FORT DEFIANCE – Haden Bragg is into baseball big-time.
For the Fort Defiance senior, the sport is not only his favorite, but it consumes a lot of his time, both on the diamond and as a baseball card collector.
“I’ve had a love for the game since I was little,” Bragg said. “It came from my granddad, he just passed it down.
“It’s always been baseball. I’ve wanted to be the best I can be at that.”
Bragg is not only good at the sport, but he also excels in the classroom. For his accomplishments, Fort Defiance has selected him as its spring nominee for the City/County Student-Athlete of the Year award, sponsored by The News Leader.
Bragg’s first taste in the sport came at the age of 5, when he played T-ball in the Grottoes Little League.
By the age of 13, he was playing at Barren Ridge in the Babe Ruth program. He joined the Fort JV squad as an eighth-grader, advancing to the varsity as a sophomore.
“I’ve been a catcher all my life, ever since Little League, he said. “As a catcher, I like the intellectual side. I like to know what is going on. You are always a part of every pitch.”
Bragg admits that he doesn’t determine what type of pitch is thrown. He takes signs from his coaches as to what signal to give to his pitcher.
“They keep everything charted, but they do take suggestions,” he said. “We often talk a lot on how certain batters hit the ball. I’ve had experience with certain players and experience with patterns.”
Bragg has lettered all three of his varsity years, and as a junior, received the Indian Award after batting .346. In the Fort batting order, he is currently in the three hole.
In the past, he has played Babe Ruth ball in the summer. This year, it will either be the Rockingham County League or American Legion ball.
His favorite subject fields are math and science, particularly physics.
Academically, Bragg has a 4.43 grade point average and is in the top three in his senior class.
“And I really enjoy calculus,” he said. “I’m going into mechanical engineering, and it makes sense to me.”
Currently he has five weighted classes, four of which are dual enrollment and one is advance placement.
In the group are architectural drawing, calculus, composition, western civilization and AP government.
Extracurricular activities include the National Honor Society and the Technology Student Association where he is co-president.
He is part of the Leisure Sports Club and was a previous member of the Art Club. He has also helped design the spirit wall on the road leading to the school.
On the outside, he works in summer with his dad in construction and also helps instruct at youth baseball camps from Fort to Grottoes to East Rockingham.
Bragg will attend Lynchburg College in the fall, studying physics. He plans to be a part of a dual degree program with U.Va. for a masters in engineering.
At Lynchburg, he would like to play baseball for the Division III Hornets.
As a hobby, the Fort senior collects baseball cards.
“That’s something me and my granddad had in common,” he said. “I started that when I was very young. It’s been a family tradition.”
Fort athletic director Mark Mace has seen the value of Bragg to his school’s baseball program.
“He has been a leader for baseball for many years,” Mace said. “He has been the foundation for the team.”
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