McLean Softball Team

In Little League Final

* For the second year in a row, an all-star softball team from McLean has advanced to the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon.

The Northern Virginia girls, ages 11 and 12, are the South Region champs and will face Orange, Connecticut, representing the East Region, in tonight's championship matchup. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 starting at 9:30 p.m. (Eastern time).

McLean, which has a record of 12 wins and 2 losses, made it to the title game with a 4-0 win over Evangeline (Louisiana) on Tuesday. Jamie Bell, the only McLean player returning from last year's tournament runner-up team, pitched a two-hit shutout.

The 32nd annual Little League Softball World Series began July 1 in Europe. Overall, more than 3,000 teams took part, advancing through local and regional tournaments. Ten teams made it to the final round in Portland.

McLean lost to Waco, Texas, in last year's World Series. Waco's Midway Little League has won 11 of the last 13 softball championships, but this year was eliminated in regional play.

A Different View of Africa

* After seven months spent flying low over Africa with a camera that snapped a photo every 20 seconds, conservationist J. Michael Fay has a mixed view of what's happening on the diverse continent.

On the plus side, Fay saw large migrations of blue wildebeest and zebra that he said indicate a healthy ecosystem. On the other hand, some types of antelope and other mammals that once thrived in the Sahara have nearly disappeared.

Fay's bird's-eye journey covered 70,000 miles and 21 countries. His trip was described to reporters yesterday at the National Geographic Society, which sponsored the project with the Wildlife Conservation Society. Fay hopes his information will help form a plan to preserve Africa's natural riches.

Pitcher Jamie Bell and McLean have reached the Little League World Series final.A herd of black lechwe dot the flood plains of Banguela Swamps in Zambia.