COLUMBIA — The base popped out.
As Columbia College junior Jamie Holmes slid into second, the base popped out of the ground.
She tried to advance to third off a single by junior Kristin Eiken. But there wasn't enough time.
Holmes turned around and slid back to second. Safe.
But the Park University fans didn't agree. While they shouted their disapproval, the crowd returned its focus to second base, the scene still not over. The base still needed to be attended to.
This happened in the top of the first inning of an American Midwest Conference Tournament elimination game on Sunday, just two batters in. As Cougar graduate assistant Kacey Rehagen rushed off to help fix the base, there was no way of knowing that this would be just the beginning of a game full of close calls.
The Cougars didn't get all the calls in their favor, though.
In the next inning, senior Chelsie Crain ran in to score for the Cougars, tying the game up 2-2. Or so the Cougars thought.
The Park third baseman tagged out senior Karina Veit. Most thought Crain had scored before this, giving the Cougars the run.
The officials declared otherwise.
Calls for appeals roared from the crowd. Columbia College players shook their heads in the dugout at the call.
Cougars coach Wendy Spratt did appeal, wanting a second opinion. But they didn't get it.
It was close, but they were still down 2-1 after all.
With that call against them, the Cougars even had some close calls when it came to hitting.
Sophomore Taylor Atwood stood at the plate in the top of the third, the Cougars with two outs, and chipped away 10 foul balls. A group of children in Columbia Rockers hoodies ran around the field, chasing each foul ball that made its way over the field's fence. They fetched them and returned them to the Cougars until Atwood grounded out.
Ten chances at hits, but not quite enough.
In the top of the seventh inning, with the Cougars running out of chances, things were still close with Park up 4-2. Wild pitches and balls thrown by Park's Kaily Purtle put runners on first and third for the Cougars with junior Marli Hayes up to bat.
"I don't know if you can hit it harder than Marli hit that last one," Spratt said. "It was a rocket."
Fans stood with excitement for a split second, but the "rocket" was caught for a double play. After Atwood's pop fly was caught during the next at-bat, that was it.
Second base sat securely in the field as the Cougars left, William Woods moving on in the AMC Tournament. It was close, but the Cougars' season is over.