Senior Jonah Smith earned the title “Voice of the Shipbuilders” for his broadcasting and PA work. Contributed photo

Morse High School coaches will struggle next year to replace graduating athletes like cross country standout Audrey Crews and three-sport star Gabe Aucoin. But the Shipbuilders’ biggest loss may never have set foot on the field of play.

On Saturday, senior Jonah Smith will receive his diploma at McMann Field, the spot where his broadcasting and PA talents have earned him the nickname “The Voice of the Shipbuilders.”

“He’s been such a big part of the success we’ve had in terms of generating excitement in the community,” Morse Athletics Director Nate Priest said of Smith. “It’s important that people recognize just what he’s done for us and how appreciative I am of that.”

While Smith’s ability to rally the home crowd at Morse football games drew attention last fall, he has been quietly (or not so quietly) honing his broadcasting skills for as long as he can remember.

“Every time I would go to a Portland Pirates or Sea Dogs game, I would annoy everybody around me and do the commentary,” he said. “That was like my favorite thing to do as a kid.”

He first got his hands on a microphone after his Little League Baseball commissioner noticed his play-by-play routine. While Smith enjoyed playing the sport, he found he was more excited by the prospect of announcing his friends’ names as they stepped into the batter’s box and conducting post-game interviews about their favorite sunflower seed flavors.


“I really enjoyed improving people’s experiences at those games and making my peers feel like they were getting recognized every time I came up,” he remembers.

His playing days were over by the time he entered Morse as a freshman, but Smith was surer than ever he wanted a life in sports. He met with Priest, who helped him find a role with the Bath Community Television broadcast team.

Jonah Smith covers a Morse soccer game. Contributed / Morse Athletics

While former Morse Athletics Director Brian Hatch and Chris Marco handled play-by-play and color commentary, Smith worked his way up from scorekeeper to camera operator to occasional on-air fill-in.

Then, the pandemic struck, limiting attendance at sports games and making broadcasts more important than ever.

“We weren’t allowed to have people come to the games, but we still wanted to be able to have people watch their kids or grandkids play,” Priest said. “So (Smith) took the initiative, and he absolutely ran with it.”

While Bath Community Television previously only played game recordings after the events ended, Smith worked on his own to develop a system for livestreaming games on his YouTube channel, Play By Play Productions.


“Last year, he was the go-to guy,” Hatch said. “If we had a problem he would solve it.”

Operating a camera in one hand and a scoreboard graphic in the other, all while eyeing the live feed on a laptop in front of him, Smith helped the Morse’s soccer, field hockey and especially basketball teams stay connected to their fans.

Jonah Smith (left) stands with the Shipbuilders’ mascot at McMann Field. Contributed photo

“I can’t imagine the amount of time and hours that he volunteered to make that happen,” Priest said. “It was just incredible.”

Parents and fans often reached out to Priest to compliment the broadcast quality, he said. But only after taking over PA duties at football games last fall did Smith get see how much the Shipbuilder faithful appreciated his work.

Getting to see and interact with the crowd was a rewarding experience for Smith, still at heart the Little Leaguer who preferred to highlight his friends’ accomplishments.

“In Bath, Maine, and Morse High School, you cannot ignore the sense of community,” Smith said. “A lot of people play it off as kind of hokey, and it is a little bit. But it does actually mean a lot.”

After graduating Saturday, Smith will prepare for his first year at the University of Maine at Orono, where he plans to study journalism and prepare for a career in sports broadcasting.

But first, Morse prepared a sendoff for the Voice of the Shipbuilders: at the school’s senior award ceremony this week, Smith earned the School Community Liaison Council’s Student of the Quarter honor, the first-ever Chris Hagan Award, and a standing ovation from his classmates.

“It was super emotional to hear everybody around me in such support and recognition of the work that I’ve done,” Smith said. “It made all the freezing cold nights and the long hours and all the slip-ups over the microphones worth it.”

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