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Los Angeles Dodgers player Mookie Betts is headed toward matrimony-dom with his girlfriend since MIDDLE SCHOOL! Can you believe it? Betts, who is 28, met his future wife Brianna Hammonds, 26, when he was in 8th grade and she was in 7th grade. The couple has a two-year-old daughter Kynlee, born in November 2018.

World Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Six

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PEOPLE exclusively broke the happy news, sharing details from the engagement which happened in Nashville. The proposal was a surprise for Hammonds, who was told by Betts that they’d be celebrating his recently being honored by CC & Amber Sabathia’s PitCCh In foundation with the 2020 LegaCCy Award. With the Sabathias in on the surprise and help from his team Element13, Betts staged a special intimate awards ceremony dinner. After Betts accepted his award and check with a speech, he called Hammonds to the stage to thank her. Betts went on to read a poem he wrote for Brianna before getting down on one knee to propose with a radiant cut, 7-carat diamond.

“Brianna has been by my side since we were teenagers,” Betts tells PEOPLE. “Together we’ve grown mentally, physically, and spiritually. She is my best friend, mother of my child, my lover, and my soon-to-be wife. “

The couple’s close family and friends were in attendance for the Nashville dinner. Private chef James Dalton curated the evening’s meal, while DJ Steph Floss was on hand to provide music and floral design was handled by Meg Hutchinson.

“Winning another World Series was great,” Betts told PEOPLE, “but putting a ring on my MVP is the real blessing! I am a blessed man.”

For photos from the evening, captured by Natasha Herbert Photography head to PEOPLE.

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