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. Bailey

    the team that forfeited had already been beaten twice without the girl playing...they were likely going to lose with the girl playing or's a sad way to chicken out and make someone else feel bad because they're a bunch of losers. It's terrible what they put on that young girl's back...what morality is there when you do that to a child? Lady of the Sorrowful bunch of losers should be sorry for a long long time. booo you religious freaks

    May 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike fromCalgary

    Kudos to Mesa Prep Headmaster Robert Wagner for his wisdom, tact and polish in handling this matter. His grace and temperment evidence that he is indeed a CLASS ACT!

    May 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hobbits

    I miss the good old days when we simply rounded up Christians and fed them to the lions. Those were the best days!

    May 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alex

    Apparently some people still have deeply ingrained beliefs about cooties, and are trying to shield their precious boys from catching them at the tender age of under 21. Those kids are going to be in for a shock or three when they finally get around a woman day-to-day for an entire month- especially after not even being able to throw a baseball in a girl's direction for their entire adolescence. They'll probably be scarred for life.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cj

      Would you expect anything less out of such a tolerant state like Arizona?

      May 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      It has nothing to do with "cooties". They have a belief. It is refreshing to see anyone stand firm on their belief system. You may not agree but you should atleast be respectful.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. taurran

    If you all REALLY believe in equality, you'd let males play in female softball leagues. Not fair, you say? WHY NOT? You're only truly suggesting that women are inferior athletes if you support the double standard of women in men's leagues, but not men in women's leagues. Stop being hypocrites, and open your damn eyes. Men and women are in fact, physically and mentally different.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      Taurran is right – it's not about equality, it's about human nature.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hollow bell ringing

      I get what you're trying to say, but it rings hollow to me. The only reason "girls" softball exists is because of the physical advantage boys "generally" have in athletics, but much as a boy who is of Freshman/JV age, but good enough to play on the varsity will, so too should a girl be allowed to play with the boys if she is good enough. What's wrong with that? It's not about apples to apples equality so much as it is equality of opportunity.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • jannajoy

      Sure, boys can play on the girls' softball team, the day there is a women's softball team and not a boys baseball team at the school. Of course men and women are different. Guys have an edge athletically, it's true (coming from a female athlete here) But if a young woman is good enough to make the men's baseball team, then let her play.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • edward

      this is different since her school didn't offer softball.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      Hollow bell and Janna joy – you do have a strong argument, (if she is good enough, let her play). That was the argument I used years ago when a girl tried out for my JV baseball team at a Catholic HS. The varsity coached nixed it, using the argument that the spot I was using for the last boy I would be cutting was an issue, because the head coach believed that the 9th grade boy would be better than her in a year or so when he passed her up based on his strength. Interesting debate.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karlx9

      Did you read the article? They DON'T HAVE a girl's team. Please quit being ignorant.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. calvin

    In a year or two they will be begging her to play with them

    May 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bluebird

    This school is not Catholic. Come on CNN... do a little research before you allow something like this to be posted with your good name. The Catholic church has not acknowledged their "catholicness" for over 40 years.

    Pope Benedict XVI has declared that, for doctrinal rather than disciplinary reasons, the SSPX has no canonical status in the Catholic Church and, because of that lack of canonical status, the ministries exercised by its ministers are not legitimate in the Church. However, the society maintains that the Holy See is pursuing a two-pronged policy (an official de jure policy contradicted by de facto actions) and that the Holy Father has taken concrete actions that run contrary to the written statement, oftentimes recognizing the legal and valid existence and ministry of the Society priests.

    Tensions between the society and the Holy See reached their height in 1988, when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops against the orders of Pope John Paul II, resulting in a declaration of excommunication against the bishops who consecrated or were consecrated, an excommunication remitted for those still alive in January 2009. with a hope expressed that all members of the society would quickly return to full communion.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      They say they are Catholic, and after this, I believe them. Welcome to America, where the Pope isn't the final authority.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • blessings

      Thanks for the explanation about this order school. Was perplexed as a Catholic and couldn't make heads or tails from what the "school officials" were saying that it was a Catholic thing to keep boy and girls separated. All six Catholic schools in our diocese are co-ed. There are no girls playing in any team but, I don' t know that any girls wanting to play sports with boys has not been allowed to do so.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mouse

      Did you actually read the article? Or do you simply lack reading comprehension? Perhaps English is not your native language; I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and educate you a bit.

      Never in this article did "CNN" state that Our Lady of Sorrows Academy is a "Catholic school".

      "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."

      The school is calling itself Catholic. If you have an issue with that, take it up with the school officials, not CNN.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Stephen

    Good for this young lady, her teammates, coaches, and their school. As to the Catholic school, this was really a no-brainer, and ended up as a loss for all over their misguided sense of pride - I agree with the "boneheaded adults" comment below.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sy2502

    When you see something completely ridiculous happen, you can trust 99% of the times religion is involved.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. erik60505

    Proof once again satan created religion to ensure there can never be peace.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Seth

    The team was undefeated. Are we sure they weren't just afraid of getting their asses handed to them?

    May 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      "Are we sure they weren't just afraid of getting their asses handed to them?" I think about 80% of the people who read this are thinking what you just said. Fire that coach, and use real fire.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maggie

    What are these guys afraid of? Are they afraid she"s better than they are? How Little Boyish . They should be Ashamed of themselves. Waaa , Waaa. Mommy there"s a girl on the other team. 😉

    May 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Oregon

    More gender intolerance from religious organization? I shocked.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Really?

    I'm pretty sure this is the premise of the movie She's the Man starring Amanda Bynes...only it was soccer, not baseball.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Susan

    Arizona again? What the hell is going on there? I don't know how any reasonable people can continue to live in that bass-ackwards state. Too bad it can't fall into the ocean.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
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