PUYALLUP, Wash. — The return of high school sports has not only been important for student-athletes but it’s also been vital for others like Tanner Pierce, a senior from Puyallup High who's aspiring to follow in the footsteps of legendary Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus.
The Puyallup Vikings have one of the best baseball programs in Washington state. They won 13 straight league titles, two state championships, and this season, finished the year 16-0 - ranked 25th in the nation.
“I mean after not playing for a full year we just kind of have taken an approach that every day is state championship day, every pitch, and let's just compete,” said Puyallup baseball coach Marc Wiese.
This year’s Vikings team featured five seniors on the field and one in the booth.
“I always was fond of being behind the microphone whenever I got the opportunity and being able to do that, I'm a big sports fan, I was never the greatest athlete myself. So, it was a good way to kind of stay in the game and stay involved,” Puyallup senior Tanner Pierce said.
Tanner made his broadcasting debut in the seventh grade. When the regular public address announcer didn’t show one night, Head Coach Marc Wiese asked Assistant Coach Dean Pierce if his son could fill in.
“We go 'Tanner you're going to be the voice of the Vikings today.' And he took the bull by the horns and, I mean, shoot, he's going to be the biggest thing that's come out of Puyallup in 10 years, he’s going to be the next Dave Niehaus,” Wiese said.
As an eighth grader, Tanner started up the Tanner Pierce Broadcast Network. He started broadcasting games on YouTube for the Seattle Studs, the Tacoma Community College baseball team, and the Vikings.
“It's been pretty special to watch these teams, and just, every time I get behind that mic, something, something comes up and the energy gets flowing and I just, it feels right, it feels good, and I enjoy it,” Tanner said.
On game nights, Tanner’s a one-man band, running streaming, play by play, stats, announcing, and playing the music. His work doesn’t go unnoticed.
“Whether that's on a home run call, a double play, a diamond catch, anything like that, is to be able to bring the energy and make those people who are watching online feel like they're here, watching it,” Tanner said.
"I will watch this game live, and then I'll go back and watch Tanner broadcast just so I can listen to him talk. It's just awesome being able to, you know, hear that, Niehaus like broadcast to the game,” Puyallup baseball parent Phil Cresswell said.
Cresswell’s son Will is the starting catcher for the Vikings. Cresswell is from England and still has family living across the pond.
“It's super cool to know that there's people all over the globe watching me,” Tanner said.
Tanner loves doing play-by-play, but his broadcast dreams may also include KING 5 in the future.
“So, next year I'm heading down to Chapman University in Orange County, California. Getting my degree in broadcast journalism, hopefully, going to take [Chris Egan's] job one day,” Tanner said.
Besides his announcing job, Tanner also gets up early and works the morning shift at Starbucks before school and he currently has a 3.99 GPA. He got one A- as a freshman. Tanner was also a member of the high school golf team.