TAMPA, Fla. — Riley Gore is a strong leader and role model for the younger players on the University of South Florida’s softball team.
The senior outfielder’s place on the team has changed over the last year, after being a key contributor on the field as a junior. She is now being counted on as a vocal presence in the clubhouse, as her playing time decreases.
Gore is team first, and prefers not to make any personal goals, but also understands that they are vital to being a leader on the squad.
“Get the program to where it needs to go,” said Gore, of her personal goal for 2020. “Leave the place better than when you found it.”
In two seasons at USF, Gore has played in 37 games, driving in 10 runs, with four homers.
The West Palm Beach, Fla., native has qualities that stem from her deep love of the game, starting at the age of four.
“(My mom) told me the minute I stepped on the softball field, she had to pull me off the field (at the end of each game) and I just wouldn’t go,” said Gore. “I fell in love with the game.”
While standing in shallow centrefield after a 1-0 USF victory over Penn State on March 11, Gore made it clear that being a leader as a player is not the only way she wants to make an impact in her athletic career.
“One of my future goals is to become a coach,” said Gore. “Just the way I was inspired by other coaches, I want to see other girls live through that.”
Jessica Moore, the interim manager at USF while Ken Eriksen tours with the USA Olympic team, sees the passion the outfielder has and the effect it’s had on her ball club.
“She’s a very passionate player and individual,” said Moore, in front of the USF dugout. “(Gore is) super competitive. She gives us that spirit and competitiveness you need.”
Gore knows what impact she wants to leave.
“I want to inspire others to go out to the softball field and think they can go 3-for-3, or 0-for-3, and still get their team the win.”
Despite playing volleyball and soccer in high school, she has no regrets moving forward with softball.
“(I’m) very passionate about this sport,” said Gore. “I love this sport with every bone in my body.