James Madison U. cancels remainder of softball season

The James Madison University softball team said Monday that it was canceling the final games of its season after the death of catcher Lauren Bernett last month.

The team had four games remaining, all this week. It had canceled their previous five games after Bernett’s death April 25.

“LB #22,” in honor of James Madison softball catcher Lauren Bernett, is written on the infield behind Liberty pitcher Emily Kirby during an NCAA college softball game against Tennessee at Liberty Softball Stadium in Lynchburg, Va., April 27, 2022. There has been a lot of talk about the mental health struggles that many young athletes face, the pressures and vulnerabilities that can seem overwhelming — especially to those who feel compelled to shield their pain from the outside world. (Kendall Warner/The News & Advance via AP, File)

“This was an extremely difficult decision and one that was not made lightly,” JMU 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.”

LaPorte added that the team was “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.”

JMU finished the season 21-21, 10-5 in conference play.

The death of Bernett, 20, a dean’s list student, was announced the day after she was named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week.

If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for people in distress 24/7. Call 800-273-8255.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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