JMU softball cancels rest of season after Bernett's death

JMU softball catcher Lauren Bernett

The James Madison softball team announced Monday it canceled the final four games of its 2022 season after sophomore catcher Lauren Bernett died last week.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and one that was not made lightly,” head coach Loren LaPorte said in a statement. “We are so grateful for the support of our fans all season and for the love from the softball community during the past week. 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.”

Bernett died April 25 at 20 years old. She was a member of last year’s JMU team that advanced to the Women’s College World Series before being eliminated by No. 1 seed and eventual champion Oklahoma. On the day before she died, Bernett earned Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week honors.

The Western Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia said on Thursday that Bernett died by suicide.

The Dukes finish their 2022 season 21-21 overall with a 10-5 record in CAA play. Having already canceled five games in wake of Bernett’s death, JMU’s final nine games of the season will go down as no contests.