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James Madison Softball Cancels Remainder of Season Following Sudden Death of Star Catcher


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James Madison University has canceled the remainder of its softball season following the tragic death of Lauren Bernett, 20, a sophomore on the team who died suddenly one week ago.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and one that was not made lightly,” JMU Head Coach Loren LaPorte said.

ABC 13 reported:

LaPorte said the team will use the time to continue healing, honor Bernett’s death, and finish the academic semester strong following a death that has been preliminarily ruled a suicide.

Bernett was a catcher on the team. The day before her death she was named CAA player of the week.

“We are so grateful for the support of our fans all season and for the love from the softball community during the past week,” LaPorte said. ” We will use this time to continue healing and to honor Lauren’s memory while finishing the academic semester strong. Most importantly, we’re thinking about our graduating seniors whose careers have come to an abrupt conclusion. We will make sure that they are honored for the commitment and dedication they have made as student-athletes at James Madison University.”

The Dukes finished the season 21-21 overall, and 10-5 in conference play.

NBC News noted:

Bernett, a sophomore from McDonald, Pennsylvania, died April 25. Sheriff’s deputies said they were conducting a “death investigation” that has been “classified as an apparent suicide,” Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson said.

Bernett was a member of James Madison’s historic 2021 team to reach the Women’s College World Series.

The team pulled off a stunning victory over #1 and eventual national champions, Oklahoma.

Bernett is the third Division I female athlete to die by suicide within two months.

Wisconsin runner Sarah Shulze died April 13, and Stanford soccer goalkeeper Katie Meyer passed away March 1.

UPDATE: Death of Stanford Women’s Soccer Player Katie Meyer Ruled Suicide, According to Medical Examiner


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