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. Eddie

    Another perfect example of religion making things much harder than they need to be. Just think if it was 400 years ago they would have just burned her at the stake for being a witch.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. We'reNotAllThisCrazy

    I played high school football, for a CATHOLIC schoool, and my junior year, we played a team with a girl. She was legit, she could hold her own, and due to her performance, she gained everyone's respect. We had no problem with it. Paige – stay strong. Dear Catholic's a big church with a lot of varying opinions. Try to keep that in mind. Our Lady of Sorrows should be ashamed.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      You invalidate your own argument. Like you said it’s a big church. A church with a history oppression (especially against women). What makes your opinion any more valid than theirs?

      May 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. little tusko

    The Catholic church doesn't believe in equal opportunity. It is shameful that this has happened to children. But what is interesting is that these were charter schools that probably had recieved public money and or support, and as such should come under equal opportunity legislation.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • shogun

      So can I try out for the WNBA as a man?

      May 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ted delvin

      FYI, they do not get any public money.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve P.

    So glad I renounced my ties to Catholisism a long time ago. Its just plain embarassing. The Catholic church offers cover for pedophiles, but wants to take a stance on a girl playing a sport?

    May 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LookBeyond

    This is for all the posters who are trying to make their point about equality by trotting out the tired "well, men can't participate in women's sports" example. When you have gender based divisions in sports (pro or otherwise) and you use an example of a male player not being able to play in the female division you are just demonstrating a severe lack of functioning brain cells. It is called "women's" sports because the women who wanted to play the sport were denied access to it by the men who controlled it so they formed their "own" groups to play the same sport. Over time the gender division has been transformed to become rules for fair play and to deal with the issues of safety and modesty. However, to me, this article is more about the social stagnation of the Catholic Church (and most other orthodox religions) than with the pros and cons of having a mixed gender sports team.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dumb

    Just dumb.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. George Paige

    A sorry day for Our Lady of Sorrows. They should be ashamed in particular the individuals from this school who made this sorry decision. Sounds like something the Taliban would do. I have great respect for the Catholic church (as a former member) but no respect for the backward thinking and the decision makers at Our Lady of Sorrows.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bruce

    The team that was next in line behind the forfeit team should have been given the chance to play for the Championship then . I have played many sports against girls and let me tell you alot of them would put the guys to shame .

    May 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

    To the people blaming AZ for this.. you DO realize the other team.. with the girl … is ALSO from AZ. Morons.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. .....33......

    Dear Catholic Church,

    Please try to be more accepting, more giving, and more compassionate.
    It seems that you only think of your self and not the many others that form your body.
    Don't be afraid of change, embrace it. You are wounded, but you can get better and return to good health.
    Good works will follow.

    Be kind and loving,


    May 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dom

    Interesting read along with the 55+ pages of nonsense. Why can't we see that both schools were "right" in ther decision?

    Mesa Prep would have faced discrimination issues–so rather than shut down the male only sport that is doing well they permitted the young lady to play and still were near champions. Our Lady of Sorrows Academy forfeited based on whatever their principals were. It appears that both decisons were sound and instilled in the atheletes good sportsmanship. The only losers in all of this are the rabid fans and posters on this blog who don't even live in AZ.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nigel P

      Not 'near champions', they are the champions. It's not their problem that their opponents were from the C18th.

      May 16, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jaimon

    My high school football team played against a team with a girl kicker. She was leveled during a return but got right up and shook it off. I bet half the guy kickers in our division would have stayed down.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wine Guy

    As a former USMC line officer, a recovering Catholic,current "Old Boy" rugby player and PhD, a word of advice to Paige. Young lady, If you can pack it, hack it, and shoot it, go for it and don't let anything stand in your way. There will always be courageous people to stand by and with you.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ckoffend

    Not sure why everybody is castigating the Catholic School for standing by their codes. Sure, you may not like their code (understandable), but the fact that they are standing by them teaches their students something more important. Society seems to constantly be trying to force people to change their values? We have seen societies values as a whole diminish in many ways – for better or worse depends on one's opinions. But the fact that an organization refuses to drop their codes, values, and ethics just for a game is commendable – whether their code is commendable is subject to opinion. It's funny that BYU was complimented for kicking their star athlete off the team for the big tournament when he broke the code of conduct.

    What surprises me the most is the number of people that seem to place no importance on theirs or others values. Willing to drop their values just for a game. What does that really teach our children? Have morals, values, ethics . . . at least until they become inconvenient – then throw them out the window?

    May 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Like a proud mama

    Paige, I am so proud of you upon reading this article! I am a female medical student also living in Arizona, and although I am entering a profession that has been traditionally dominated by males, it is apparent that the gender stereotypes are changing. Now there are nearly as may females entering medical school as there are males, which is a huge contrast to the gender ratio 20, 30 years ago. Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot do something just because you are a girl!

    June 6, 2012 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
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