Larson

New Sky Carp play-by-play announcer Larry Larson poses with professional broadcasters Joe Davis (left) and Wayne Randazzo. 

BELOIT—Larry Larson has lofty goals for his play-by-play announcing career.

His first major one was attained Sunday afternoon when he was announced, in unique fashion, as the first ever play-by-play announcer of the Beloit Sky Carp. He will announce during the team’s simulcasting of home games as well as do radio broadcasts when the Sky Carp are on the road.

Larson had to earn his shot at professional baseball through a tryout arranged by the Sky Carp as part of a media symposium that was put on by Visit Beloit  over the weekend.

Bringing luminaries like Beloit College graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Joe Davis, and New York Mets broadcaster Wayne Randazzo to judge the contestants, Visit Beloit put on a terrific event, and the Sky Carp eventually landed on Larson, a 22-year old upcoming graduate of Bradley University, to take the reigns.

Larson said it’s been nearly a two-year process to secure the position.

“The process started back in 2020 when they announced the symposium,” Larson said. “I vividly remember seeing it online. I was working at Elliot Golf Course in Rockford, scrolling through Twitter when I saw that, and I knew I had to sign up for it. I was already a big fan of Davis and Randazzo and has listened to those guys a lot, and the contest was just kind of something cool to go along with it. I didn’t expect much out of it in that way.”

Larson continued his studies at Bradley, and spent his summers calling games for the Rockford Rivets, a summer collegiate wood-bat team.

After the 2021 season, Larson made up clips of him calling a half-inning of play, then another clip that showed off his interviewing prowess. He sent them into the then still-Snappers and awaited to hear if he had made the list of finalists the panel would choose from.

“I was thrilled when I found out I had made the cut,” Larson, a 2018 graduate of Belvidere High School, said. “So I was one of seven finalists, and they told us that we were going to get to call one inning from the 2016 World Series. They didn’t tell us what game or what inning, but I thought that was great, because I grew up a Cubs fan, so I knew a ton about that team. I spent the night before doing a ton of prep on Cleveland so I could talk about them, too.

“It turned out to be the bottom of the first inning from one of the games. I was the first to go, and they put me in the broadcast booth and I called the game from a monitor. They streamed my feed into an adjacent room, where the panel along with the professional broadcasters were listening. I thought I did OK. I didn’t flub the call, but I didn’t think I did spectacularly, either. I listened to the rest of the finalists, and after two or three, I just told myself that I probably wasn’t going to get the job, but that was OK. If I wasn’t going to get it, I just wanted to be in that top three.”

It was Joe Davis who made the announcement that Larson had won the contest, and the job.

“It was like something out of a dream, to be honest,” Larson said. “I couldn’t believe it. I loved my time with the Rivets and it was a great job, but my goal was to be in professional baseball when I graduated. As it turns out, I’ll have to go virtual starting in March to be with the team when the job starts, so that’s how I’ll finish up school.”

Getting the opportunity to rub elbows with the likes of Davis, Randazzo and former Snappers (and Houston Astros) play-by-play man Brett Dolan was invaluable.

“It was awesome,” Larson said. “To get to chat with them and hear their advice, that had a huge impact. They both did what every young announcer wants to do, and that’s reach the big leagues before they are 30. It’s incredible.”

Larson isn’t sure what his full duties will consist of, but he’s eager to getting into creating game notes and the duties that are normally associated with a full-time announcer.

“I’m just looking forward to the challenge of it,” Larson said. “With the Rivets, I did 72 games, and that was a challenge, so doing a full season, I’m looking forward to that. I never thought this would be the way I got my first job, but going to an organization that has a state-of-the-art ballpark, it’s going to be awesome.”

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