Paige Sultzbach isn't bigger, better or more intimidating than any other female high school student in America.
Besides the fact that she's an extremely talented baseball player, she's just your average 15-year-old girl.
But that didn't stop Our Lady of Sorrows Men's high school baseball team from refusing to play Mesa Preparatory Academy's Men's team, which lists Sultzbach on the roster, in Thursday's scheduled Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship game.
While the 15-year-old agreed to sit out a pair of regular season victories over Our Lady of Sorrows, Sultzbach wasn't willing to stay glued to the bench for the state championship game.
It's unfortunate, Sultzbach's father, John, told FoxNews.com. We hadn't anticipated coming across that. I think it's sad.
Paige described the forfeiture to Fox News as a little bittersweet, despite the championship team ending the season with a flawless record of 11-0.
She's glad that they are the state champions, and she's happy the way her school and her teammates stood behind her, John Sultzbach continued. But she wanted to play.
an Our Lady of Sorrows official spoke said to Fox News in a statement that the school had no choice but to forfeit because it has a strict policy prohibiting participation in co-ed athletics and believes in forming and educating boys and girls separately.
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, the statement read. Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls.
It takes tremendous moral courage to stand by what it is you believe, and they are doing what they think is right, Mesa Prep Headmaster Robert Wagner told KTVK
Our Lady of Sorrows is run by the Society of St. Pius X, a traditionalist church that broke away from Roman Catholic Church over Vatican reforms in 1970. But according to a spokesman, The school is not part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.
The Society of St. Pius X claims to run 88 schools worldwide and recognizes the Pope, although Pope Benedict XVI has declared that the society has no canonical status.
Randy Baum, executive director of the Arizona Charter Athletic Association, told Fox News that the league supports allowing girls to play in all sports and that Our Lady of Sorrows was aware of that policy.
According to Baum, the school had previously withdrawn from a flag football tournament in October because some team had female members.
There's nothing the league can do, Baum told FoxNews.com.
Fox News is reporting that prior to this year's baseball season, Baum said Our Lady of Sorrows officials checked with all potential opponents to see if they had girls on their rosters.
At the time, Sultzbach was not part of the team. After joining the Monsoons, Paige voluntarily sat out two games against Our Lady of Sorrows out of respect for the team's beliefs, the Fox News wrote.
But that wasn't going to happen this time, Sultzbach's father told the media outlet.
There is no game, the other team forfeited, he said. Instead of changing their position, they decided to not play the game. Both teams worked hard to get to where they are and to have it come down to that is unfortunate.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.