The youngest play-by-play broadcaster in Professional Sports has found a home with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Payne Patchett, still weeks away from his High School Graduation at Lake Stevens High School (Washington), will be the voice of the Volcanoes this summer during all their radio broadcasts, home and away, on 1430 KYKN.
Patchett's involvement with the Lake Stevens Vikings baseball program dates back many years. "We brought him out as an 11-year old kid to kind of belong to something," said his mother Roxanne Lewis. "This gave him an opportunity to do that and grow and learn."
It wasn't long thereafter Patchett started announcing. "I started saying what was happening out loud, and then a couple people suggested that I announce the games," Patchett said. "My mon and step-dad surprised me with a digital recorder and I've used it ever since."
Payne's announcing skills have been described as talent far-exceeding his years. "He really has a knack (for) calling a game, and a vocabulary," former longtime Vikings assistant coach Jim Willie said. "He calls the game, and he can also be color at the same time. He's got the flair for it too, and the dramatic bit about him. … I think he (could) do it at a World Series game, and I don't think he'd skip a beat."
"He's a fixture in this program," Vikings coach Josh White said. "He's a staple for Lake Stevens Vikings baseball. … He has been so special to this program over the last eight
"It just sounds really professional," said Rodger Anderson, who was Lake Stevens' head coach when Patchett first became involved with the program as an 11-year-old.
Patchett has been described as having an encyclopedic razor-sharp memory. "He's got years' worth of information on guys," White said. "… It's not just something that he shows up to the game and does. He puts his time and his research in."
"He's just been a big part of the family," Anderson added. "It's going to be kind of sad to see him gone, because he's been around so long. But I know he's on to bigger and better things."
"I'm looking forward to his next phase - to hear him on the radio or TV, or go to a game and hear him up in the booth," Willie said, "because I'd bet a million dollars that's going to happen."
Patchett reached out to Volcanoes' owner Jerry Walker in March saying, "I'm confident that I'm ready to broadcast in the next level and I think that your team and the city of Keizer is the perfect place to be. Considering that the Volcanoes have produced a number of major league talent over the years and has a dedicated fan base, I would be proud to be a part of and contribute to such a successful organization and team in any way I can."
Walker said, "The Volcanoes are proud to give Payne this opportunity. His passion for the game and broadcasting is obvious and his story is heart-warming. One of the Volcanoes' core philosophies has been to provide opportunities and help our staff members, along with our players, the chance to launch their careers. We are very excited to have Payne join our staff."
"We are extremely excited and honored to have such a rare talent join the Volcanoes family", says team President of Business Operations Mitche Graf. "He has a special knack for creating energy with his enthusiasm and he should fit perfectly into our philosophy of putting the fan experience as our top priority."