Joe Gambardella, Ridgefield
It took Ridgefield baseball coach Joe Gambardella slightly longer than usual earlier this month to overcome the disappointment that accompanies the end of a Royals baseball season.
Gambardella expected his team to reach the state Group 1 final for a second straight season, but Emerson edged the Royals, 8-6, in the Group 1 semifinals. Gambardella, The Record Baseball Coach of the Year, ultimately realized, though, that this was another special season for Ridgefield.
The Royals (22-10) defeated Weehawken, 3-2, to win the North 2, Group 1 championship May 29. They defeated their three previous postseason opponents by a combined 26-1 on their way to the sectional final.
Beating Weehawken earned Ridgefield its third sectional title in four seasons. Before 2012, Ridgefield hadn’t won a sectional crown since 1970.