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Broadcaster live streams USM Huskies games

By Nathan Tsukroff

GORHAM – Watching springs sports at the University of Southern Maine is lots of fun . . . you just can’t watch the games in person during the pandemic.

Instead, you’ll be enjoying the Huskies on live streams over your computer or smartphone. And you’ll be hearing the voice of Sebastian “Bass” Pettitt as he calls the play-by-play for the games.

Pettitt began his announcing career in September, 2016, while working towards a Communications degree at USM. He was assisting men’s soccer coach Mike Keller as a team manager when the communications side of the USM Athletic Department asked him if he had any knowledge about broadcasting and communications.

“I told them I’d been around sports my whole life – it’s something I played and enjoyed . . . and I would definitely be able and willing to learn and lend a hand, and all of that, not really knowing where it was going,” he said.

Calling the plays at a recent live stream of a University of Southern Maine Huskies baseball game, Sebastian “Bass” Pettitt uses a video camera tied to a laptop for his broadcasts over the internet. (Photo by Olivia Holbrook, USM Athletics)

“At first it was just the fall sports, really just soccer, something I was comfortable working with,” Pettit said. “And there were days where people who were calling the games at that point in time weren’t able to . . . so I picked up field hockey, which wasn’t something I was really comfortable or knowledgeable in, but at the time we really just needed someone to do it, so it wasn’t just silent while the game was airing.”

Pettitt said he had to “pick up quite a bit of knowledge” to learn how to explain a game he had never really watched before.

 He said the athletic department was very supportive of his efforts. “It did give me some sort of comfort knowing they trusted me, even if I’m still learning, and they wanted me to get better and wanted me to improve.”

More than four years later, Pettitt now live streams almost all the games for the Huskies, while taking a break from his studies. “I have every sport that isn’t hockey that we are able to do a broadcast for.”

For spring sports, he is covering baseball, softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse. In the fall, he covers just men’s and women’s soccer (USM doesn’t have a football team), and in the winter he broadcasts men’s and women’s basketball, an occasional home wrestling match, and indoor track. “When it comes to (ice) hockey, there’s another gentleman who handles the majority of the games, but I do fill in for him when he’s not available.”

Pettitt works from the press box at a game, using a digital camera connected to a laptop which is linked to the athletic department website. The website has links and statistics for the games as they are being played.

His work with the broadcasts and video are separate from the game announcer, Pettitt said. “They have somebody who announces the goals over the public address system.”

The broadcasts and commentary from Pettitt were helpful even for fans at a game. “If you don’t necessarily know a lot” about the game, fans can listen in to his broadcasts, he said. He’s seen fans watching his live streams on their smartphones at games. And for now, his broadcasts are the only way for fans to see a game.

Pettitt came to USM for Sports Management, eventually shifting gears to a Communications major. He played a lot of sports growing up, as well as acting in the school theatre. He was on the speech and debate team in high school, “and that really helped me being comfortable in front of the microphone,” he said.

He plans on doing these broadcasts for the foreseeable future, celebrating his 500th broadcast just a couple of weeks ago. “I see myself living in this community in the future and being in this area,” he said. “As long as I’m somebody they like having around and doing games, then I see myself doing it.”

Besides working fulltime behind the microphone, Pettitt helps with the bowling alleys at Junction Bowl on Railroad Avenue, Gorham. He is in charge of the weekly leagues that play on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights.

He also posts Twitch broadcasts about video games, including his current favorite game, Call of Duty. His all time favorite is Tetris, he said.

Pettitt needs three semesters to complete his degree. His parents moved from Maine to southern Connecticut several years ago, so he lost the lower tuition of a Maine resident. He will be able to finish his studies when he qualifies again as a Mainer, he said.

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