James Madison Cancels Softball Season After Lauren Bernett's Death

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 2, 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA - JUNE 07: James Madison players huddle during the second inning of Game 13 of the Women's College World Series against Oklahoma on June 07, 2021 at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma won 7-1. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The James Madison softball team has canceled the remainder of its 2022 season following the death of sophomore catcher Lauren Bernett.

Coach Loren LaPorte issued a statement on the announcement:

"This was an extremely difficult decision and one that was not made lightly. 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."

The Dukes will now finish 2022 with a 21-21 overall record. Their last game was an 11-4 victory over Drexel on April 24. Five contests had already been canceled prior to Monday's decision.

On April 26, the school announced Bernett died, and two days later, the medical examiner ruled her death a suicide.

Bernett was batting .336 with nine home runs and 33 RBI in 2022. She made 44 appearances for the Dukes last year, when they punched their ticket to the Women's College World Series for the first time in program history. JMU reached the semifinals, where it lost to eventual national champion Oklahoma.