Lauren Bernett: Member of JMU’s improbable run at the 2021 Women’s College World Series dead at 20

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James Madison University has announced the death of softball athlete Lauren Bernett โ€“ one of the key players of the 2021 Womenโ€™s College World Series. Bernett was 20 years old.

The cause of her death nor any other details were announced.

A co-statement posted by JMU president Jonathan Alger and director of athletics Jeff Bourne said: โ€œOur hearts are aching, hearing the news of the loss of one of our student-athletes. 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 Womenโ€™s College World Series team as a freshman catcher last year.โ€

Tuesdayโ€™s statement included contact information for school resources, including the phone number for the school crisis center and a weblink to a mental health and wellness provider.

A sophomore catcher, Bernett was just named โ€œPlayer of the Weekโ€ on Monday by the Colonial Athletic Association.

She went seven-for-nine in a three-game weekend sweep over Drexel University โ€“ hitting .788 with a home run, seven RBIs and four runs scored.

The teamโ€™s scheduled doubleheader on Wednesday against Longwood University was canceled. The athletics department tweeted it had set up a flower drop and memorial outside the softball teamโ€™s Veterans Memorial Park entrance.

According to her JMU bio, Bernett was a member of the National Honor Society and planned on majoring in biology with a minor in pre-vet.

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Last season, Bernett and her teammates made national headlines with the Dukesโ€™ unexpected, first-ever run to the Womenโ€™s College World Series national semifinals. JMU finished its best-ever season with a 41-4 record.

Bernettโ€™s former batterymate and breakout star of JMUโ€™s World Series run, Odicci Alexander, tweeted Wednesday: โ€œLove you LBโ€ and โ€œYou really never know what someone is going through.โ€

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