HARRISONBURG, VA - The James Madison University Softball Team trains year round to perform at an elite level on the field each spring season. Considering the success the team has achieved on the field, the Dukes’ training regimen seems to be very effective. In fact, the JMU Softball Team is currently ranked #17 in the country and #1 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The team has also accumulated a variety of conference championships:

  • CAA Champions (regular season): 2007 (tied), 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018

  • CAA Conference Tournament Champions: 2009, 2014, 2016, and 2017.

  • NCAA Regional Champions: 2016

The championships and team wins are important to the program; nonetheless, Coach Loren LaPorte and Coach Jennifer Herzig are more concerned with their athletes’ success off the playing field. Instilling the importance of winning off the field is something Coach LaPorte and Coach Herzig stress daily. The coaches instill the importance of commitment, dedication, determination, and work ethic into their scholar-athletes so they can find success in all facets of life. One way they champion the importance of life values is by way of community service. The team is actively engaged in several community service projects throughout the year. Giving back to the community is a way the team can utilize their privileged gifts to enhance others’ lives, experience empathy and gratitude, directly apply their academic disciplines into their advocacy work, and share meaningful success with their fellow teammates, which builds a special team bond. When James Madison University’s Strength & Conditioning Coordinator, Christian Carter, introduced the coaches to the Muscle Movement Foundation (MMF) in 2017, the JMU Softball team was thrilled to add the fight against neuromuscular disease to their “must-do list”.


The James Madison University Softball Team began their journey with the Muscle Movement Foundation (MMF) in 2017. Coach Christian Carter introduced the MMF to the JMU Softball Team through the team’s winter strength and conditioning training. He organized the JMU Softball StrongWoman Competition - a week of maximum effort strength lifts that are dedicated to the MMF and families who lose their ability to walk, talk, swallow, and breathe due to muscle disease. In 2017, the team raised over $3,500 to provide life-changing accommodations to families who are affected by neuromuscular disease. The team’s fundraising efforts successfully provided a local MMF Muscle Champion - an individual living with, and defying the odds against, neuromuscular disease - financial support to ease the financial burden created by a diagnosis. This past winter, the team raised their fundraising goal to $4,000 and were determined to surpass it. To no surprise, the team surpassed their goal and raised over $4,500 to help provide physical, financial, and emotional accommodations to families who are affected by muscle disease.

“We dedicate our StrongWoman competition each year to the men, women, and children affected by neuromuscular diseases to make the statement that they are not alone. We want to be an inspiration to them through our movements, actions, and physical strength, while we draw inspiration from them through their mental and emotional strength.”

-Coach Jennifer Herzig

Shortly after the 2018 StrongWoman competition, the James Madison University Athletic Department invited MMF Founder, Rob DeMasi, to speak at a coach’s meeting about the softball team’s involvement, the importance of community service, and the MMF message. Rob DeMasi shared his personal athletic accomplishments and amazing survivor story in defying the odds against myasthenia gravis (MG); a neuromuscular autoimmune disease. Coach Christian Carter, Coach Loren LaPorte, Coach Jennifer Herzig, and Rob DeMasi hope to continue to inspire involvement throughout the JMU Community!


Rob DeMasi will return to campus tomorrow, Saturday, April 12th, 2019 to throw out the first pitch of the JMU Softball Game versus University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). He explains the honor to throw out the first pitch as follows:

“There have been periods in my life where I could not walk…I could not swallow food or water…I would become extremely fatigued by completing basic daily tasks…And have experienced severe trouble in breathing for days on-end. These symptoms were due to myasthenia gravis (MG) and periods of exacerbation. Having the honor to throw out the first pitch is something I take pride in. It is a special symbol. A symbol for overcoming adversity…Overcoming weakness, paralysis, and fatigue…A symbol that demonstrates the true strength of my fellow MMF Muscle Champions. Through the encouragement of other individuals living with muscle disease, my family, friends, and community, I have been inspired to never give up and defy the odds in living with muscle disease. I am so thankful for this encouragement and want to ensure this encouragement and support is available to every family fighting muscle disease in our country. This is why I created the MMF, and why I will be throwing a fastball with strength tomorrow morning!” -Rob DeMasi

Flyers will be distributed at the game and announcements will be made to honor the over one million Americans who are fighting muscle disease, and raise awareness and support to transform hope into reality! We welcome you in adding to the JMU Softball Team’s efforts to “Strikeout Muscle Disease” by making a secure donation to their team’s Muscle Movement Fdn. page (ID #: 46-0554462):


The JMU Softball Team currently sits in second place in the Muscle Movement Foundation’s Charity of Champions National Campaign. Click here to learn more about the MMF’s Charity of Champions Program.

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