Dukes preparing for historic appearance at WCWS

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 6:03 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison softball team will make history later this week.

The Dukes are preparing for their first-ever appearance in the Women’s College World Series when JMU plays No. 1 seed Oklahoma Thursday at noon in the first game of the 2021 WCWS in Oklahoma City, OK. JMU advanced to the WCWS after winning the CAA title, Knoxville Regional, and defeating Missouri in a NCAA Super Regional.

“We don’t change our mindset,” said JMU head coach Loren LaPorte, when discussing the upcoming WCWS. “We had the same mentality going to Knoxville and Missouri and we are not intimidated and we need to play JMU softball.”

The Dukes are 39-2 overall during the 2021 season and just one of two unseeded teams (Georgia) still remaining in the bracket.

“The fact that they have actually made it to this point serves as not just a springboard but I think it’s a validation for us,” said JMU director of athletics Jeff Bourne. “It’s what we have talked about can be possible at James Madison.”

Twice before JMU was on the cusp of qualifying for the WCWS but the Dukes suffered losses in Super Regional play in 2016 and 2019. Now, James Madison will compete against some of the top programs in the country on the sport’s biggest stage.

“I look just head-to-toe, what this means to the athletic program at JMU,” said Bourne. “I mean, it’s one of the largest things that’s probably happened in our history.”

Thursday’s matchup between JMU and Oklahoma will be televised on ESPN. To see the full WCWS schedule, click here.

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