Sammi Kane Kraft dies in car crash

Updated: October 11, 2012, 5:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- Sammi Kane Kraft, whose baseball skills earned her the role of a youth league pitcher in the 2005 remake of "The Bad News Bears," died in a Los Angeles car crash. She was 20.

[+] EnlargeSammi Kraft
Paul Hawthorne/Getty ImagesSammi Kane Kraft was 13 when cast to recreate the role of Amanda Whurlitzer in "Bad News Bears."

Kraft was a passenger in an Audi that rear-ended a big rig and was struck by another car at about 1:30 a.m. local time Tuesday on Interstate 10, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Her brother, Frankie Kane, told the Times that Kane was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The California Highway Patrol said the Audi's 21-year-old driver was treated for moderate injuries and arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

Kraft was 13 when she was discovered on a Los Angeles baseball diamond and cast in her only film. She played Amanda Whurlitzer, a role originally played by Tatum O'Neal in 1976, the only girl on the misfit Bears team.

Kraft's fastball was clocked at 75 mph during a casting call in Encino, Calif., in 2005, the Los Angeles Daily News reported at the time. The mound-to-plate distance on a Little League diamond is 46 feet.

"Amanda is such a character that you can't 'out-Tatum' Tatum O'Neal, so we wanted to get a real girl who could do it," the film's director, Richard Linklater, said in a 2005 interview with the Daily News. "I didn't want to keep cutting to some boy with a wig on who could throw."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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