Delta Charter junior pitcher leads team on, off the field

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2016

FERRIDAY — Delta Charter School pitcher Jania Burns help lifted her team to a win over Delhi Charter Monday.

Burns’ contribution, though, came in unusual fashion.

Burns launched a grand slam en route to pushing her squad to a win and securing a second-place finish in LHSAA District 2-1A.

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Delta Charter coach Jeannie Beach said it was the first grand slam in the program’s young history and projects many more big hits to come from her No. 1 pitcher.

“Her stick was a little slow at first, but she’s definitely come around,” Beach said. “She’s been putting the ball in play and getting some big hits.”

Delta Charter wrapped up its 2016 campaign Tuesday with a resounding 19-4 win over Delhi Charter.

Despite the strong finish in their inaugural varsity season, the Lady Storm are ineligible to play in the postseason due to a one-year probation ban.

The Lady Storm will be eligible for postseason play next season.

Burns said she was pleased in the overall performance this year, but is quick to note her team has only scratched the surface of their future potential.

“We did pretty good overall,” Burns said. “There’s still a bunch of stuff we can work on. I’ve seen girls grow in a bunch of different ways. I know our defense isn’t what it can be, but we’ve grown a lot.”

This season, Burns tossed 58.1 innings, striking out 47 batters to go along with a 3.36 ERA.

In addition to her on-the-field prowess, Beach said Burns has an infectious personality, supporting other teammates and encouraging them to perform their best.

Burns said she communicates often with the younger players during games, helping them understand the nuances of the game.

“I just try to keep them pumped up throughout the game,” Burns said. “They don’t get as much playing time as (the varsity) does. So I try to keep them pumped up throughout the game and have them build each other up and build us up. We learn from them just as much as they learn from us.”

Beach said Burns is not only a standout on the field, but also a star in the classroom as well,boasting a 4.0 GPA.

“We all always call them student-athletes, and the student comes first,” Beach said. “That work ethic she has in the classroom flows over onto the field.”

Beach said Burns is equally effective in the field as she is in the circle, and has all the ingredients necessary to play at the next level.

“She’s got the work ethic, and she’s got the grades,” Beach said.

But for the time being, Burns has her sights on achieving her peak as she enters her final campaign.

“I want to become more efficient with my pitching,” Burns said. “I pitched a lot of games this season, and I know I’m going to have to pitch a lot more next season.

Next year, we have to make sure we come out here and fight our hardest. That’s the (first chance) we have at (winning a) state title.”