An inspired run to last spring's Section III Class B championship game and a large returning cast has the Solvay softball team nursing grand notions for the 2012 season.
And it started well for the Bearcats, who turned to its bats late in Friday's opener to beat Bishop Ludden by a score of 4-1.
Most of Solvay's lineup is back from 2011, where it rose from a no. 6 seed and, with wins over Ilion, Cazenovia and Canastota, reached the finals before Adirondack, by a 9-4 margin, kept the Bearcats one win short of a sectional banner.
By the same token, the Gaelic Knights, who fell in last year's Class C-1 semifinal to eventual champion South Lewis, also has a lot of veteran faces in its lineup, chief among them Korey Kibling, who took to the pitcher's circle to oppose Solvay's Julie Gardner.
Through three innings, it remained 0-0, but in the top of the fourth Ludden inched in front 1-0 as Aubrie Murray's single drove home Kibling. Between them, Murray and Kibling managed the only hits against Gardner, who struck out five and walked just one.
Kibling kept Solvay off the board until the bottom of the fifth. The Bearcats tied it, 1-1, and moved ahead with a three-run outburst in the sixth.
Chelsie Delperuto's solo home run highlighted the comeback. Nicole Groth's single drove in two more runs, while Nicole Antonacci managed two hits and one RBI. Taylor Guinta and Brenna Poli scored runs.
Solvay gets another big test next Wednesday, when it hosts Westhill after a Monday visit to Hannibal.