JMU softball practice underway as Dukes prepare for 2020 season

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The James Madison softball team has begun preparations for the 2020 season.

The James Madison softball team has begun preparations for the 2020 season.

The Dukes were forced to practice inside Thursday due to wintry conditions in Harrisonburg. James Madison is again expected to compete for a CAA title and NCAA Tournament berth. JMU is already ranked in the Top 25 of multiple preseason polls.

However, the squad will be without superstar Megan Good who has moved on due to graduation. While Good is gone, the Dukes return an experienced and talented roster led by outfielder Kate Gordon and pitcher/infielder Odicci Alexander.

"I am really excited because I know people are saying we don't have Megan and stuff but we are still the same team," said Gordon. "We have all the other returners."

With the loss of Good to graduation and Payton Buresch via the transfer portal, the Dukes reloaded their pitching staff with a pair of incoming transfers. Kayla Boseman joins JMU from Mississippi State while Alexis Bermudez transferred to the Dukes from Bethune-Cookman. Sophomore Isabel Kelly will also compete for innings while Alexander will serve as the team's ace again in 2020.

JMU won't ease into the season. The Dukes open play in Florida at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational with games scheduled against Texas Tech, Kansas, Missouri, and South Carolina.

"With the schedule that we put together this year for them, going down to Clearwater playing three top-25 teams right off the gate, I think it kind of allows our team to be in that postseason feel right from the beginning," said JMU head coach Loren LaPorte.

The season opener is set for Friday, February 14 against Texas Tech.