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EAST LANSING — Unlike any other sport, repeating as a state champion in prep baseball has proved to be the most difficult.


In Class A/Division 1, it has only happened once since the MHSAA began sponsoring the state tournament in 1972 — and that was recent with Bay City Western pulling the rare feat in 2013 and 2014.


In the lower divisions and classes, repeat performances has only happened in a fistful of occasions. Grand Rapids Christian (D-2, 2013 and 2013), Dearborn Divine Child (D-2, 2004, 2005), Madison Heights Bishop Foley (D-3, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Blissfield (D-3, 2002, 2003; and Class C, 1976, 1977), Beal City (D-4, 2009, 2010), Climax-Scotts (Class D, 1976, 1977) and Cheboygan Catholic (Class D, 1973, 1974).


That’s nine times combining all tournaments.


Hartland, which finally broke through with its first state title in 2015, entered the 2016 postseason one of the state’s hottest teams. But the Eagles were finally cooled by fellow state powerhouse Saline, falling June 16 by a 5-3 count to the Hornets at Michigan State’s Old College Field.


Hartland’s ousting again proved that repeating is not a lock in baseball, regardless of how much talent a program has within its ranks.


“It’s really, really difficult,” admitted Hartland coach Brian Morrison. “This is probably why it’s happened only once in Division 1.”


Morrison was not disappointed in his players whatsoever. His Eagles just lost to a quality program and were not an upset victim.


“I’ve never been disappointed in (the seniors in this program) in their whole career,” said Morrison. “I’m certainly not going to start doing that now. I am very proud of them. I thought they defended their (state championship) with class. It was very difficult just making it back (to the Final Four).”


Hartland finished the season 36-6. The Eagles began the season 1-3 then only lost two more games over the final two months of the regular season before losing in the semifinals.


The Eagles defeated White Lakeland (11-1) and Milford (!5-5) in the districts, then downed Livonia Stevenson (11-0) and Novi Detroit Catholic Central (3-1). Hartland’s last victory was a 6-0 shutout over Rochester in the D-1 quarterfinals.


“We had another nice run,” said Morrison. “It’s so hard in baseball. (In a lot of years) the best teams don;t always make the finals. There were a lot of ranked teams that didn’t make it out of their districts.”