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Morning Express with Robin Meade

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Catholic school: Play against a girl? We forfeit!

  • Paige Sultzbach plays second base for Mesa Prep
  • Arizona school does not offer women's softball
  • Opponent believes in educating boys, girls separately

The boys' baseball team at a Catholic school in Phoenix refused to participate in the state finals because a girl plays on the opposing team.  That school says it doesn't want any part of co-ed sports. 

Freshman Paige Sultzbach is good enough to play second base on the varsity team at Mesa Prep.  She grew up playing softball, but when she got to high school, she didn't have a choice because Mesa Prep does not have a girls softball team.  So she went out and made the boys team.  But when Paige and Mesa Prep got to the state finals, Our Lady of Sorrows, a fundamentalist Catholic School, refused to play a team with a girl on it. 

"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 HLN affiliate KTVK

“I respect their views, but it's a bit out of the 18th century," Amy Arnold, Mesa Prep's athletic director, told the Arizona Republic.  

So Paige and her Mesa Prep team won the state title by forfeit, not the way they wanted to capture the crown, according to Paige’s mom. "This team has worked so hard," Pamela Sultzbach told the Arizona Republic. "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."  

Interesting note:  Paige sat out both of the games Mesa Prep played against Our Lady of Sorrows during the regular season, because the games were played on Our Lady of Sorrows' home field.  She said she wanted to respect their wishes. But the state championship was on a neutral field, and Paige wasn't about to sit that one out!

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