Loudoun County's softball team managed to fly under the radar for most of this season, a situation that first-year coach Richard Pell didn't fight one bit.

"When people aren't talking about you . . . it sometimes makes it a little easier to get all the kinks worked out," Pell said. "And now, just like we had hoped, we're playing our best ball of the year. It's awesome because the best part is that everybody is contributing. It's not one or two players doing it. We've had great pitching [from junior Sam Conner] and every game we're hitting 7, 8 or 9 deep."

The result is a six-game win streak headed into today's regular season finale against No. 3 Loudoun Valley and the team's first appearance in the rankings this season. Last week the Raiders posted wins over No. 8 Park View and then-No. 10 Broad Run to secure a second-place finish in the highly competitive AA Dulles District.

"We play in such a tough district that it was easy for us to get a little lost, I guess," said senior second baseman Whitney Knudsen, who will play next season at UNC Wilmington. "We knew we could play ball, but maybe it was good for us to go out there every game having everything to prove."

-- Angela Watts