James Madison cancels rest of softball season after catcher Lauren Bernett's suicide

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

Editor's note: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Following the death of sophomore catcher Lauren Bernett, James Madison has canceled the remainder of its softball season.

The university announced the decision on Monday.

"This was an extremely difficult decision and one that was not made lightly," head coach Loren LaPorte said via 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."

JMU announced Bernett's death on April 26. The Western Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia announced on Thursday that Bernett died by suicide. She was 20 years old.

Bernett excelled as a freshman in JMU's surprise run to the College World Series last season while hitting .235 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 44 games. As a sophomore, she hit .336 with nine home runs and 33 RBI in 41 games. She was remembered fondly last week by her teammates, including star pitcher Odicci Alexander.

JMU initially canceled five games last week because of Bernett's death prior to Monday's announcement ending the season. It finished the season at 21-21 (10-5, CAA) while winning its final five games.

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