Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bitners’ memory honored with Little League game for the ages


Members of the Little League Dodgers — including her son Nolan Bitners — stand for a moment of silence Tuesday honoring Davis teacher Paulene Bitners, who died of breast cancer this week. Courtesy photo

From page B1 | April 11, 2014 |

North Davis Elementary School teacher Paulene Bitners will live long in our memories.

And fittingly, a Little League game played between her son Nolan’s Dodgers and the Giants earlier this week will live on in local baseball lore.

Bitners died Sunday of breast cancer. The popular and influential kindergarten and third-grade teacher was a fixture at the Davis Little League complex — her love of baseball vivid in my mind.

On Tuesday, baseball loved her back.

Services for Paulene were conducted Wednesday, the same day Nolan’s team was to meet the Giants.

Coaches Dave Hedin (Giants) and Jeremy Brooks (Dodgers) agreed to play the game a day early — and dedicate it to one-time scorekeeper and No. 1 fan Paulene Bitners.

The pre-game moment of silence for Nolan’s mom was poignant, sad …

How could we be without Paulene, just 47 years old? It isn’t fair.

Paulene’s husband Andrew helped coach the Dodgers and Gloria Purnell (mom of Nolan’s teammate Zach) was among Bitners’ caregivers.

Profoundly feeling the loss on both teams — at least six of her former students took the field that night — the game looked like a runaway for the Giants, who led 14-3 after four innings.

But her beloved Dodgers, apparently cheered on by Paulene from the Highest of Bleachers, strung 12 straight runs together and won, 15-14.

It mattered not to anyone who won. It was in the memory and the spirit in which the game was played.

Now comes word that there will be a fundraiser for the Bitner Family.

Uncle Vito’s Pizza and Paesanos will donate 20 percent of the proceeds from both restaurants on Tuesday night to the Bitners family in Paulene’s name.

Separate from the dine-out tribute, folks can donate to the family through

Aggie basketball update: With fingers crossed, the UC Davis basketball programs will recover from injuries suffered before and during the recent season.

On the women’s side, center Alyson Doherty, emerging as one of the Big West’s top post players, is recovering from surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in the conference tournament’s opener last month. Doherty became a difference-maker during her brilliant sophomore year.

School officials say it’s too early to tell what condition Doherty will be in when two-time defending national champion Connecticut comes to call to open the 2014-15 season at The Pavilion in November.

Meanwhile, All-BWC wing Sydnee Fipps, who went down with ankle and knee injuries in the season finale against UC Irvine, is OK.

Fipps came back into that game after her first-half fall, but reported “looseness” in her leg joints after the contest.

After being checked out, it was reported that Fipps’ injuries were less severe than first thought. Fipps had knee surgery during her prep days at Yosemite High (Mariposa).

Between Fipps and Lauren Beyers, Doherty is propped up by teammates who know rehab. Remember, Beyers suffered a horrific leg injury in her freshman season, taking two full years to recover before returning to the court this winter. Beyers’ layup with six seconds left against UCI almost gave the Aggies the victory. But a late Anteater basket tied things before UCD’s season ended in overtime in the conference tournament.

Beyers was clearly the feel-good story of this season — a role we hope is reserved for Doherty next fall.

For the men, Aggie officials report frontline players J.T. Adenrele and Josh Ritchart are “ahead of schedule” in their recoveries from season-ending injuries.

Adenrele went out before the first game with a knee injury in a non-contact drill in August.

Ritchart’s lower-leg injury ended his season after nine games. Both were granted medical redshirt status.

Combined, the injuries substantially altered UCD’s lineup and the Aggie men had to repeatedly shift gears in a disappointing season. Both should be ready to roll come opening tip-off 2014.

While I Have You Here: As a sports community, Davis is as much a swim town as it soccer, baseball or basketball or football.

Don’t believe me? Look around: Aquadarts, Davis Water Polo Club, 50 Davis High section titles in water sports, strong UC Davis women’s swim and both-gender water polo programs. Masters swim programs, athlete facilities like SwimAmerica and recreational programs like Summerdarts are there, too.

This summer, first-year Aggie men’s water polo coach Daniel Leyson throws his hat in the water with a three-day water polo camp, Aug. 1-3. With three training sessions between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. at Schaal Aquatics Center, the camp targets high school-age boys.

Former USC and Olympic team assistant Leyson, UCD assistant coach Kevin Peat and members of the Aggie squad will be instructors.

For more information, contact Peat at

— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at or 530-320-4456.



Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

    Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Davis Community Meals needs cooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Send kids to camp!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Wise words

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12



    Awareness is key to this fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Where is this going?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

    We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

    Options for protection come with flu season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

    Don’t sell city greenbelt

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Paso Fino project is flawed

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Archer will get my vote

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Mike Keefe cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Building something at schools’ HQ

    By Our View | From Page: A10

    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Maybe David can beat Goliath again

    By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

    Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    ‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

    Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery





    ‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3



    UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Styles on target for November debut

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

    MBI hires VP of marketing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

    By Rob White | From Page: A9



    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8