Delta Charter senior pitcher receives top honors

Published 12:02 am Sunday, May 28, 2017

Delta Charter School’s Jania Burns is not afraid.

As the Storm’s starting pitcher this past season, Burns never shied away from her role, making the most out of every moment and helping others whenever she could.

For her efforts during the 2016-17 season, Burns has been named The Natchez Democrat’s All-Metro Softball Player of the Year.

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“Whatever the school needed me to do, I was there,” Burns said. “Even if they need me to sit the bench and let other people get their innings in, that’s what I’ll do.”

Burns led Delta Charter to its first postseason win in school history in late April as the Storm rolled over Plain Dealing in the first round of LHSAA Class 1A playoffs, 17-0.

The road ended for DCS the same week, however, as it fell in the second round to Beekman Charter, 8-6.

Burns recalls in the loss, she ended the game batting 0-for-4. But, that didn’t stop her from being the leader she knew she needed to be.

“You still have to go in the dugout and pump every one up, especially the ones who are sitting on the bench,” she said. “When everything is going wrong, they aren’t the ones experiencing it full on. They have to pick up the ones who are going through all of that stuff.”

Over the years, the right-handed standout has learned not only her responsibility, but the significance of staying upbeat, too. She said being a role model wasn’t always in her deck of cards.

“When I was young, my attitude was horrible,” Burns said. “If I struck out, I got mad. I was crying. I was throwing the bat.”

By her final campaign, Burns had turned the page. She ended the year with 90 strikeouts and a 3.275 earned run average in 109 innings pitched. She posted a .458 batting average, with 29 RBIs, four home runs and six doubles. She was also selected as the LHSAA District 2-1A All-District First Team Pitcher.

“Softball has taught me so much, especially about work ethic,” she said. “You won’t get the results you want immediately. I had the talent, but you can always make an improvement somewhere.”

Burns said the major shift in character was a direct result from the support she has received since her time at Delta Charter. Her biggest influence, she said, was DCS coach Jeannie Beach.

“When I started playing for Ms. Jeannie, she made me realize the importance of softball,” Burns said. “She truly invested in me and showed me I can be good. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my parents and everyone cheering me on every day.”

Moving forward, Burns has opted not to play softball at the next level in order to keep a handful of college credits she has already earned, although, she will continue her caring nature.

“I’ve always said I wanted to become a physical therapist and a volunteer softball coach,” Burns said. “I’ll still be able to give back to the sport and help others.”