WNY Athletics

Warriors honor Shane Foster

Somehow they avoided the threat of rain that had been looming all week.

You just get the feeling Shane had something to do with that.

Jake Eiss threw a complete game as Tonawanda cruised to an 11-2 win over Holland in the first Shane Foster Memorial Game that was held at Veteran’s Park in the City of Tonawanda on Friday afternoon.

The game was played in honor of former Warrior stand out student-athlete Shane Foster who passed away suddenly in March.

“Just watching him play sports,” said Shane’s younger sister Ashley Adams.

“My brother was really my inspiration for me to play sports growing up.”

That’s who Shane Foster was. He was the type of person who cared about others more than he cared about himself.

Foster was a three-sport athlete at Tonawanda but it was on the diamond where he shined the brightest. As his natural skill and no quit mentality were a key component to the 2010 club that won the Section VI Class B title and made it to the state tournament.

Mike Tolsma, a member of that memorable squad, said that Shane Foster the ball player was pretty amazing. But Shane Foster his friend was even better.

“Without question just the type of person he was,” said Tolsma. “As a teammate you couldn’t even compare him to other guys. He was always the first one out of the dugout to congratulate you. Team first. He was just a first class person.”

Even though the majority of the current Warriors didn’t know Shane, his passing clearly impacted them. Co-captains Tyler Buczkowski and Anthony Angelo both had initials “S F” painted on their faces with eye black.

It was a show of respect for Foster and proof that the motto “Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior” isn’t just lip-service. It’s from the heart.

Both the Warriors and Dutchman lined up during a pre game ceremony that saw Warriors head coach John Frank give an emotionally charged speech honoring Shane.

“Shane was much more than just an athlete,” Frank said as he struggled to stay composed.

“Shane was a vibrant young man who had a smile that could light up a room. Someone who would go out of his way to say hello. Lend a hand or just check in and see how you were doing.”

After Frank completed his speech the Warriors presented Shane’s family-parents James Foster, Sherry Ritter, siblings Ashley Adams and Scott Foster-with the framed No.1 jersey that Shane wore during the 2010 season. The Warriors also gave a baseball signed by every member of the team to Scott and a signed softball to Ashley.

Scott Foster then threw out the first pitch.

As Ashley Adams saw so many friends and teammates of Shane’s in attendance she said the continued support the community has given her family warms her heart.

“Everyone keeps coming up to us telling us how special he was,” Adams said. “It makes me feel a little bit better.”

Scott Foster echoed his little sisters thoughts and said that’s just the way the people of Tonawanda are. In times of trouble friends rush to your side no questions asked. That sense of community pride and togetherness is what makes the C.O.T. special.

“We’re very grateful for everything everyone has done (for us) in the last couple months,” said Scott Foster.

“All the support.”

“It’s not only the bad things it’s the good things, too. Everybody rallies around.” Foster continued.

“The team Shane was on years and years ago. The community. The (student fan section) Tribe. They were around them in good times and bad.”

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