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Western Dubuque’s Casey Perrenoud delivers during Friday’s Iowa Class 4A substate opener. Perrenoud threw a three-hit shutout as the Bobcats beat Waterloo East, 11-0. Perrenoud is the Telegraph Herald Athlete of the Week.

After an injury-plagued sophomore season, Casey Perrenoud is making the most of his first full year on the Western Dubuque varsity baseball team.

The Telegraph Herald Athlete of the Week threw a three-hit shutout in Friday night’s Iowa Class 4A Substate 4 opener to improve to 8-1 on the season.

“Casey was only able to throw nine or 10 innings for us last season, but we knew then that he was going to be solid for us,” Western Dubuque coach Casey Bryant said. “He has really become that shut down guy when he’s in.”

During Friday’s 11-0 win over Waterloo East, Perrenoud struck out five batters and walked just one, while allowing just one base runner to reach as far as second base.

“That was a typical Casey performance,” Bryant said. “He was extremely efficient with his pitches and let the defense do the work behind him.”

Perrenoud has allowed just eight earned runs while striking out 68 in 63 1/3 innings this season. He has an ERA of 0.88.

“I’ve been completely healthy this season, and I feel like my velocity has increased some since last season,” Perrenoud said. “I have also added some new pitches to my arsenal and that seems to be working well for me.”

The No. 5-ranked Bobcats clinched a return trip to Principal Park on Wednesday night after getting ousted in the state semifinals last season.

“We all felt we could have won that game against Urbandale last season,” Perrenoud said. “It would mean a lot to be able to get back there and get to that state title game.”

Perrenoud believes the Bobcats (31-9) are primed for a deep tournament run.

“This is one of the best seasons we’ve ever had,” he said. “We have solid pitching and our guys are getting it done at the plate. When I’m on the mound, I just want to throw strikes and do my part to help the team. Having one of the best catchers in the country in Calvin Harris makes my job pretty easy. He understands the game so well and I have all the confidence in the world in him calling pitches for me.”

Added Bryant: “We have a great group of pitchers that have allowed us to withstand some games when our offense just isn’t clicking. There have been very few times when we weren’t in a ball game, and that’s a credit to our pitching staff.”

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