James Madison University softball player Lauren Bernett dies

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James Madison University softball player Lauren Bernett dies originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

James Madison University softball player Lauren Bernett has died, the school announced on Tuesday. She was 20 years old.

A cause of death was not revealed.

"Our hearts are aching, hearing the news of the loss of one of our student-athletes," James Madison University president Jonathan Alger and athletic director Jeff Bourne said in a combined statement. "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 Women's College World Series team as a freshman catcher last year.

"College athletics is great because of the people with whom we get to interact every day. We are a tight family. We are grateful that Lauren has been part of our JMU athletics community and will always consider her to be a Duke. We will miss her dearly.

"Our thoughts are with her family; her coaches, teammates and friends; the rest of our department staff and student-athletes; and the entire JMU community. JMU Nation is a close community, and we grieve together."

Bernett, a sophomore catcher from McDonald, Pennsylvania, started 43 of 45 games for James Madison's College World Series-winning team in 2021. She had just been named the Colonial Athletic Association's Player of the Week on Monday after a strong performance in a series against Drexel over the weekend.

Odicci Alexander, who was a member of last season's JMU team, posted a tribute to Bernett on Twitter.

The Dukes' home doubleheader against Longwood on Wednesday was canceled.