion-dollar jackpot were dashed when one ticket in California claimed the top prize. However, the team’s text message chain brought joy when they discovered they had secured the third-tier prize of $50,000.

As is their protocol, the group will split the third-tier prize equally among the 11 winners. While $50,000 may not compare to the billion-dollar jackpot, it is a significant sum for the “One Ball Short” group, whose previous winnings peaked at $40 in past drawings.

“We always ask if everyone wants to split it,” the spokesperson explained, “even if it is $4.”

With the windfall, some educators have already planned how to spend their share. One winner expressed her intention to indulge in “non-adult stuff,” while another mentioned splurging on a new pair of shoes. Meanwhile, another lucky member dreams of a Parisian vacation.

“I’m going to spend it on myself,” chimed in one winner, highlighting the diverse range of plans among the group.

Despite falling one ball short of the grand prize, the “One Ball Short” team remains optimistic. They now aim to try their luck with the Mega Millions, planning to purchase multiple tickets in hopes of winning the estimated annuity of $910 million in the upcoming Friday night draw.

For these educators, the excitement of playing the lottery together has undoubtedly brought them closer, and their recent win has only fueled their desire to keep trying their luck. With hope and a pinch of luck, the “One Ball Short” team anticipates that their next ticket might just be the one to match all the numbers, transforming their lives forever.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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