Cicero An undefeated season and a run to the Section III Class B championship nearly got derailed for the Solvay softball team in the same round where it fell a season ago.
The difference this time was that the Bearcats reached down deep and, making two different comebacks, upended General Brown 5-4 in Thursday night's Class B semifinal at the Gillette Road complex in Cicero.
For Solvay, it was a nervous occasion right until the moment Shanen Sullivan dashed across the plate with the winning run on Sydney Cimini's groundout in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Only then could the Bearcats exhale and look ahead to Saturday's championship game at Syracuse University against no. 6 seed Holland Patent, who ended the sectional run of no. 7 seed Marcellus with a 3-0 shutout in the other semifinal at Gillette.
The tension of that game paled next to what took place earlier in the evening. Solvay, the top seed, was put in a position it had never faced all season against General Brown, a no. 4 seed fortified by the tough competition it faced in the Frontier League.
Immediately, the Lions got to Jackie Gardner for two runs in the top of the first, the key blow a long double from Hope VanBrocklin that nearly got over the fence.
Through the first four innings, it remained 2-0, Solvay getting runners on base against GB pitcher Katie Pitkin, but unable to convert. And it got worse when, in the top of the fifth, the Lions tacked on a run to make it 3-0.
It looked like Pitkin would do exactly what CBA's Jordan Sheridan had done in the 2012 sectional semifinals and contain Solvay enough to produce an upset. Just in time, though, the Bearcats would break through in the bottom of the fifth.