A few minutes in the dugout with Northeast High School softball coach Reggie Randolph and his star pitcher and daughter, Riley
Namesake: Howard Godfrey was the athletic director at Northeast High for a total of 15 years. He coached both baseball and junior varsity basketball and taught science during his time with the Vikings, retiring in 1991 after spending 28 years in the Pinellas County School District.
Location: Northeast High School, 5500 16th St. N, St. Petersburg, FL 33703
Team Profile: The Vikings were 9-10 last season. As a sophomore, Riley had 161 strikeouts and made second team south Pinellas County Athletic Conference ballot.
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On the field: Riley Randolph
An interview with the Viking’s star pitcher and Florida Gulf Coast college commit
You’ve been the softball coach at Northeast High for 3 years. How long have you coached Riley?
Reggie: 10 years. If I hadn’t had a daughter, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into it but one of the things I’ve noticed is the equality between the boys and the girl’s sports in terms of coaching. I knew I needed to be involved with her to be able to get the most of her playing and participation.
What’s it like playing for your dad?
Riley: He definitely pushes me, especially if we have a bad game.
Why is pitching your favorite position?
Riley: The atmosphere of pitching is just so freeing. You’re in control. You can strike the batter out, you can walk them and let them hit or dominate on the mound and take out everybody.
What’s it like playing at Howard Godfrey Field?
Riley: This field definitely hits home for me. My mom teaches here, my dad is the coach. This field is like a second home for me. Every Saturday I’m out here with dad. We have workouts, we run, we field, we hit, we pitch. When I hear the word softball, I think of here.
How did she get into pitching?
Reggie: Her mom and I met on a softball field. Her mom was a pitcher at SPC. We had both graduated from college and we were playing on a co-ed league when we met. With her mom being a pitcher, we kind of figured it would end up that way. Riley was actually right-handed when she was a kid but we actually switched her to leftie because we figured she was going to be a pitcher and left-handed pitchers are in little bit more of a need. Her mom blames me for her handwriting but everything else works (laughs).
You guys must be proud of her.
Reggie: We always knew that our goal was for our children to go to college and for Riley, we’ve always put academics first. She’s been an excellent student. The fact that she’s able to play softball and has great academics only makes it easier. She works hard in the classroom. She takes a lot of AP classes and college prep courses. It helps that her mom is a teacher.
That must be satisfying to watch her mature as a young lady like that.
Reggie: I’ll tell you, when we were driving back from Florida Gulf Coast University—where she’s committed to play softball—I just went through this revelation where I thought about how she used to be a little baby. We’re looking forward to where she’s going though.
Who’s your biggest rival?
Reggie: Pinellas Park. It was St. Pete but the districts have changed.
Riley: I’d say Seminole or Countryside
What’s your favorite field to play on?
Reggie: East Lake has nice facilities
Riley: This one and the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va. I play with the Clearwater Lady Bombers and we just had a tournament out there. We finished ninth in the country.
Do you have a least favorite?
Reggie: St. Pete, because you would have to play during the daytime and it was always hot out there
Do you have a team mantra?
Reggie: “Go hard” and “Together we can”
What’s your go-to pump up song?
Riley: “Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy. My dad actually played it first and we have a ritual now before the game where we sit in the car and turn it up as loud as it goes and nod our heads.
Do you have a pre-game meal?
Riley: The night before the game, I have to eat chicken alfredo from Pizza Hut. It’s just one of those things. Even if we go out of town, I’ll MapQuest the nearest Pizza Hut.
Who’s the hardest batter to strikeout on your team?
Riley: Probably our catcher, Ashley McNally.
You had a great sophomore year. What’s your goal for this upcoming season?
Riley: I want to go out and dominate this year. That’s my word: dominate.
Why do you wear No. 8?
Riley: My favorite softball pitcher, Cat Osterman, wears that number. She plays for the University of Texas and the Olympic team. That’s actually where I got this hairstyle, too. I wear eight braids in every game that I play in.