Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor High student catches Mariners’ Leonys Martin walk-off home run ball

The Seattle Mariners were trailing the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night at Safeco Field, 5-2, following the sixth inning.

It looked bleak for the M’s, but Gig Harbor High School senior Tyler Bruess, who took his girlfriend, Aly Stephens, to the ballpark for a date night, had faith.

“We were going to leave in the seventh (inning),” Bruess said. “But I was like, ‘Something is going to happen.’”

His faith was rewarded as Robinson Cano blasted a two-run home run in the eighth to draw the Mariners within one. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Leonys Martin hit a two-run, walk-off home run to seal the win for the Mariners.

And guess who caught the ball? That’s right: Bruess.

“I saw the ball off the bat and I said, ‘No way, this is coming right to us,’” Bruess said. “I caught it right off the bounce. It was awesome.”

He had to fight for it. After Bruess caught the ball, a woman took it out of his hands.

“She was a grown woman, probably in her 20s or 30s,” Bruess said. “I was just thinking, ‘I can’t believe you’re taking this from me.’ I just kind of took it back. It was weird.”

Bruess has been tweeting at Leonys Martin and the Mariners, offering to give the ball back.

“If it was something he wanted back, I’d be glad to give it to him,” Bruess said. “If I understand correctly, it’s his first walkoff with the Mariners.”

Bruess said that Ed Davis, a professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers, privately messaged him asking for the ball.

“He offered me tickets for the ball,” Bruess said.

Bruess said he isn’t sure what reason Davis has for wanting the ball or what connection he has to Martin or the Mariners.

“I have no idea,” Bruess said. “He said he wanted it for his house.”

Sometimes, when baseball players try to get a home run ball, they’ll exchange something for with the fan for the ball. Bruess said that would be a sweet deal.

“An autographed bat would be awesome,” Bruess said. “But if he just wants the ball, I’d be happy to give it back for nothing.”

Whatever ends up happening, it was a night Bruess said he’ll remember for the rest of his life.