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. Shmeckell

    Easy win

    May 11, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kate

    Paige, you are an incredible young lady! Of course you would want to play on the baseball team if there was no softball option for the girls.I thought it showed great maturity that you sat out the season games played on their field – even though you didn't have to, it was an act of grace. It is absolutely ridiculous that they wouldn't play you in the state tournament and show you a similar form of respect. Like your mom said, this is not a contact sport! Keep your head high, the championship truly belongs to your team.

    May 11, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff

    And also, unless the district allows men on the women's teams when there isn't an equivalent men's team, I don't agree with allowing her to play at all.

    May 11, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ed Duncza

    As a parent of children attending Catholic schools who participate in sports, I wonder where the principal and the parish priest are in this issue? This is just wrong. The girl has earned her spot on the team and this should be a non-issue. I feel bad for the kids on both teams but especially bad for the children of Our Lady of Sorrows Academy. They earned the right to play for the championship which is a opportunity that does not come along aften and they are denied the opportunity due to made up rules that do not exist in Catholic schools.

    May 11, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake Petrjanos


      This is not a Roman Catholic School. CNN has failed to mention that Our Lady of Sorrows Academy is a Society of St. Pius X (AKA Lefebvrians) school not a Roman Catholic School. The Society of St. Pius X is a Catholic separatist group who’s congregation believes that they are Catholic however they are not currently recognized as a Catholic organization by Rome. There are ongoing talks between Lefebvrians and the Vatican about reconciliation but those talks have caused a riff among the leadership within the Society of St. Pius X.

      The fact that CNN would fail to mention The Society of St Pius X within the article is the equivalent of leaving out the word radical in front of Muslims when describing the attacks on September 11, 2001.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. citizenUSA

    Wow! Shows you how religion seperates us from being one big happy conglomeration of human beings. Good thing she's just some blonde white girl. Is that what Jesus would have done?

    May 11, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. JW

    My response to this article is...

    Boy the way Glen Miller played
    Songs that made the hit parade.
    Guys like us we had it made,
    Those were the days.

    And you knew who you were then,
    Girls were girls and men were men,
    Mister we could use a man
    Like Herbert Hoover again.

    Didn't need no welfare state,
    Everybody pulled his weight.
    Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
    Those were the days.

    May 11, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Horus

    @Jeff – can you point to a time where a boy was denied such an option?

    May 11, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sapient Consulting, LLC

    Let me get this straight. They refused to go to second base with a girl? Bwhahahaha!!!!

    May 11, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. ladyfonseca

    It's because they would have been embarrassed by losing to a girl.

    May 11, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Such a stupid ruling! Are we truly a democracy where we are free to be who we're and where we can realize our dreams? And if this is truly a safety ruling, then what about Danica Patrick? She is one of the greatest racers in the sport of NASCA which is a male dominated professional sport and she dandles herself very well with all the big boys! And don't tell me that this ruling is based on religious grounds because don't catholic women and men conceive and have children and don't catholic women raise boys? So whats with the silly gender issue here! Hey, let the dam girl play ball!

    May 11, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. Keith

    Scared of girls, I guess. Those young men should keep that in mind women are going to be ahead of them the rest of their lives.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    I don't see a problem as long as it's not a contact sport. If this were something else I would agree with their decisions.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sarge1

    To the person who says that people should be more concerned that they do not offer all a all female team at the school. Ever thought that maybe they do not have enough interested females to field a team. This isn't a public school with tons of students, it's a private school

    May 11, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Just Sayin'

    This young lady was a gracious player and a true sportsperson. She bowed out of playing on the Catholic teams home field out of respect for their traditions. They could have met her half way and played in the championship game on a neutral field and chose not to. I feel badly for the players who had to forfeit, but she is a class act!

    May 11, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. David

    I don't think they wanted to take the chance of losing to a team with a girl on it. The coach needs a little schooling on sportsmanship.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
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