Melbourne's Brandon Bragg makes a throw during a recent Softball Throw competition. / For FLORIDA TODAY
Two Brevard youth have qualified to participate in the Hershey Track & Field North American Finals today through Sunday in the softball-throw event.
The event measures how far a participant can throw a softball. The longest throw of a participant is what is registered when determining standings.
Melbourne 13-year-old Lazaro Ronaldo Ross and 9-year-old Brandon Bragg qualified for the event after advancing from the Melbourne Hershey Track & Field games event on March 16 and the Florida State Finals held in Miramar on June 22.
For Ross, getting to the national event is the culmination of a lot of hard work.
“Since I was in third grade, I’ve been doing softball,” Ross said.
Beyond the hard work, it was clear that Ross had natural talent.
“By 10, I was throwing harder than most of the other kids,” added Ross, whose longest softball throw was an impressive 205 feet.
Bragg has done well despite being in a division with older kids in the 9- and 10- year-old division.
“I played baseball and football so I throw a lot,” said Bragg as to how he’s gotten better. Bragg’s longest throw was 120 feet, 4 inches. “My dad helped me throw the softball almost every day.”
Brandon’s dad, Jeffry, estimates that if he throws that length, he’ll finish somewhere between seventh and eighth based on the results in previous years, though he also notes that in practice he’s thrown as far as 129 feet. A duplicate of that through could bring upwards of a fifth-place finish.
Overall, Jeffry is looking forward to his son’s future in the competition.
“We’re anticipating being able to go next year obviously being in the same age group,” Jeffry said.