[AZ Central] All second baseman Paige Sultzbach wanted to do was play in her school’s state championship baseball game tonight. But because she is a girl, that won’t happen. Sultzbach is a freshman at Mesa Preparatory Academy, which had been scheduled to play Our Lady of Sorrows Academy in tonight’s Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship at Phoenix College. But Our Lady of Sorrows, a fundamentalist Catholic school in Phoenix that lost twice to Mesa Prep during the regular season, chose to forfeit the championship game rather than play a team fielding a female player. Our Lady of Sorrows school officials would not comment, but Sultzbach’s mother, Pamela Sultzbach, said her daughter and the rest of the team received the news after Wednesday afternoon’s practice. “This is not a contact sport, it shouldn’t be an issue,” Pamela said. “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.” During Mesa Prep’s two previous games with Our Lady of Sorrows, Paige didn’t play out of respect for the opposing team’s beliefs, but that wasn’t going to be an option this time, Pamela said. “We respected their school rule … but she took it hard,” Pamela said. “She didn’t like it and neither did her teammates. They went out and played the best they could because they wanted to prove a point.” Mesa Prep’s baseball team, which went undefeated in the regular season, has only 11 members, so having one sit out in a championship is a big deal, Arnold said. Besides, Sultzbach earned the right to play in the title game, she said. The two teams play in the seven-team 1A division of the ACAA. Mesa Prep won the Eastern Division by going 9-0 on the season, and Our Lady of Sorrows won the Western Division with a 6-3 record. This isn’t the first time the issue has come up. Our Lady of Sorrows pulled out of a flag football tournament before it began last October because some teams had female members, Baum said. Before the baseball season started, Our Lady of Sorrows asked all of its potential opponents if they had girls on their teams. At that point Mesa Preparatory did not — Sultzbach came on board later — so the religious school did not learn of her participation until the first time they played, Baum said. Baum said he wishes Mesa Prep had been more consistent in its policy rather than sitting her in the regular-season games and insisting she play in the state championship.
Good for Our Lady of Sorrows. Some things are more important than a high school championship – like, oh, dignity for starters. First of all, this picture speaks volumes. Paige, I wish you the best in life. I hope your babies are healthy and the kitchen you spend 50% of your adult life in is complete with marble floors, a granite center island and the finest of stainless steel appliances. But all I need is that picture to see Our Lady is right on the money. You don’t belong on that field. You’re absolutely terrified of that baseball. I’d love to see the 37 pics that weren’t used for this article that show you turning your head with your eyes closed and the ball ricocheting off your cheek. You’re an injury waiting to happen, especially in the championship. That’s pedal to the metal baseball. No one wants to have their adrenaline interrupted by the dead girl in shallow right-center with a baseball embedded in her face. Plus, Our Lady wants to beat the best. They want another shot at the 9-0 team responsible for 2 of their 3 regular-season losses. That team didn’t have you on it, honey. Quite frankly, it seems to me Mesa Prep is setting up Paige as the scapegoat in case they lose. “Oh, wow, you beat a co-ed team, congrats.” I mean she wasn’t even on the roster when the season started. Fuck that. Our Lady doesn’t want a hollow title. They don’t need Mesa Prep to take it easy on them. Mom isn’t helping any, either. Not a contact sport? Tell that to the kid who flips your daughter on her pretty little mug & knocks her chicklets out with a slide at second to break up a DP. Just make sure Paige has got her lipstick on and is ready to blow the cleanup hitter at the championship party.