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A High-School Baseball Team Forfeited The Championship Game Rather Than Play Against A Girl

"Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls." Strange way to show it.

Carlos Chavez / AP

Well, this is messed up.

Arizona high school Our Lady of Sorrows Academy — run by the Society of St. Pius X, a pre-Vatican II sect of Catholicism that is unrecognized by the Church — forfeited the Arizona Charter Athletic Associaton High School Baseball League championship game rather than face Mesa Preparatory Academy and their female second-baseman, 15-year-old Paige Sultzbach.

Our Lady of Sorrows' press release says:

This decision is pursuant to school policy which rules out participation in co-ed sports.This policy is consistent with the traditional approach to education. 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 school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls. Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty.

Aside from how leading boys to believe that women shouldn't be allowed to participate in the same activities as them is the opposite of teaching a profound respect for women and girls, the decision makes even less sense considering the nature of baseball.

Sultzbach's mother Pamela told the Arizona Republic, "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."

Paige sat out the two previous games against Our Lady of Sorrows, but Mesa Prep, with only 11 players, needed her in the championship. The team went undefeated in the regular season in the seven-team 1A division of the Arizona Charter Athletic Association.

Despite the insanity of the situation, Paige seems to be handling it with class; she told the Republic, "I felt like any passionate athletic person would feel (in that situation). I don't want our very first high-school baseball team to win the championship on a forfeit."