Phoenix team forfeits championship game because a girl is on the opposing team

Phoenix team forfeits championship game because a girl is on the opposing team

CREATED May 10, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- A championship baseball game is over  -- before a pitch was ever thrown.  A Phoenix team forfeited the game bcause a girl was on the roster. And it's stirring up a big controversy and is getting national attention.

Our Lady of Sorrows bowed out of the state championship Baseball game for this reason --

In a statement sent to KGUN9 -- an Our Lady of Sorrows officials said "Our school aims to instill in our boys -- a profound respect for women and girls" and "we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty."

The Arizona Charter Athletic Association allows girls to play on boys teams and executive director Randy Baum said Our Lady of Sorrows was respectful of that rule. They had earlier bowed out of a flag football tournament.

"What they said was we understand that there are girls so we are going to bow out of tournament before the brackets are announced and we're going to move forward and get ready for the next sports. And they were not seeded at all in the tournament," said Baum.

15-year-old Paige Sulzbach was added to Mesa Preparatory Academy's baseball roster later in the season. She agreed to sit out two games, but decided to play in the championship. So Baum called Our Lady of Sorrows.

"I called Jerry (the Athletic Director) that evening and Jerry said it might not work. He went to the admin, the biship, and they came back and said they're not going to play the game," said Baum.

The Arizona Charter Athletic Association says it's never had any problems with this issue -- all the schools have always been able to work out their differences and schedules.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association told KGUN9 that Mesa Preparatory Academy has signed up to play in their league next year -- so they will not meet up again. The associate executive director says if Our Lady of Sorrows ever applies for membership in their league -- it's likely that they would be denied approval.