Local player looks to collegiate career

  By Tim Chambers
  star staff
  tchambers@starhq.com
  A former Unaka High School athlete took a line from the late great Dr. Martin Luther King's speech, 'I Have a Dream' and decided on putting it to great use. After sitting out his senior year because of the TSSAA transfer rule, Thomas Guess decided to pursue his lifetime goal of one day playing college baseball.
  Guess will attempt to walk-on and play for the Virginia Intermont Cobras this fall.
  "I had thought about giving up and not pursing it, but there's a part of me that still has that desire to play," stated Guess.
  Guess was an all conference performer for Unaka during his junior season while being named to the Elizabethton Star's All Carter/Johnson County team. Guess hit .320 as the leadoff batter and was a speedy defensive wizard at the center field position for the Rangers.
  His three hit performance in the sub-state game against Christian Academy of Knoxville was the key reason that Unaka advanced to its first ever state tournament appearance in Memphis during the 2003 season. "Playing at AutoZone Park is something I'll always remember," added Guess. "To see our names flash up on the scoreboard was awesome."
  Guess was also a member of the Ranger basketball team. "It was the hardest thing I've ever done to have to watch my teammates play and know that I was not part of it."
  "I missed out playing on the state championship basketball team and another chance to play for a state title in baseball during my senior year." Guess gave credit to coaches Mike "Acie" Ensor and Donald Ensor for encouraging him throughout his senior year.
  "They helped a great deal and so did my mom and step-dad, (Danny & Barbara Akers). They have been my biggest supporters along with my sister Jessica.
  "My best friend (Rusty Chambers) has been like a brother to me," he said. "He was always encouraging me to attend the games and has told me never to give up on trying to play college baseball."
  Thomas plans to major in pre-physical therapy upon graduation from Virginia Intermont.
  "I hope to walk-on this fall and prove myself worthy of being on the team," added Guess.
  "We are always interested in taking a look at kids that come from good programs and have been successful," Cobra's head coach Chris Holt said. "We take a good hard look at them during the first two weeks and make our evaluation."
  "We are always interested in good kids that can help our program," he said. "We are looking forward to seeing Thomas during fall practice."
  "I just want to go in and make the team and do whatever I can to help them," added Guess.
  It's a safe bet after overcoming a difficult senior season without sports that Guess will one day be successful in the Cobra baseball program.