Wave of support for girl in title game forfeiture

BY foxsports • May 14, 2012

Controversy struck last Thursday when Our Lady of Sorrows Academy in
Phoenix forfeited the Arizona Charter Athletic Association's 1A state
baseball championship to Mesa Preparatory Academy because of the
participation of 15-year-old Paige Sultzbach, Mesa Prep's female second
baseman. The story blew up, even becoming a major topic of discussion on
national radio and television outlets, with Our Lady of Sorrows taking
heavy criticism.

The firestorm has mostly blown over since, though, and the Monsoons received their championship trophy Thursday.

In
the aftermath of the controversy, Sultzbach's father, John, said the
family has received nothing but positive reactions from all over.

"It's been overwhelmingly supportive of her and the school," John Sultzbach said Monday. "It's been quite amazing, actually."

Sultzbach
said Mesa Prep athletic director Amy Arnold forwarded along countless
emails she received from those wishing to express their support for
Paige. They came from all corners of the U.S. and from Canada; one even
came from an all-girls school in Ireland.

Sultzbach also said he
got a call from a complete stranger living in New Mexico, a man who
expressed his support and also shock that such a situation would still
occur.

Our Lady of Sorrows forfeited the game because a parish
policy prohibits participation in co-ed athletics. The two teams had met
twice in the regular season, with Paige sitting out both games, but
when Mesa Prep's coach refused to let Paige sit out the championship,
Our Lady of Sorrows forfeited.

John Sultzbach commended Our Lady of Sorrows for standing by its beliefs but said he still doesn't agree with the policy.

"Initially
I was disappointed, not only for (Paige) and the team but for the other
team," Sultzbach said. "Both teams worked hard to get to where they
were."

The Sultzbach family hasn't been crazy about all the extra
attention that's come with the incident but so far hasn't encountered
any issues.

"So far, so good," Sultzbach said. "It's been
exciting and it's been surreal, just the phone calls you get and the
people on the other end, be it the person or the entity they're
representing. It's been crazy, but hopefully it's about run its course."


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