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)
  1. Norm

    We have Talibans in the USA they are ultra orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims. Good that they lost the game, that told those children a lesson: be a religious zealot and you'll never win.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Hannah

    Wow, Arizona in the news again. Our sheriff is being sued, Tucson sheriff is hitting on young men on the internet and posting it all over, now decides not to run for congress; duh! Our legislature is out of control and now this. And it is not good news for Arizona. I don't know why anyone would come to live here with the wacky politics going on.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. pjc145

    I can only say that I would never even think of sending my kids, who attend a Christian Academy currently, to an antiquated backward thinking Catholic school like this. Great bumper sticker the other day "Great women of history were rarely well behaved". How do you think the girls that attend Our Lady of Sorrows feel, oh ladies you will never be equal to the men that come to school here? I would pull my kids so fast the Priests wouldn't know what hit them.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Cielo

      I got the impression that it's an all boy school. STILL having the RC church ALWAYS treat women like dirt gets OLD. No wonder they are losing members.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    Get out your church bashing bats and your pitchforks. SMH. Let the judgement from all of you that know better....begin. One could give a lifelong demonstration on hypocricy using your postings. You demand tolerance and give none.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Cielo

      By tolerating INTOLERANCE we allow INJUSTICE to exist.No, I will call out this stupidity as I see it. I am NOT tolerant of ANYONE that belittles, humiliates, excludes, demonizes or in any way devalues another human being and ESPECIALLY for something as basic as GENDER!! You should tolerate OTHER ways where people ARE valued and that is proper use of tolerance. But one should never tolerate degrading another person. NEVER.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Horus

    @joseph – anecdotal experience does not equate to qualified research. I went to public school, where all my classes were mixed...we even had black people (oh my). Not only am I a productive member of society, but I employ 43 people. Does that make the case for mixed classes? No more than yours....

    May 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. USA

    How pathetic! I played little league baseball with boys until I was 14 and had to play softball in high school and I never liked softball as well as baseball. Girls baseball programs should replace girls softball in high school athletics.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ron

    The Catholic church continues to show its true colors regarding women. No women priests. The nuns are under attack. They have now started an official investigation of the Girl Scouts. They won't allow their boys to play against a girl. Yep, Catholic women belong pregnant and in the kitchen. When are Catholic women going to leave and let the church crumble under its own weight of misogyny?

    May 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. RWS

    Our kids go to a Catholic school and our soccer teams and cross country teams are co-ed. This must be an issue with the particular school, as it is not a mandate of the church, or our diocese.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Stephen

    It is funny that people are so quick to condemn the Cathoilc church on theissue of sepereate learning enviornments for men and women when the best prep schools in the country are almost all non denominational all male or all female prep schools.
    The school is not saying men and women should never interact just that men/women can focus better on academics and learn more (the whole purpose of school to begin with) seperate. The school is convicted to this belief, as such they deem it inappropriate to play coed sports. As they see the field as a place where young men learn valuable life lessons just as they do in the classroom.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      They can opt for any educational style they care to. But participating in a league that allows female players, and then refusing to play against teams with women is a different matter. They can choose how to run their team, but they don't get to demand that other teams in the league conform to their rules.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      However, this isn't a learning environment. It's sports. It's a voluntary extra-curricular activity. Does the Catholic church really believe that these boys can't function on the field if there is 1 girl out there?

      May 11, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rynomite

    I don't understand this. You see where high school guys will forfeit to girls in wrestling, and that I can understand. I remember my teen age hormones and nothing would have been a worse set up for embarrasment than having to wrestle a girl in public. But refusing to play a team sport with little to no contact? These kids are silly.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nick

    I know that there are some women who blindly believe we should be treated equal. The truth is that this is a lose lose situation for the boys team. Win and you beat a girl, lose and you lost to a girl, not to mention the affects on your head of having a girl in the field. When your in a game its more mental than physical. I think this girl is selfish.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Dixie

      How is the girl being selfish? When her team played on their field (twice) she sat out both times and didn't whine to media or lodge a complaint. It is only news now because the other team (on a neutral site) is making it an issue by refusing to allow it's players to compete against her. Selfish is trying to impose your beliefs on others. She isn't forcing them to play–they are choosing to be quitters.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    The Catholic Church is excercising their "religious freedom" all over the place! First they wont allow insurance to cover contraceptives for female emloyees (but they Will allow coverage of Viagara for the men, which is kinda ironic), now they forfeit a baseball game because boys can't mix w/girls! I get the sense that the Church doesn't think very highly of us regular women, who aren't nuns, saints or the Mother of God! It's also too bad " religious freedom" seems to include shuffling pedophiliac priests around from city to county, instead of sending them to prison, where they belong! I'd say that issue should take precedence over this type of fake piousness!!

    May 11, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • VEK

      You might have missed it, but apparently the Church no longer respects its nuns, either.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. Rbnlegnd

    If the league rules allow for a female player on a team, any team which wishes to participate in the league should be prepared to play under those rules. If this team is not prepared to face a team with a legal and approved roster, they should not participate in the league. It just doesn't make sense to show up, and then tell the opposition "we won't play against this player" regardless of your reasons. It may be a great reason, it may be terrible, but if you need some special accomodation to the rules, the time to discuss that is before the season starts, not just before the championship game.

    This is sort of like some other situations where people want to be able to only follow some of the rules and participate in part of the activity, due to religious convictions. If there's a reasonable accomodation that can be agreed on, in advance, that's great, but if not, you and your faith need to find another league.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • kdb

      Point well-taken.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Cielo

      You are EXACTLY right! Some accomodations, like time of a game that might interfere with religious observance is fine to accomodate. But to forfeit because you think girls a icky is NOT an acceptable accomodation. LOSERS in more than just a game.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Arpad

    "I respect their views, but it's a bit out of the 18th century," Baseball wasn't invented until the 19th century. Baseball is for men, not for women. This country is shot.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      How is baseball for men, not women? It's not a contact sport. It doesn't require that participants be able to write their name in the snow. The uniform is modest and appropriate. There are differences between the average man and the average woman, but athletes are not average men and women, and her ability to perform as a member of the team is clear, based on the fact that her team made it to the championship game.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • samuraikatana1

      I'm sorry, I wasn't aware it was up to you to determine who was allowed to play a specific sport. Oh wait that's right, it isn't. Do us all a favor and go back down whatever hole you crawled out of.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      With gnattering nabobs of negativism like you, yes.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Terry

    Would they have forfeited if it had been a chess game?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
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