In Mark Kleven’s first four seasons as Brighton’s head baseball coach, his teams have made modest improvements each year, with the win totals upticking from 12 to 14 to 16 to 18.

With the way the Bengals have played through the first half of the 2024 season, 20-plus wins seems like a shoe-in.

Brighton polished off a series sweep of Olympus on Friday, as Case Beames dominated on the mound with 11 strikeouts as his team rolled to the 8-0 win.

Olympus won the Region 6 title each of the past three seasons, with Brighton finishing fifth in 2021, fourth in 2022 and second last season.

This season though, a changing of the guard could be taking shape.

“We came out swinging this season cause we were fired up. We usually lose to them the last couple of years,” said Beames. “We get to say we swept our rivals. That’s something to brag about.”

Brighton won 9-8 on Tuesday and then dominated on Wednesday with a 13-3 win.

On Friday, Brighton jumped out quick, scoring three times in the first inning as it punished two Olympus errors, with Riley Brown smacking a big double down the left-field line.

Turns out, that was all the run support Beames needed.

After giving up a lead-off walk to start the game, the junior struck out three straight batters, momentum he continued throughout the game, striking out at least one batter every inning before giving way to reliever Grayson Beckstead with one out in the sixth.

Beames improved to 4-0 this season with the win, and has now struck out 29 batters.

“He’s gotta be one of the best pitchers in the state, and he’s only starting to come into his own. He knows he’s good, but I don’t think he knows how good he can be, and when that clicks — and I think it’s starting to — he’s going to be scary to deal with,” said Kleven.

Beames, along with Miles Layton and Josh Mawhinney, have provided the Bengals a great rotation on the mound that’s led the team to an 11-2 start this season.

After Brighton jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Friday, it tacked on another run with an RBI single by Braxton Biesinger in the fifth.

Olympus loaded the bases in its half of the fifth inning, with Beames walking two batters, and then reliever Beckstead walking one as well. Beckstead got out of the bases-loaded jam though, as he forced a towering pop-up to get out of the jam.

In the seventh, Brighton tacked on four more runs with Biesinger and Cooper Scott each singling in a run to put the game out of reach.

Kleven believes that his team’s sweep of Olympus and their success all season has been the result of a team-first approach to the game.

“I’ve been preaching to these guys good things will happen if you put the team first and sacrifice yourself and your own stats, and it’s starting to pay off,” said Kleven. “They believe they can win, they believe that they can beat anybody and they can back it up, and it’s fun to be part of.”

The talented Bengals are also playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder after last year’s gut-wrenching state tournament, where they lost a 1-0 and 3-2 game at BYU.

“As a head coach you look back and sometimes say things worked out that way for the right reason, and maybe it was a good thing because they remember what it felt like to lose those two one-run games last year at BYU and they want to get back there. They want to prove that they deserve to be there,” said Kleven.

Brighton has more than done that as it seeks its first region title in over two decades. There’s still work to be done through, as Brighton and Alta are both tied at 9-0 in Region 6 through three series.

The rivals meet in the final week of the season.