James Madison Softball Player Lauren Bernett Dies at Age 20

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IV

James Madison catcher Lauren Bernett during a NCAA softball game on Friday, May 28, 2021 in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

James Madison softball catcher Lauren Bernett has died at the age of 20.

"Our hearts are aching, hearing the news of the loss of one of our student-athletes," a statement from president Jonathan Alger and athletic director Jeff Bourne said. "Lauren Bernett was a high-achieving member of our softball team and a great ambassador of JMU and our athletics program. She was a key member of our 2021 Women's College World Series team as a freshman catcher last year."

James Madison Athletics @JMUSports

Statement from President Alger and Jeff Bourne on the loss of one of our own: <a href="https://t.co/A5JBuR5RUg">pic.twitter.com/A5JBuR5RUg</a>

Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson announced Wednesday that Bernett's death is being classified as an apparent suicide.

Odicci Alexander, who was a star pitcher of the 2021 team that made a run in the WCWS, posted a photograph with the message "Love you LB" on social media:

Odicci Alexander @2seas__

Love you LB ๐Ÿ’” <a href="https://t.co/4nHtx3PODR">pic.twitter.com/4nHtx3PODR</a>

Bernett had just been named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week after hitting .788 with seven RBI and scoring four runs in the team's recent series against Drexel.

TMZ Sports noted the sophomore set a JMU record with seven RBI during a game against College of Charleston on April 16 and was hitting .336 with nine home runs this season.

The team announced its Wednesday doubleheader against Longwood was canceled.