State of JMU: Softball
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Our annual State of JMU series takes a look at the James Madison softball program.
The Dukes have experienced some of the highest and lowest emotions possible over the last few seasons. JMU softball became a national sensation in 2021 when the Dukes advanced to the Women’s College World Series and became the first unseeded team to move on to the national semifinals.
However, in 2022, JMU struggled at times and finished with a .500 record at 21-21 overall. The final nines games of the season were cancelled after the tragic death of starting catcher Lauren Bernett, a key member of the WCWS team. Bernett’s death shocked the entire college sports world and continued to shine a light on the importance of mental health.
“Well it was a difficult time and those don’t go away quickly,” said JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne. “It takes a little while. I think the staff is doing a good job working with the young women on our team. I think they are doing a good job supporting one another.”
Bourne added: “We’ve gotta go back and start building the blocks and putting it back together again. The good thing is we have some really talented young women on that team. We have a talented staff. You merge those with resources, positive things happen.”
James Madison is preparing to play in a Sun Belt softball league that in considered be to a significant step up in competition from the Dukes previous conference, the CAA.
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