PHOENIX (CBS Las Vegas) - The baseball teams of Mesa Preparatory Academy in Mesa, Ariz. and Our Lady of Sorrows Academy in Phoenix were all set to play one another in a championship showdown tonight – until the team from the latter school pulled out of the game.
The reason? Mesa Prep has a girl playing second base.
According to The Republic, freshman and second baseman Paige Sultzbach’s presence on the team was a point of contention for the team from the Catholic school.
The two teams have played one another before, and both times Mesa Prep came out on top. During the previous two games, Paige stayed off the field out of respect for the other team’s beliefs.
For the championship game, however, nothing would keep her off the diamond. As such, the religious team opted out of the game.
Paige’s mother, Pamela Sultzbach, told the paper that Paige and her teammates were notified of the decision Wednesday, during their after-school practice.
“This is not a contact sport, it shouldn’t be an issue,” she 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.”
Officials at Our Lady of Sorrows released a statement to The Republic saying that they would discuss the matter further “at the appropriate time.”
Paige reportedly went out for the team because her school does not offer a female softball team, and she did so with the coach’s encouragement and the support of her male teammates.