May 28, 2014

RIDGEFIELD — Gavin Salazar will be the first to admit that facing the cleanup hitter with the tying runs on base in a state tournament game was the last place he likes to be.

But getting out of it has to be the greatest feeling in the world.

Salazar ended the game on a strikeout with the tying runs in scoring position to lock up third-seeded Ridgefield’s 3-1 victory over seventh-seeded Emerson in a North 1, Group 1 semifinal on Tuesday. Ridgefield will host fifth-seeded Cedar Grove, a 4-3 winner over Cresskill in eight innings, in Friday’s sectional final.

“I wouldn’t say I like it,” said the senior, who also started on the Royals’ state sectional championship team in 2012. “But it’s my job to try to get it done.”

“He’s got the moxie, and he wants the ball,” Ridgefield coach Joe Gambardella said of his senior right-hander. “He’s closed every one of these [state] games so far.”

Ridgefield’s win came in the final state tournament appearance for Emerson’s longtime coach Bob Carcich, who is retiring after 27 years and more than 500 victories as the Cavos’ coach.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/high-school-sports/boys-baseball/salazar-is-clutch-for-ridgefield-1.1024435#sthash.pkZpsDtl.dpuf