May 11th, 2012
07:49 AM ET

Baseball final forfeited because of girl at second base

The Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship baseball game wasn't played Thursday night because Mesa Prep's second baseman is a girl.

Paige Sultzbach, a freshman, is playing baseball because her high school doesn't offer girls softball. But the school Mesa Prep was to face in the final, Our Lady of Sorrows Academy, said its boys would not compete against a team with a girl and forfeited the game - and the state title - to Mesa Prep.

"As a Catholic school, we promote the ideal of forming and educating boys and girls separately during the adolescent years, especially in physical education,” Our Lady of Sorrows said in a statement, according to CNN affiliate KTVK.

“It takes tremendous moral courage to stand by what it is you believe, and they are doing what they think is right,” Mesa Prep Headmaster Robert Wagner told KTVK.

But Sultzbach's mother, Pamela Sultzbach, said her daughter and the Mesa Prep team were being done a disservice.

"This is not a contact sport. It shouldn't be an issue. It wasn't that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it's that (they believe) that a girl's place is not on a field," Pamela Sultzbach told the Arizona Republic.

"I respect their views, but it's a bit out of the 18th century," Amy Arnold, Mesa Prep's athletic director, told the Republic.

Mesa Prep and Our Lady of Sorrows played twice during the regular season, but Sultzbach sat out, as they were away games for her team.

“It was on their field, and I felt the need to respect their rules,” she told KTVK.

The final would have been on a neutral field, and Sultzbach wanted to play.

Now, despite being hailed as state champions, Mesa Prep will feel like they've missed something, Pamela Sultzbach said.

"This team has worked so hard," she said. "They're undefeated. They had one game left. At our school, we're taught that when you start something, you complete it, and they weren't done."

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Filed under: Arizona • Baseball • Sports
soundoff (1,403 Responses)

    $exism, thy name is Catholicism.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. RLGESQ1

    I admire their convictions to do what they think is right even if I don't agree with or understand their rationale.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • jikfive

      Why would you admire discrimination?

      May 11, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Like Rev. Phelps?

      I do not automatically admire people that stick to their guns. Some ideas are not valid.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Horus

    @joseph – actually there are studies that show segregation of boys and girls damages social function and promotes discrimination. What will you do when you leave your boys only group and have to deal with a female boss?

    May 11, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      @horus In my personal experience (attended all-boys high-school decades ago), I and all of my friends grew up to be successful, well-adjusted, content, and productive members of society. I've had several female bosses over the years, and have had no difficulty whatsoever with respect (actually had a great working relationship with them at all). Teachers are often of mixed-gender in these setting as well. The notion is to separate the hormonal teens from one-another so that they can learn and develop as individuals. This benefits both the boys and the girls.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. wa

    I am guessing that any man who respects this decision is also intimidated by women who make more $$$ than they do.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      @wa I am guessing that you have other shortcomings that make you such a fierce defender.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Stephen

    People do realize that their are different groups that run schools within the Catholic umbrealla, right? Jesuit, Black friars, Holy Cross, etc. Some of these organizations believe in seperating young men and women when they are being educated in order for them to be able to focus on school and not looking pretty/cool/funny, etc. The school just see the athletic field as a classroom. As their education philosophy is based on seperate education for men and women, they feel this is against what they are trying to promote as a school. This has absolutely nothing to do with the catholic church not likinig girls. Generally, for each all males catholic school the is a sister all female school that has equal status, education opportunities, etc.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      I am pretty sure that we already have a good historical perspective on "separate but equal".

      May 11, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike M

    Pretty smooth. It sends a statement to all those schools who think girls and boys should play on the same team. It says: we will let you win, but it won't count.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    They were obviously afraid they would lose anyway.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. Votarus4

    Our Lady of Sorrow ... ? Really? You can't make this stuff up!

    Apparently, that's the school's goal as well. Sorrowful women. Make 'em feel "less than." They made their point very clear.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. wa

    @SadState... Very well stated!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. seriously???

    I see no harm, no foul here with the school's decision to forfeit. That was their right. What I do see as seriously wrong is how people are so quick to condemn when someone's view differs from their view. If there was a wrong here, educate as to how, don't just simply try to bully your ideas into the picture.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. rika33

    Why can't men compete on womens teams? Why not just have one team with the best players...or would that not be statistically representative?

    May 11, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bob Loblaw

    It's a freaking sport. Who cares that a girl is playing on the team. If she's good, she earned her spot on the team. I see it from both sides...if a guy wanted to play softball on a girls team would he be allowed to play? Probably not. But still, what a redneck and childish way for the Catholic school to act.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. kdb

    Yes, it takes remarkable moral courage to discriminate against girls. It's so rare.

    The Catholic Church: molesting children is OK but boys refusing to play baseball with a girl is "moral courage".

    May 11, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    "Lady of Sorrows" is a telling name.

    They were probably afraid to be beaten by a girl.
    Oh, and newsflash. The earth is neither flat nor at the center of the universe.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Thorne

    Hmmm. While I make think their reasoning is ridiculous, I will give them props for sticking to their convictions. Who I think should be applauded here is Paige Sultzbach and her coaches for NOT benching her just so the other team would play. They could have and it would have been very wrong. If she's just a Freshman, I wonder if they're just going to have to deal with the fact that she is most likely going to be around for another three years. Oh the horror.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
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