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Lauren Bernett Death: James Madison University Softball Player Dies, Had Just Been Named Player of the Week


Lauren Bernett death

Lauren Bernett, a softball player for James Madison who helped the Dukes reach the Women’s College World Series last year, has died at the age of 20. The school acknowledged her death Tuesday but provided no other information.

JMU President Jonathan Alger and athletic director Jeff Bourne issued a joint statement expressing their “heartbreak” at Bernett’s death, whom they characterized as “a high-achieving member of our softball team and an outstanding ambassador for JMU and our athletics program.”

“We are appreciative of Lauren’s contributions to our JMU Athletics community and will always consider her a Duke,” their statement stated. “We will greatly miss her.

“Our hearts go out to her family; to her coaches, teammates, and friends; to the rest of our department’s staff and student-athletes; and the whole JMU community.” JMU Nation is a tight-knit community, and we grieve in unison.”

Additionally, the announcement announced the cancellation of Wednesday’s JMU softball doubleheader versus Longwood and provided many mental-health services.

Bernett’s death was announced a day after she was voted the Colonial Athletic Association’s Player of the Week. The sophomore catcher got the award Monday after going 7-for-9 with seven RBIs and four runs scored, including a home run, in this past weekend’s three-game sweep over Drexel.

Many of Bernett’s teammates took to social media to express their shock at the awful news. Bernett will “never be forgotten,” Kayla Boseman said, while Emily Phillips added that she will be missed “more than anything.” Meredith Wells referred to Bernett as “a beacon of hope for many many.”

Odissi Alexander, a former JMU standout and Softball America’s 2021 Pitcher of the Year, tweeted “Love you LB” with a broken heart emoji two minutes later.