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Feature Photographs: LSU Eunice softball duo Maddie Leal, left, and Chloe Bennett, right, were named first-team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. (Photograph courtesy of LSUE – used with permission.)

EUNICE, La. – The postseason award haul continues for the LSU Eunice softball duo of Chloe Bennett and Maddie Leal as they have both been named first-team All-Americans by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, the organization announced for the weekend.  The pair are part of an 18-member first-team, one of six schools to have multiple recipients on the first team.

Leal was an outfielder selection while Bennett was tabbed as an at-large/pitcher nominee.  In total, there were 36 student-athletes awarded by the NFCA in the two All-American squads.

LSUE’s Mattie Leal at bat (Photograph courtesy of LSUE.)

The duo become the 19th and 20th players in LSUE softball history to earn first-team All-American recognition.  The Bengals have had 26 players total given an All-American distinction in the programs’ 17-year existence. 

The Houston, Texas native, Leal was an offensive and defensive ace for the Bengals, starting 55 games in centerfield.  Leal led LSUE in hits (77), doubles (19), batting average (.414), runs (53) and total bases (101).  She would field .973 on the season with 106 putouts and two assists.
Leal was a steady force in the Bengals’ lineup her two years on the Cajun Prairie.  The Southeastern Louisiana signee leaves the Cajun Prairie ranked 8th all-time in career batting average (.418), 4th in hits (154) and 6th in doubles (36).
Bennett enjoyed a breakout campaign as the Bengals ace in the circle as a freshman.  The Rosepine HS product went 23-10 with a 2.84 earned run average.  Bennett set a new single-season strikeout record at LSUE with 240 punchouts. 

Chloe Bennett (Photograph courtesy of LSUE.)

Her first game with LSUE would be a home no-hitter and her second start saw Bennett throw a perfect game.  It was one of two perfect games on the season for Bennett, also twirling a gem against Tyler JC in late April.
The pair were also named to both the NFCA and NJCAA All-Region teams.  Bennett was recognized on the NJCAA Softball National Tournament All-Tournament team.

This marks the second consecutive season LSUE has garnered first-team All-American honors under head coach Meghan Collins.  Olivia Hennen was a unanimous selection in 2021 as well as being named NFCA Catcher of the Year.

The All-American designation also makes it 11 straight season the Bengals have at least one first-team All-American on its roster.

The Bengals finished fifth in the 2022 NJCAA Softball National Tournament, the program’s 10th all-time appearance.  LSUE posted a 36-22 record in its third year under the direction of Collins.