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Update time:2021-06-08 19:22Tag:

¡¡¡¡FARMVILLE ¡ª Kristin Frazier walked to the pitcher¡¯s mound on the Farmville Central softball field and laid a bouquet of flowers on the inside of the pitcher¡¯s circle, as several others had done before her.

¡¡¡¡Like them, she wanted to remember her friend, Abby Foster.

¡¡¡¡¡°When I was younger, I met Abby, and her grandmother was my preschool teacher,¡± said Frazier, a rising senior at Farmville Central who as a sophomore played on the same Jaguars team as Foster. ¡°So I have known her since about 2, maybe 3 or 4. We played softball together and started getting very close then. There was a 2-year age difference, but she had become one of my close friends.¡±

¡¡¡¡Foster, 18, had a lot of friends. On Saturday they paid their respects and lighted candles at the softball field where she pitched prior to playing for Pitt Community College. On Thursday, she was killed with three other teens when a box truck jumped the median on U.S. 264 Bypass near Greenville and hit the car Foster was driving head-on.

¡¡¡¡¡°This community is losing a ray of sunshine,” Frazier said. “She was a great child ¡ª she was her brother¡¯s protector even though she was younger than him. If ever he was going off the deep end, she would reel him back in and help him. And to all of her friends, she was the one you could go to no matter how close you were to her. No matter who you were, she just wanted everybody to be happy.¡±

¡¡¡¡Shawn M. Talbott helped organize Saturday’s tribute. Foster’s jerseys were on display in the pitcher’s circle and community members were invited to honor her memory during the day with flowers and prayers. They gathered for a candle-lighting at 8 p.m.

¡¡¡¡Talbott, who has coached softball at Farmville Central for 17 years, said he had known Foster since she was a young child.

¡¡¡¡¡°I teach elementary PE at Sugg-Bundy Elementary,¡± he said. ¡°I first knew her when she was in kindergarten. She¡¯s been a great kid all her life ¡ª she is the kind of kid you love to teach and coach. She had a great attitude, was always on time and never late for practice, great leadership when she was in a leadership role ¡ª she¡¯s one of the top five players I have ever coached.¡±

¡¡¡¡Foster¡¯s senior year at FCHS was cut short after just two games due to the pandemic.

¡¡¡¡¡°You get to the top of your level where you shine and then you have it taken away,¡± Talbott said, adding Foster had a special bond with longtime friend Sydney Wade, her catcher at FCHS.

¡¡¡¡Talbott shared humorous stories about Foster.

¡¡¡¡¡°When she was a freshman and sophomore, Abby had to have a cheeseburger before every game,¡± he said, laughing. ¡°That was her superstition ¡ª of course, 30 minutes later her stomach was hurting and she had to go to the bathroom.¡±

¡¡¡¡Talbott, who played in the Houston Astros organization, said he used to give pitching lessons to Abby, who was 10 at the time, and her older brother Alec.

¡¡¡¡¡°She came up one day, had all these bows in her hair and was cute as could be, and I asked her what was hanging off the back of her (hair) bow,¡± he said. ¡°Abby said, ¡®Oh that¡¯s just a dryer sheet. My mom¡¯s making me wear it because it keeps the bugs away.¡±

¡¡¡¡Kristin Frazier said she will always remember her friend. She relayed what Abby was like as a person as well as an athlete.

¡¡¡¡¡°She is absolutely one of the strongest people I have ever met in my life,¡± Frazier said. ¡°No matter what she did, she always gave 100 percent and always had a smile on her face. She could brighten anybody¡¯s day ¡ª she could make you laugh on your worst days and always had that positive attitude. Even when she was mad, it wasn¡¯t like she was mad. She would just laugh it off. She never took her anger out on anybody.¡±

¡¡¡¡On the field, Foster was a determined and focused player.

¡¡¡¡¡°When she was on the softball field, it was her game all the time,¡± Frazier said. ¡°It could be a hurricane and she would be giving it her all inside the circle.¡±

¡¡¡¡Frazier recounted one of many memories of Foster.

¡¡¡¡¡°I have a bunch of them, but my favorite one was when I was a sophomore and she was a senior,¡± she said. ¡°We were at a jamboree at Greene Central and she had never hit a home run before. The play before that, she hit one and it hit the fence, and her grandparents weren¡¯t there but they were going to give her a hundred dollars for the first home run she hit.

¡¡¡¡¡°The Pitt (CC) coach was there, and the pitch comes and she hits a home run off the girl. She was running around the bases crying and we all went out there and gave her a big hug ¡ª she was so excited.¡±

¡¡¡¡Frazier¡¯s father said he didn¡¯t know Abby well but had good things to say.

¡¡¡¡¡°I know Abby was really nice,¡± he said. ¡°She would come over to the house and was always respectful. My wife talked to her all the time. When she pitched, she really did put her heart into it. I know she was so excited that she was the starting pitcher at Pitt.”

¡¡¡¡She finished her freshman season with the Bulldogs with a 6-2 record and one save in 17 appearances in the circle, according to the college. The PCC softball community is shaken by the loss.

¡¡¡¡¡°The Pitt softball program and athletic department have suffered a tremendous loss,¡± PCC Athletic Director Dawn Manning said on the school¡¯s Facebook page. ¡°Abby was a fantastic young lady who succeeded academically and athletically for the Bulldogs. She was a leader on the field and a treasured friend to her teammates. Our deepest sympathy goes out to all of the families who have been affected.¡±

¡¡¡¡Foster was enrolled in the Associate in General Education program at PCC. She planned to study medical sonography at the college once she completed the program¡¯s entrance requirements.

¡¡¡¡¡°Abby was such a dedicated student and athlete,¡± PCC Student Success Advisor Brooke Green said in the post. ¡°It was such a pleasure working with her and being able to be around such a genuine person.¡±

¡¡¡¡The State Highway Patrol reported Foster was killed in the Thursday wreck along with friends John Winstead, 17, Devin Wilson, 15, and Madison Wilson, 18, all of Edgecombe County.

¡¡¡¡The incident took place at 11:43 a.m a little over a mile north of Greenville city limits on U.S. 264 Bypass. The patrol said that the truck was traveling north when it ran off the road to the left and crossed through the median cable. The southbound vehicle occupied by the teens, a small passenger car, was struck head-on by the truck.

¡¡¡¡Three of the teens died at the scene instantly, according to George Darden IV, chief at the Red Oak Fire Department in Greenville. The fourth died in surgery at Vidant Medical Center. Dakota Wilson, 17, was a passenger along with his siblings. He suffered almost no physical injuries, Darden said.

¡¡¡¡Madison Wilson was to graduate Saturday from SouthWest Edgecombe High School. Devin was a ninth-grader at the school. The two lived in Edgecombe County south of Tarboro and attended church in Belvoir.

¡¡¡¡Madison¡¯s boyfriend, John ¡°J.T.¡± Winstead, lived in Tarboro and was a baseball player at Tarboro High School. Their deaths clouded what should be a happy time for Edgecombe County Public Schools, a statement from the superintendent Valerie Bridges said.

¡¡¡¡¡°These students will be greatly missed by the students and staff members of SouthWest Edgecombe High School, Tarboro High School, and the entire ECPS community. We send our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to their family and friends during this unspeakable time.¡±

¡¡¡¡The State Highway Patrol reconstruction unit responded to the scene on Thursday and determined the box truck was exceeding safe speed for the rainy conditions. The driver, Alberto Pedraza III, has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.