Sammi Kane Kraft, whose real-life baseball skills helped earn her a spot in the remake of "Bad News Bears," has died at the age of 20. Kraft was involved in a traffic accident believed to be the fault of a drunk driver.
Kraft was the passenger in a vehicle on a Los Angeles freeway when her vehicle collided with another. The driver of that car, Molly Kate Adams, was reportedly treated for moderate injuries and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Kraft, however, did not survive the crash.
The young actress came to fame during the remake of the 1976 film "Bad News Bears" about a down-and-out boys' baseball team that suddenly starts winning after bringing a girl onboard. Kraft was able to throw a 75 mph fastball, which earned her the spot originally held by Tatum O'Neal.
"I could never fill Tatum O'Neal's shoes, but I tried to make the role my own," Kraft told The New York Daily News in 2005. "I added a bit of the New York in me … a little toughness, a little bit of smart-ass."
"Bad News Bears" was the only film Kraft ever starred in, which was just fine with her. Her brother, Frankie, told The Los Angeles Times she "just kind of enjoyed all of it. She always wore a smile and was hilarious. She loved characters, did amazing Robert De Niro impressions and never took anything too seriously."
In 2010, she actually started a folk-country-rock band named the Scary Girls. She was also working with Frankie on a musical called "Funerals," which now has even more significant meaning for the family.
"Now I know I need to complete this for her. It was our baby and it's nothing to be wasted," he told The Times.
Kraft is survived by her parents, brothers Frankie and Bobby, and her grandfather.