Southside softball duo signs with Southern Union

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By Chris McCarthy/Editor

Although they will graduate high school in a few months, Paiden Kircus and Savannah Elkins should run into one another quite a bit over the next few years. 

The Southside High seniors both signed softball scholarships on Wednesday (Jan. 21) with Southern Union Community College in Wadley. 

The two players were major contributors to the 2014 team’s success. Playing primarily in centerfield, Kircus batted .366 with 53 hits, 33 RBI and 36 runs. At third base Elkins finished with a .300 batting average, 43 hits, 31 RBI and 29 runs. 

The Lady Panthers finished the regular season with a final ranking of No. 3 in Class 5A. After winning the county and area tournaments, Southside went 2-2 at the Class 5A North Regional Tournament in Huntsville. The Lady Panthers lost to Muscle Shoals, 6-4, then battled back with a 12-0 win over Brewer and a 4-1 victory over Scottsboro. In a rematch with Muscle Shoals, Southside lost, 4-1.

Both Elkins and Kircus were named to the All-Etowah County and All-Messenger softball first teams. 

“I’m just really blessed with the opportunity to carry on with my softball career,” said Elkins, who plans on studying physical therapy. “I’ve worked for this since I was 10 and playing travel ball around the state. I’m excited to join such a successful program like Southern Union.” 

“I’m nervous about leaving home but I’m also excited,” said Kircus. “I think it’s a real good opportunity for me and Savannah. It will be very competitive at Southern Union, which is good. I visited a few other places, but I loved the [Southern Union] campus and it’s a good school. It’s also close to Auburn which is great because I’m a huge Auburn fan!”

Kircus and Elkins are going from one successful program to another, as Southern Union is the defending Alabama Community College Conference champion. The 2014 Lady Bison went 58-10, including a perfect 16-0 in ACCC place, and finished fourth at the NJCAA Tournament in St. George, Utah.  

“Paiden and Savannah are very significant parts of our program,” said SHS head softball coach Angie Sanders. “They’re the glue that holds us together as far as leadership. Paiden’s our vocal leader and Savannah is our physical leader. 

“They both expect a lot out of themselves and out of their teammates. There’s nothing that these girls won’t do to be the best. 

“They’ll both do very well at [Southern Union], because, they’re too stubborn and too determined not to play. They don’t fear pressure. I feel sorry for whoever misses seeing this group play this year, because it’s going to be special.”

Both girls acknowledged the lofty goals and expectations for the 2015 SHS softball team.

“It’s going to state and getting that [championship] ring,” said Elkins. 

“We’re ready for the season,” said Kircus. “This is it for us seniors, so we have to go all the way.” 

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