There has barely been time for the group of young women to process what happened.
“She was one of my closest friends. It hits close to my heart,” Rachel Gardner said.
Brooke Gonzalez was out jogging Monday night near her apartment on State Road 52 in Hudson.
According to investigators, a Ford Escort driven by Scott Yutzy went up on the sidewalk around 10 p.m., hitting the 19-year-old and slamming into the guard rail.
“We all do those things. You never think you are going to go out for a run to work out and you are never going to come back. You don’t think like that,” said Gardner, Brooke’s teammate on the Pasco Hernando State College softball team.
Brooke, who is from Marion County, was set to graduate in just eight days, but she was even more excited about her team’s future.
The first baseman was one of its best hitters.
“She encouraged everybody, especially me,” Gardner said.
Brooke was really looking forward to next week’s regional tournament in North Carolina.
But Tuesday morning Coach Tom Ryan had to the break the tragic news to her teammates.
“We are going to try and stay together. The girls are supportive of one another. There is tremendous support here at the college from the administration to the faculty to the other athletes, so we are all in this together,” Ryan said.
“I don’t think it’s really set in yet that it’s gone. I’m sure it will hit us later when we do our team things. We are a team. We are strong. She was a strong part of our team. It’s made an impact on us. We will do our job for her,” Gardner said.
The Florida Highway Patrol hasn’t said yet what may have caused the driver to lose control and hit Brooke, but charges are still pending.
Meanwhile, her teammates gathered together at the softball field, to remember #18.
She was funny and easy going.
A teammate and a friend gone way too soon.